Sudan and Eritrea

Sudan has been the theatre of a series of humanitarian operations for several decades. The SDC's main goal in Sudan is to save lives and protect the victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters. It is involved in the fields of food security and agriculture, emergency aid and the protection of civilians.

Crisis in Sudan

Owing to the security situation, the Swiss embassy in Karthoum has been temporarily closed since Sunday, April 23, 2023. Transferable staff have been evacuated. Switzerland continues to provide humanitarian aid in Sudan and neighboring countries through its partners, in particular the ICRC, WFP, UNHCR and the Humanitarian Fund for Sudan, managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations (OCHA).

For further information:

Map of Sudan

The power struggles and violence that have beset Sudan in recent decades have exacerbated the poverty and vulnerability of Sudan's civilian populations.

Switzerland's activities on the ground are primarily focused on humanitarian aid. The SDC's projects are part of an integrated cooperation strategy that encompasses the activities of the FDFA's Directorate of Political Affairs and the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Food security and agriculture

Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable populations

In the regions of Darfur, South Kordofan/Abyei, Blue Nile and in the east of the country, civilians regularly face the risk of food insecurity owing to the ongoing conflicts and the forced population movements caused by them. The droughts triggered by erratic rainfall and overgrazing increase the vulnerability of communities.

The SDC supports the food and seed distribution activities of the World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN agencies. It also supports livestock vaccination projects, especially those of the ICRC, as livestock farming is an important means of livelihood for a large number of Sudanese families.

Agriculture and food security

Emergency aid  

Access to basic services

The inter-communal violence in Darfur which has been ongoing since 2003 and the conflicts that have broken out in the south of the country since 2011 have led to the displacement of thousands of people. They have very limited access to drinking water, well-functioning infrastructure and health care. The situation of people in the rest of the country is hardly better. The SDC is working to ensure a better provision of basic services backed by all levels of government in Sudan, starting with local authorities and communities.

The SDC also seconds experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to its UN partners.  

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief and reconstruction

Humanitarian access and protection

Protecting internally displaced persons and refugees

Protecting civilians in the context of armed conflict is one of Switzerland's priorities in Sudan. The violence in Darfur and in the provinces of South Kordofan/Abyei and Blue Nile has forced thousands of people to flee their homes. The tensions have had a direct impact on individuals' well-being. War has traumatic after effects, particularly on children. Switzerland is working to ensure that all parties comply with international humanitarian law. In partnership with the ICRC and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) it calls on government authorities and armed groups to protect victims and allow humanitarian aid organisations access to them.

Lastly, Switzerland provides support to refugees and migrants in the Horn of Africa region. A joint effort by the SEM and the SDC covers their basic needs, and also provides support to the communities that host them.

Fragility and violence impede poverty reduction

History of cooperation

Two decades of humanitarian aid

Swiss Humanitarian Aid has been active in Sudan since 1994. Before and after the peace accords were signed in 2005 between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, efforts focused on the Nuba Mountains region in the centre and south of the country. From 2003, the consequences of the war in Darfur were added to the SDC's priorities. Half the aid has gone to emergency aid and half to rehabilitation projects. In 2004 and again in 2006, offices were opened in Khartoum and Juba to coordinate the activities of Swiss Humanitarian Aid and other Swiss actors. When Sudan was divided into two independent states in 2011, the SDC doubled the budget it had previously allocated to the former Sudan.

Switzerland's engagement in Eritrea

Eritrea is not a priority country for Swiss bilateral development cooperation. After withdrawing in 2006, the SDC resumed cooperation with Eritrea on the basis of a Federal Council mandate in 2016. Following a feasibility study, it co-financed three pilot projects at the end of 2017, which were evaluated in 2019. Following the evaluation, the FDFA decided to continue the cooperation with Eritrea for a further three years. This commitment, totaling CHF 6 million, focuses on the area of vocational training as in the pilot phase. Cooperation will also be extended to economic development issues (micro-credits, support for the creation of small businesses, etc.).

SDC's involvement in Eritrea is in line with the main objective of development cooperation, namely to improve living conditions and create economic opportunities for young people. This approach is also at the heart of the international cooperation strategy 2021-2024. The existence of opportunities and perspectives is an important factor in the individual decision-making process on whether or not to emigrate. For example, Switzerland supports vocational schools in several regions of the country that offer young Eritreans the opportunity to learn a profession. In the port city of Massaoua, instructors train workers and provide further capacity building support. 

Vocational skills training and skills and migration UNDP project in Eritrea

Switzerland continues to support cooperation projects in Eritrea, Press release, 23.01.2020

Current projects

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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.

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.

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