The political situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is unstable and particular attention must be given to security. A weak state, corruption, impunity, large socio-economic disparities, frequent natural disasters as well as ethnic and religious conflict heighten instability and burden the local population on a large scale. An increase in religious radicalisation has also been observed.

Switzerland advocates for good governance, respect for human rights and the improvement of living conditions for disadvantaged communities, particularly in rural areas. The SDC endeavours to contribute to sustainable poverty reduction and to secure a favourable development environment as integral to the poverty reduction strategies of governments and the UN Millenium Development Goals.

The SDC works both through various implementing partners and directly with local communities. Implementing partners are national, regional and local authorities, international organisations such as the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), other donor countries as well as local or international non-governmental organisations.

In order to streamline its activities and better concentrate on one area, the SDC Pakistan is now focusing on the people in need in Khyber Pakhutunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administered Areas (FATA). Within the framework of the Pakistan Hindukush Programme (PHP), the SDC is committed to assist the vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

The overall goal of the SDC’s presence in Pakistan is to support the government in its efforts to better develop these underprivileged regions and promote the peaceful coexistence of the people in order improve the lives of the people in the FATA and KP.

The SDC is providing support by either directly implementing its projects or by working with the Government of Pakistan (GoP) orlocal non-governmental organisations that act as the SDC’s implementing partners. Furthermore, the SDC financially contributes to programmes of other organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other organisations providing aid the SDC deems effective and worthwhile investing in.

After natural disasters, such as the 2010 floods, the SDC supported multilateral partners with various experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit. The beneficiaries of these so-called secondments were the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affiairs (UN-OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Bank.