How Switzerland comes to the aid of people forced to flee their homes

Article, 20.05.2016

What action can be taken to address the ever-increasing number and duration of humanitarian crises? The SDC’s Humanitarian Aid takes measures to make the most efficient use possible of the funds at its disposal. In addition to providing emergency aid it gives priority to enabling population groups forcibly displaced by conflicts or other disasters to take their lives in their own hands in the long term. Switzerland will contribute the results of several successful experiences it has had in this field to the discussions at the World Humanitarian Summit on 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul.

A family in a refugee camp
When crises cannot be avoided, the SDC’s Humanitarian Aid does all it can to launch projects that enable vulnerable population groups to rebuild their everyday life in the long term. © UNHCR

From the perspective of humanitarian aid for the victims of conflicts and natural disasters, these are frightening times. Humanitarian needs for 2015 alone amounted to almost CHF 20 billion (five times more than ten years ago), of which only half was raised. 

The main crises today are characterised by their durations of many years as can be seen with the Syrian crisis, the persistent emergency situation in the Central African Republic and the ongoing acts of violence committed by the Boko Haram group against civilians. It is estimated that the number of forcibly displaced people in the world currently stands at 60 million. 

Faced with this reality, the donor countries, international organisations and NGOs are obliged to set priorities and deal with the most urgent needs – this meaning that hundreds of millions of other people around the world see their basic needs (subsistence, education, health) remain unmet.

Long-term rehabilitation 

In parallel, Switzerland, like others, is doing all it can to adapt its intervention strategies. For many years the SDC and the FDFA's Human Security Division have been actively involved in preventing conflicts and disasters by means of concrete initiatives carried out in the regions concerned. 

When crises cannot be avoided, however, the SDC's Humanitarian Aid endeavours to launch projects that aim to contribute to the rehabilitation of vulnerable population in the long term. By means of support Switzerland helps beneficiaries to develop their own 'resilience', meaning their ability to confront difficulties and rebuild their everyday life – in many cases far from home. 

At the World Humanitarian Summit, the Swiss delegation, headed by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, will have the opportunity to present a number of successes Switzerland has had in this field (see below). Furthermore, Switzerland will appeal for greater respect for the values and principles of international humanitarian law.

Syria: employment aid, food vouchers and durable accommodation

Helping displaced Syrians to feel useful and earn a livelihood while contributing to the reconstruction of their country – this is the aim of a project launched by the United Nations Development Programme and co-funded by the SDC. In view of this protracted crisis, Syrians are unwilling to remain inactive for much longer.

«Recommencer à vivre dans un pays à feu et à sang», (Starting life again in a country torn apart by war), article to appear in the 2/2016 edition of the 'Un seul monde' magazine (special dossier 'Refugees and migrants') (PDF, Page 1, 2.4 MB, French)

The resilience of the victims of the Syrian conflict also involves developing new ways of providing food aid. In the cities of Homs and Latakia, the World Food Programme distributes vouchers to pregnant women and mothers with newborns, with which they are able to buy the kinds of food that best meet their needs. A member of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit is coordinating the project.

Interview with Stefan Bumbacher, specialist working for the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit

The financial and technical support that Switzerland is providing the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Syria is crucial. The two years that building expert Henri Stalder spent in Damascus has enabled the UNHCR to draw up standards for 'solid' buildings in the midst of the ruins. Only when displaced Syrians have a proper roof over their heads will they be able to look to the future.

UNHCR-project in Syria: Rebuilding beyond the crisis

In general, Switzerland's involvement in the Middle East aims to complement the emergency aid delivered to Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon with a long-term vision of development for the populations concerned.

Switzerland’s Middle East cooperation strategy: ensuring the long-term security of civilian populations

Darfur: producing honey against all odds

Almost three million Sudanese were forced to flee their land during the war in Darfur. Since 2010, the SDC has funded a programme to relaunch local beekeeping to enable displaced communities to become as financially autonomous as possible. It has paid off: to date, more than 3,300 family beekeeping operations are marketing their honey, which in some cases is generating up to CHF 2,900 a year.

Project in Sudan «Farmers displaced by the conflict acquire a business perspective»

Somalia: humanitarian aid to strengthen basic services

In 2016, the SDC has allocated CHF 4 million to support the ICRC's efforts in Somalia to raise awareness among various local actors about respect for international humanitarian law. The SDC is also improving the health systems, the drinking water networks and agricultural production in several parts of the country.

Somalia: the challenges of operating in a protracted crisis

Nansen Initiative: a long-term vision for displaced people 

In October 2015, Switzerland and Norway presented the 'Agenda for the protection of cross-border displaced persons in the context of disasters and climate change', which was the product of the Nansen Initiative developed by Bernese professor Walter Kälin.

Preventive measures to help people displaced by natural disasters or the effects of climate change

Links

Current projects

Object 133 – 144 of 1180

Planned project

Domestic accountability and local revenue mobilisation

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2023

The project will support national and local government actors to increase local revenue generation alongside improving their capacities to exercise internal and external control functions. Equally importantly, dialogue and exchange between the local population and local authorities will also be fostered in order to make the collection and use of public funds more transparent, local authorities’ behaviour more accountable and thus improve service delivery.


Planned project

Civil society for social cohesion in Mozambique

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2030

Despite the positive developments in the peace process, rising inequalities, shrinking space for civil society and new emerging conflicts threaten the overall social cohesion and stability of Mozambique. This program aims to contribute to strengthen the social contract by strengthening citizen’s participation, inclusive leadership and solutions oriented multi-stakeholder dialogue where a responsible civil society, citizens, the private sector and responsive institutions develop a joint future based on inclusive local processes.


Mine Action for Human Development in Cambodia 2017- 2025

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2025

Over the past 20 years Cambodia has made significant progress in clearing landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Nevertheless 1,640 km2 of land remain contaminated as suspected minefields at this moment. SDC plans supporting national and regional mine action initiatives to ensure that development of poor rural communities is no longer impeded by disablement and restricted access to land, forests and water resources due to landmines and ERW.


Fonds d’Appui au Développement des Communes (FADeC)

01.01.2020 - 31.03.2028

La DDC au Benin, comme d’autres bailleurs, a apporté une contribution aux dotations non affectées du Fonds d’Appui au Développement des Communes (FADeC) par l’un de ses programmes (ASGoL, 2008-2016) pour soutenir les investissements socio-économiques des communes du Bénin. Le présent programme détache cette contribution d’ASGoL et accroît la visibilité des interventions de la DDC au plan national.


Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


Swiss Malaria Group

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2025

Founded in 2007 as an informal network, the Swiss Malaria Group (SMG) has undergone organisational development leading to a formalized multi-stakeholder group with a strategic focus on raising awareness about malaria and the comparative advantage of Switzerland to defeat the disease. Organised as an association, with an Executive Secretariat hosted by Medicus Mundi Switzerland, the 15 organisations help accelerating malaria elimination, through innovative control measures, knowledge and financial flows.


The "Bosnia i Herzegovina"-Platform

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2025

The Bosnia i Herzegovina Platform (BiH) is an initiative of diaspora associations that are already involved in development activities. The platform will enhance cooperation and strengthen the diaspora associations’ role as development actors. SDC aims at promoting the potential of migrants for sustainable development mainly through improved framework conditions. The permanent platform as an effective and dynamic network will set the grounds for competent coordination services to diaspora organizations, to the country of destination and to the country of origin.


Solar Irrigation for Agriculture Resilience (SoLAR)

01.01.2020 - 31.07.2027

To adapt to climate change farmers rely increasingly on irrigation, ultimately depleting groundwater resources and raising energy demand. The project aims to address these challenges by promoting solar irrigation, water efficient agriculture and groundwater governance. The project will harness Swiss expertise on hydrogeology and technical innovations to contribute to climate resilient agriculture and facilitate knowledge sharing in South Asia and at the global level.


Increasing access to patented medicines with the pharmaceutical sector

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2027

2 billion people worldwide do not have access to essential medicines. 50 of these medicines, e.g. for cancer or HIV are patented. The Medicines Patent Pool is a proven mechanism that negotiates with patent holders voluntary licenses for markets in low-income countries which are granted to multiple generic manufacturers. The competition drives down prices but ensures an attractive royalty for the patent holder. SDC supports this voluntary approach to make patented medicines available to people in these countries.


Planned project

Building Skills for Unemployed and Underemployed Labour (B-SkillFUL)

01.11.2019 - 31.10.2027

The Building Skills for Unemployed and Underemployed Labour project will develop the skills of poor and disadvantaged men and women at the grassroots level, to enhance their income through decent employment and move them out of poverty. The project will work with the Informal Sector Industry Skills Council to improve work conditions through partnerships with the private informal enterprises and private training providers.


Planned project

Strengthened & Informative Migration Systems (SIMS)

01.11.2019 - 31.10.2026

The project supports men and women migrant workers and their families to make informed choices related to migration. The benefits of migration are enhanced for individuals and for the society through dissemination of key information on safe migration, access to legal support and trainings as well as through strengthening the service delivery capacity of government and non-government agencies. Bangladesh is a key partner in the global dialogue on migration and its continued active role in this sphere is in Switzerland’s interest.


Planned project

Engaged People - Strong municipalities

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2030

Molodova has the most fragmented sytem of local governments in the South-East Europe. People's dissatisfaction with quality of services is high and participatory decision-making is not common. Local governance reforms launched by the Government are being pursued in a centralized manner. Switzerland will support moldova through a two-pronged approach supporting citizens (in enhancing participation and social accountability) and institutions (in improving public service provision), particularly in rural areas.  

Object 133 – 144 of 1180