SDC Backstopping Mandate for Water
– Global Programme Water (GPW)

Through the SDC’s global programmes, Switzerland aims to establish universally recognized standards helping to resolve global challenges at the core of sustainable development. Against this backdrop, the Global Programme Water (GPW) contributes to the reduction of global water-related risks and the realisation of a water-secure world. The GPW acts as bridge builder, positions water issues on the international agenda, and harnesses Swiss expertise to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all: it triggers policy changes on all levels and influences the international normative framework as well as practices. Bearing the SDC-wide responsibility for water, it takes stock of regional cooperation projects to enrich its global policy dialogue and achieve learning, whilst conducting its own global initiatives. The Back-stopping Mandate (BSM) provides the professional services needed to support the GPW in delivering its portfolio of actions. It complements and strengthens the GPW core competencies and capacities through a wide range of professional services whilst securing the quality of the interventions.



Switzerland and various abroad

Project Period:

Former phases: 2018-2020 (Phase 9), 2015-2017 (Phase 8), 2012-2014 (Phase 7), 2011 (Phase 6), 2008-2010 (Phase 5), 2005-2007 (Phase 4), 2002-2004 (Phase 3), 1999-2001 (Phase 2), 1996-1998 (Phase 1)

Services Provided:


Name of Client(s)

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Name of Partner Organisation(s) :

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
Zoï Environment Network

Name of Staff involved and functions performed:

Mandate leaders: Frank Wiederkehr / Roger Schmid
Resource persons: Julie Smolnitchi, Florian Klingel, Jonathan Hecke, Meleesa Naughton, Hedi Feibel, Elodie Feijoo, Martin Läng, Laura Neuweiler, Violeta Zivanovic

Description of the Project:

In its current phase, the BSM deploys relevant thematic expertise and conceptual assistance backing the GPW in implementing its Programme Framework 2021-2024. The latter encompasses initiatives to:

  • Promote innovative projects and partnerships in larger contexts regarding e.g. new financing instru-ments and technologies, business models, approaches and methods of development cooperation;
  • Influence policies by bringing expertise from Switzerland and promising approaches from innovative projects/partnerships into multilateral processes for the development of regional and global norms;
  • Manage the knowledge gained by SDC, its partners and others mainly through its thematic network RésEAU where experience is located and worked up, good ideas and best practices are shared.

The BSM provides on the one hand expertise and advisory services (e.g. second opinion) on technical projects, new concepts, approaches or trends in the water sector (exploration and analysis of specific topics, development of concepts or tools, etc.). On the other hand, it provides technical and general support services in a broad sense across all GPW activities and topics. Services cover support for the preparation of planning or operational documents, participation in reviews and evaluations, moderation or participation in workshops and meetings, organization of events or meetings, monitoring & reporting of projects and on performance, support of partners, development of communication tools including graphic design and cartography, linguistic revisions, etc. In doing so, the mandate:

  • Covers the full scope of the Programme Framework. Yet, a predominance of the tasks lays on topical priorities such as water governance/diplomacy/stewardship, WASH and sustainable financing;
  • Encompasses, next to distant desk support, facilitation of processes, conduction of events and products delivery related to appraisal, design, development and steering of GPW initia-tives;
  • Deploys a broad spectrum of services, ranging from expert advice, strategic planning and reviews, across counselling on thematic/methodological issues and up to the development of innovative tools;
  • Goes beyond punctual GPW team support, towards the facilitation of complex processes, including project monitoring, performance assessments and support to strategic/implementing partners;
  • Achieves synergies with the services provided under the ‘RésEAU cum AGUASAN mandate’ implemented by Skat Consulting (integral part of the BSM in the former phases), geared towards SDC’s strengthened innovation, learning, networking and knowledge exchange in water.

The mandate is fully client-oriented and essentially demand-driven. The GPW defines the framework and rules (expected results, resources, inputs and monitoring) of the backstopping whilst ensuring the steering of the mandate. The main activities of the mandate are planned jointly based on the GPW’s annual program and its mid-term review; others are taken up at short notice upon demand.