Conference on Afghanistan: Switzerland renewed its commitment

Press release, 05.10.2016

At the occasion of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, which took place on 4 and 5 October 2016, Switzerland renewed its commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. As announced by the head of the Swiss delegation, ambassador Thomas Greminger, in his speech, Switzerland will stay engaged in Afghanistan and pursue a commitment of approximately CHF 26 Mio per year until 2020. The Swiss programme focuses on two interconnected domains: inclusive governance and human rights, and sustainable socio-economic development.

The Swiss development programme brings support to particularly disadvantaged people and seeks to bolster the country's transformation process, thereby contributing to positive changes in society and towards a sustainable peace and state building process. For example, Switzerland contributed to the establishment of an inter-ministerial Human Right Support Unit that ensures that national policies and laws are in line with Afghanistan’s human rights commitments. With a labour-based infrastructure project, Switzerland contributes to job creation and improved livelihoods of the rural poor. The project creates predictable income and rehabilitates vital rural infrastructure, ensuring access to services and markets. Therefore, the Swiss engagement in the region aims at building perspectives for Afghan women and men to develop their potential in their own country.

Switzerland is committed to a comprehensive approach combining development and humanitarian instruments. Besides long-term objectives, the immediate and urgent needs of the most vulnerable groups in the areas of protection, health and food security are to be addressed. As announced today by Ambassador Greminger, whom the Federal Council named as a State Secretary for the Brussels Conference, Switzerland envisages a total programme budget of 26 Mio CHF per year until 2020 – within the framework of the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–2020.

While supporting state institutions, Switzerland also provides support to Civil Society Organizations as a crucial actor for development and change in Afghanistan. In this regard, Switzerland jointly with the EU supported the participation of CSO representatives at the Brussels conference as well as a consultative process in the elaboration of a CSO position paper.

With regard to the current humanitarian situation Switzerland is concerned about the dramatic situation caused by the swift return of several hundreds of thousands of Afghans from neighboring countries in the last months. To respond to these urgent needs, Switzerland is considering short-term allocations for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, in addition to the Swiss programme presented at the conference.

Regarding the deterioration of the security situation in the country, Switzerland encourages all actors involved to aim for an inclusive process of civil conflict transformation, in order to lay the ground for sustainable peace and development in Afghanistan. 

Further information:

Afghanistan SDC

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs