Hindu Kush (Afghanistan, Pakistan)

The Hindu Kush region extends across Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are connected by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Switzerland’s priorities in both countries are alleviating poverty on a sustainable basis, promoting good governance and respect for human rights and improving living conditions for disadvantaged communities.

Map of the region Hindu Kush (Afghanistan, Pakistan)

The political situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is unstable, which means that special attention must be paid to security. A weak rule of law, corruption, impunity, glaring socio-economic inequalities, flows of refugees and internally displaced persons, frequent natural disasters as well as ethnic and religious conflicts heighten instability, placing significant burdens on the local population.

Switzerland promotes the rule of law and good governance, respect for human rights and the improvement of living conditions for disadvantaged communities, particularly in rural areas.

The Swiss Agency for Development (SDC) works with a number of partners, including national, regional and local authorities, international organisations, such as the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), other donor countries and national and international NGOs.


Responsible and efficient use of water resources

Water resources are coming under increasing pressure. This jeopardises social cohesion, which is already fragile, in the affected areas. Switzerland assists Pakistan in its efforts to optimise water management at regional and local level. The aim of these initiatives is to prevent conflicts over access to water (quality and quantity), enable water resources to be used more efficiently and reduce the negative impacts of extreme hydrological events.

The SDC has the following specific objectives:

  • Improving access to drinking water
  • Establishing, developing and maintaining irrigation systems in agriculture
  • Sharing technical know-how on preventing and managing water-related disasters
  • Setting up water user associations


Establishing structures at local level and promoting human rights

Switzerland is committed to building trust between citizens and the regional authorities. Alongside basic services, Switzerland promotes participative, transparent and accountable local governance, enhanced protection of human rights and political reforms.

The SDC has the following specific objectives:

  • Strengthening the rule of law
  • Reinforcing capacities in the fields of rule of law and access to justice
  • Introducing new dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Protecting internally displaced persons and Afghan refugees

Advocacy and good governance


Governance and human rights

Switzerland supports governmental institutions, especially at the sub-national level, and strengthens civil society through project-based contributions to improve local governance. The aim is to provide the population with better access to public services and to increase protection against human rights violations, which fosters socio-economic development as a whole. Through UN agencies (UNHCR, WFP, IOM) and the ICRC, Switzerland also helps to alleviate the suffering of people affected by conflict and refugees returning from Pakistan.

Socio-economic development

Given the widespread poverty, Switzerland is working to promote socio-economic development in Afghanistan, focusing on better living conditions for marginalised rural households. Managing natural resources, including disaster risk reduction, and improving value chains for rural products of farming families in mountain regions are the main strategies. There is special emphasis on improving basic education for children, especially girls.