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 1165 – 1176 of 1187

Africa Transport Policy Programme (SSATP)

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2019

This project aims at supporting the Urban Mobility and Accessibility Thematic Cluster of the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) hosted within the World Bank, a program with a strong African ownership facilitating policy development and related capacity-building in the transport sector of Africa.


Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation Framework

31.10.2014 - 31.12.2022

The Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation ('PAF') is an innovative results-based climate finance facility aimed at stimulating investment in low-cost greenhouse gas emission reductions. The PAF would auction put options that guarantee a floor price on carbon emission reduction credits ('ERs').


SIFEM Technical Assistance for the CASEIF III Fund

01.10.2014 - 31.12.2019

The project will support investee companies of the CASEIF III Fund, in which SIFEM is invested, in mainly the following four areas: (i) Environment & Social standards and quality certification, (ii) corporate governance, (iii) financial reporting and accounting, (iv) HR, including gender specific social security schemes- antidiscrimination)


Bishkek Water Supply Project II

30.09.2014 - 30.06.2020

SECO has a longstanding partnership with the Kyrgyz Government aiming to develop and strengthen the urban water and sewerage sector of the country. Responding to the significant institutional and infrastructural needs, SECO engaged in 2009 in the Bishkek Water Supply Project (Phase I) on co-financing basis with EBRD. After the positive results achieved in phase I and taking into account the still existing need of the city, it was decided to contribute to a second phase of the project. This project will further rehabilitate the water and waste water infrastructure of Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic. The project with an overall budget of EUR 17,6 million, will be financed by an EBRD loan of EUR 8,5 mio., a grant by GEF of EUR 1,15 mio. and a grant by SECO of EUR 7,98 mio.


Ghana Energy Development and Access Program

01.07.2014 - 31.12.2019

This project supports Ghana's efforts to provide national access to electricity. It does so by financing the extension of the electricity distribution network, and by strengthening the managerial, commercial and technical capacities of main sector public actors. The project also promotes energy efficiency and the development of renewable energies.


Capacity Building for large Gas Infrastructure Developments

01.06.2014 - 31.12.2019

The Project aims to build technical and managerial capacities for the management of large gas infrastructure developments in the Albanian public sector with reference to the implementation of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the development of an Albanian gas market.


Municipal Infrastructure Programme MIP III / IV

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2019

The so called Municipal Infrastructure Programme (MIP) has the objective to improve access of the population of six medium sized cities in Albania to safe drinking water and to provide adequate sanitation through sewerage disposal.


National Solid Waste Management Program for Egypt

01.03.2014 - 31.12.2021

The National Solid Waste Management Program aims at supporting the establishment and implementation of effective policy, legislation and institutional arrangements for municipal solid waste management in Egypt, coupled with the implementation of related infrastructure.


Africa Corporate Governance Program

01.02.2014 - 30.06.2020

The regional program aims to improve corporate governance policies and practices in selected countries in Africa. By promoting good corporate governance operational efficiency and performance of companies can be improved.


Tax Administration Diagnostic and Assessement Tool (TADAT) Trust Fund

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

The overall objective of the TADAT Trust Fund is to establish a methodology and a tool for assessing tax administration performance, the Tax Administration Diagnostic and Assessment Tool (TADAT). The activities include the drafting of the diagnostic tool itself (the TADAT), the definition of the institutional setting ant governance structure around the TADAT, the establishment of the TADAT Secretariat, the conduct of pilot diagnostic assessments, and the establishment of appropriate quality assurance mechanisms.


Sanad Fund

01.01.2014 - 31.03.2028

The Sanad Fund is an investment vehicle, that provides debt and equity financing to banks and microfinance institutions. The ultimate beneficiaries are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The Middle East and North African region is the main target region of the Sanad Fund.


North Tajik II Water Supply Project

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

Urban water supply in Tajikistan is in bad condition due to the lack of maintenance since the break-up of the Soviet Union. This project aims at improving the water supply in four cities in the North of Tajikistan through the combination of three components: physical investments, corporate development and consumer participation.

Object 1165 – 1176 of 1187