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 73 – 84 of 1131

Planned project

For an Active Civil Society -Together (ACT)

01.10.2023 - 30.09.2027

The programme supports higher participation of civil society and all citizens (men and women) in decision-making, particularly at the local level. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are strengthened to rebuild the links with citizens and increase their capacities in order to better reflect citizens’ needs. Civil society organizations will better cooperate with each other and establish partnerships with local authorities to address communities’ needs and improve public services to citizens.


Planned project

Parliament Support Programme (PSP) in Macedonia

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2029

The Assembly (national parliament) will be supported in order to more effectively safeguard citizen interest and engage in consensus-oriented and inclusive debate. Over the past years the executive has built a dominant role vis-a-vis parliament resulting in ineffective oversight, limited debate on legislation, and little interaction with civil society. With the change of government in April 2017, a new momentum to address these topics has formed. Switzerland can offer its 10+ years record in supporting the Assembly.


Planned project

Domestic accountability and local revenue mobilisation

01.08.2023 - 31.07.2026

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

Subnational Governance Program (SNGP)

16.07.2023 - 15.07.2030

The overall goal of the Program is to support the subnational governments to build sustainable, inclusive and democratic institutions that deliver services to the citizens, especially from disadvantaged groups, in an efficient and effective way and as per their constitutional mandate. The Program will be nationally coordinated government-led and implementation will mainly take place in all seven provinces and 753 local level governments of Nepal.


Planned project

Support to Electoral Reforms in Macedonia

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2029

Election related institutions are strengthened to conduct election processes free of violence and intimidation. In addition, political parties are supported to apply a more citizen centred approach in developing their election programmes. Ultimately, better informed citizens are empowered to demand accountability from elected officials which increases legitimacy of the state institutions, thus they become more open and citizen oriented in the creation of policies.


Planned project

Programme d’Appui à la Promotion de l’Entreprenariat Agricole (PAPEA)

01.06.2023 - 31.01.2030

Au Burkina Faso, l’entreprenariat en particulier agricole est très peu développé, contribuant ainsi à la pauvreté et au chômage des populations. Les jeunes et les femmes sont les plus touchés par le phénomène du chômage et du sous-emploi (65,4% des chômeurs ont moins de 24 ans). La DDC soutiendra le développement d’entreprises agricoles pour la création d'emplois et de revenus au profit des populations, en particulier les jeunes et les femmes des zones rurales et péri-urbaines.


Planned project

Municipal Waste Collection and Transportation Management in Ulaanbaatar

01.04.2023 - 31.12.2024

The project aims to improve Waste Management focusing on the development of an effective collection and transportation system for municipal waste in Ulaanbaatar, to make it financially sustainable and efficient. The intervention focuses on the underserved and least developed areas of the capital city of Mongolia (ger areas) where most poor people reside, and will increase service delivery to citizens, diminish inequalities, increase the economic efficiency of the system and support the implementation of the new law and regulations on waste management.


Planned project

Mozaik: Youth for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.03.2023 - 28.02.2027

Young people are encouraged to increase their activism and to engage in joint community projects of public interest with municipal authorities and local companies. They acquire skills and self-confidence which provides them with better chances on the labor market, and some of them will develop into entrepreneurs who again create work opportunities accessible for all.


Planned project

Primary Health Care

01.01.2023 - 31.10.2024

After years of underinvestment in the social sectors and decades of civil war, access to basic services is low, in particular in the rural areas of the southeast of Myanmar. This project aims to improve people’s health through a primary health care approach in selected townships of the region, both in Government and Ethnic Armed Group controlled areas, strengthening basic services, empowering communities and supporting convergence of health systems.


Planned project

Retain Access in Afghanistan (RAA)

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2030

The security situation in Afghanistan remains a major concern for humanitarian and development actors. To continue their vital work in favour of the poor and vulnerable, they depend on reliable security reports and advisory services, on independent analyses of political events and trends, and on physical access to remote and conflict-affected areas. Through the Retain Access in Afghanistan Programme, the SDC will continue its support to three organisations that provide these essential services under a programmatic approach, strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus.


Planned project

FutureLife-Now!

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2030

‘FutureLife now! enhances primary HIV prevention and support treatment among young people. It will operate through schools and education systems and create synergies with health and climate change in line with Agenda 2030 and the goal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. SDC’s longstanding commitment, acknowledged by SADC[1] Member States, is unique. It offers a distinct comparative advantage over short-term programs and is a prerequisite for systemic and positive behavioral change.

[1] Southern African Development Community (SADC)


Financement des fonds agricoles nationaux du Bénin (FinAgri)

01.12.2022 - 30.11.2030

Au Bénin, il n’existe pas de dispositif national pour le financement du secteur agricole (agriculteurs, éleveurs, artisans et entreprises agricoles). Par la présente initiative, la DDC veut soutenir l’Etat béninois et le secteur privé dans la mise en place des dispositifs communs et pérennes de financement du secteur. Le but est de renforcer la productivité, la compétitivité des productions agricoles et la résilience des systèmes de productions aux effets des variations climatiques.

Object 73 – 84 of 1131