Hindu Kush (Afghanistan, Pakistan)

The Hindu Kush region encompasses the countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan which are connected by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Switzerland’s priorities in both countries are sustainable poverty reduction, good governance, respect for human rights and improvement of living conditions for disadvantaged communities.

Map of the region Hindu Kush (Afghanistan, Pakistan)

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.

Rural development

Strengthening Livelihood Resilience

The goal is to strengthen the resilience of the rural population, particularly women, to stress related to natural disasters or conflict. Thus Switzerland focuses its endeavours in the Hindu Kush region on improving water management, economic activities and basic education.

In practice, the SDC aims are as follows:

  • Providing water supplies and sanitation
  • Installing, reconstructing and maintaining micro and small-sized irrigation systems
  • Improving income opportunities through agricultural diversification
  • Higher crop yields and efficient cattle farming; promoting small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Increased elementary schooling and general quality of education

Agriculture and food security

Governance and human rights

Responsible and inclusive governance

The SDC promotes responsible and inclusive governance at the sub-national and local level above all. Availability and access to basic state services and respect for human rights must be ensured.

In practice, the SDC aims are as follows:

  • Strengthening government structures, civil society and local organisations
  • Institutional development at all levels
  • Respect for human rights
  • Reform the justice and security sectors
  • Decentralisation
  • Advancement of women
  • Conflict prevention and transformation

State and Economic Reforms

Humanitarian aid

Assistance for displaced persons in Pakistan

In order to improve the living conditions of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the host populations, the SDC provides the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the ICRC with financial support and also assists their endeavours by seconding experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA). In contrast to refugees, internally displaced persons have not crossed any state borders after being forced to flee.

Support for the socially disadvantaged population in Afghanistan

The SDC supports the endeavours of the ICRC and UN to integrate and protect internally displaced persons and returning refugees through financial contributions. The provision of food supplies in the event of drought or flooding in the affected areas and measures to reduce natural hazards are also part of Switzerland’s commitment in the region.