South Sudan

South Sudan has faced armed conflict and humanitarian crises since its independence in 2011. The 2018 peace agreement ended the war at national level but there is only a very fragile peace. Switzerland's engagement in South Sudan focuses on food security and livelihoods, protection of the civilian population, human rights, peace and conflict resolution. 

A map showing South Sudan.


The nearly 13 million inhabitants of South Sudan face major challenges every day: conflict and violence, food insecurity, flooding and other impacts of climate change. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after two civil wars, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more. The main drivers of the violence are the deep divisions in society as well as disputes over access to natural resources such as oil and grazing land. Conflicts over power at national and local level are also a key factor. A peace agreement between the conflicting parties was negotiated in 2018.

Two-thirds of South Sudan's population are still dependent on humanitarian aid owing to the cumulative impact of years of conflict, widespread violence, political instability, chronic food insecurity, a lack of basic services and the effects of climate change.

Switzerland's engagement in South Sudan has a particular significance. It has been active in the humanitarian field since the 1980s (when the latter was still part of Sudan) and is committed to peacebuilding measures. These complementary approaches have been a key feature of Switzerland's work in the past and will be reinforced in its 2022–25 South Sudan cooperation programme, focusing primarily on food security and livelihoods, protection of the civilian population, human rights, peace and conflict resolution. Switzerland has had a cooperation office in the capital Juba since 2006.

Food security and livelihoods

The chronic food insecurity in South Sudan is caused by a number of factors: conflict and violence, the rising price of staple foods, difficulties reaching people in need, logistical problems and the effects of climate change. Switzerland therefore aims to ensure that the most vulnerable people have access to food and to promote food sovereignty, focusing on the humanitarian aid-development cooperation nexus so as to strengthen resilience in a sustainable way. One such example is support for training farmers in increasing and diversifying agricultural production.

Switzerland supports projects run by the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as well as international and national NGOs. 

Agriculture and food security

Protecting civilians and promoting human rights

Switzerland's engagement aims to contribute to the protection of vulnerable and displaced people, particularly women and young people. It is committed to gender equality and to combating and preventing gender-based violence. Switzerland also works to strengthen communities to help them create a safe and peaceful environment for local people. It advocates in particular for unhindered access to protection measures for those especially in need. In addition, it supports a number of projects – run by UN agencies, the ICRC, and international or national NGOs – that provide relief aid or work for systemic change at local level in order to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflicts. 

Fragility, conflict and human rights

Peace and Human Rights Division

Approach and partners

Wherever possible and relevant, Switzerland takes an integrated approach combining humanitarian aid, development cooperation, multilateral instruments, peacebuilding and diplomatic measures in order to have the greatest possible impact. Switzerland’s partners include:

  • international and national NGOs
  • UN agencies
  • local civil society organisations
  • research institutions

Current projects

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Mercy Corps: Strengthening Resilience in Agriculture, Livelihoods and Markets through Local Institutions in Greater Mundri

01.02.2023 - 31.01.2026

To sustainably move households out of chronic vulnerability, poverty and food insecurity by facilitating economic recovery and support for smallholder farmers and non-farm microenterprises. The support will consist of market system development (MSD), value chain development, vocational skills development and improved methods of agriculture, such as agro-ecology and conservation. The intervention will focus on women and youth and is highly relevant in a post-conflict context like Mundri (South Sudan).

2023 Annual Allocation to WFP Country Strategic Plans - Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2023

Against historic levels of food security due to conflicts, climate change and COVID-19, Switzerland supports annually in 28 SDC priority countries operations of the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide humanitarian and development assistance. It funds indistinctively Country Strategic Plans, incorporating all WFP programmes or projects, based on affected population needs and potential synergies with other local partners, especially national governments and civil society.

Allocation of SDC Funding in 2023 to ICRC Operations in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2023

SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises.

CARE International: Breaking the Silence

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

The proposed project seeks to address key drivers of GBV, promote help-seeking behaviour, access to quality services for survivors and promote economic empowerment of vulnerable women and girls. Some key activities will include the provision of health, psychosocial, and protection support in one (1) existing safe house and three (3) women and girl-friendly spaces (WGFSs), the provision of unconditional emergency cash support to vulnerable survivors and livelihood opportunities. Through the partnership with WIDO, a local women-led organisation, CARE will work to transform negative masculinities and social norms.

Contribution to UNHCR Programme Budget 2023-2024 (earmarked)

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

UNHCR is one of Switzerland’s key multilateral partners due to its unique mandate by the General Assembly of United Nations to provide protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, refugee returnees, and stateless persons. The strategic direction 2022-26 concretise the overall mandate of UNHCR for the upcoming years. Contributing to these directions allows Switzerland to achieve in particular the human development goal defined in the Dispatch to Parliament on International Cooperation for 2021-24.

Nonviolent Peaceforce: Community-based Protection and Peacebuilding

01.11.2022 - 31.10.2024

The project will contribute to overall peace and security of targeted communities by addressing key civilian safety and security concerns, including child protection, intra-inter-communal violence, SGBV, women’s protection and empowerment, youth participation, community participation and general protection and peacebuilding. Interventions will focus on trust building and inclusion, enhancing capacities of existing community-based protection mechanisms including Women protection Teams and Youth Protection Teams, and Peace Committees, and restoring confidence in peaceful relations at community levels.

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