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 1153 – 1164 of 1194

Public Financial Managment Capacity Building Trust Fund

01.12.2015 - 30.11.2019

PFM reforms and capacity building are key for the Kyrgyz Republic to increase transparency and accountability in the use of public funds. SECO has supported these reforms in a first phase of the Capacity Building in Public Finance Management project, administrated by the World Bank, between 2009-2015 and is now co-financing a second phase.



Wastewater treatment plant Peja with KfW

01.11.2015 - 31.12.2020

SECO is consolidating its support to the wastewater sector in Kosovo. The construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Peja is the second project of this kind SECO is co-financing with Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) in Kosovo. The project involves investment measures and institutional strengthening, as well as policy dialogue.


Establishment of the Association of Advanced Politekniks Indonesia

01.11.2015 - 31.12.2020

The Association of Advanced Politekniks Indonesia is a platform organization of Indonesian Politekniks and industry companies which implements skill development concepts, in analogy to the dVET systems in Switzerland and other European countries and with the objective to promote skills development.


Financial Infrastructure Programme

09.10.2015 - 31.12.2020

The Global Financial Infrastructure Programme (hereafter, the programme) will support the development and creation of well-functioning financial markets in SECO’s priority countries. With a specific focus on credit reporting and secured transaction, the programme will facilitate financial inclusion and foster responsible access to finance. It will be implemented by the the International Finance Corporation (IFC).


Extractives Global Programmatic Support Umbrella Trust Fund

01.10.2015 - 31.12.2019

The objective of the World Bank's Extractive Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) is to strengthen natural resource governance of resource-rich developing countries. The EGPS and the bilateral funding window support the implementation of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) at country level.


Energy City Project (Municipal Energy Efficiency Project, Municipal DRR Project)

17.08.2015 - 31.12.2020

The Republic of Serbia needs to increase the share of renewable energy and improve its energy efficiency. The MEEMP will support 4 selected municipalities in the implementation of national requirements in the energy and climate sector at municipal level by introducing the European Energy Award (EEA) system to Serbia.


Environmental and Social Risk Management Program

01.08.2015 - 31.12.2022

The Environmental and Social Risk Management Program will be implemented in three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria). Its aim is to ensure that lending to economic activities does not come at the cost of human well-being, natural resources and vital ecosystems.


Public financial Management Analytical and Advisory Assistance

01.07.2015 - 31.12.2020

Strengthening Public Financial Management (PFM) at central and subnational level is essential for stronger governance, improved outputs from public resources and effective expenditure management. This Trust Fund is a vehicle for development partners to drive PFM reform forward by strengthening the capacity to implement PFM reforms.


Naryn Water Rehabilitation Project I

30.06.2015 - 31.12.2019

SECO has a longstanding partnership with the Kyrgyz government in the urban water and sewerage sector. Since 2009, SECO has been engaged in 4 cities (Osh, Jalalabad, Kant and Bishkek) on a co-financing basis with EBRD. Given the remaining dramatic institutional and infrastructural needs, the proposal is now to engage in the city of Naryn.


Crop Receipts Project Ukraine

01.06.2015 - 30.06.2020

The Crop Receipt project facilitates access to finance for small and midsize agri-businesses in Ukraine. Crop receipts essentially are loan agreements between a farmer and a creditor, where the loan is repaid by the future harvest or the proceeds from its sale. Given the vast untapped agriculture potential and its importance for agrarian SME development, the Crop Receipt project is key to facilitate economic inclusion of small and midsize farmers through the provision of growth capital. The project is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and was launched in 2015.


Pilot models for environmentally friendly collection and temporary storage of hazardous household waste

21.04.2015 - 07.12.2019

Despite existing policy and regulatory frameworks in the field of national waste management in Bulgaria, efficient solutions for the waste problem are not yet employed. In order to address this, law-conforming systems for environmentally friendly collection and temporary storage of hazardous household waste (HHW) shall be established in a pilot project covering 22 pilot municipalities.

Object 1153 – 1164 of 1194