Fragility and violence impede poverty reduction

Supporters of the deposed president José Manuel Zelaya coming under fire from the Honduran army in 2009
Throughout the world, some 1.5 billion people live in countries where violence is part of daily life. © Laif/Redux-Stephen Ferry (Honduras, 2009)

Fragility, conflicts, violence and human rights violations: these are among the main challenges to poverty reduction. Fragility within a state is characterised by the government’s inability to provide security and basic public services. A constructive and reciprocal relationship between the government and the citizens is also lacking.

It is estimated that worldwide more than 40 states are beset by violence and conflict, affecting a total population of some 1.5 billion who count among the world’s poorest. SDC works to alleviate the causes of conflict, strengthen basic public services and increase respect for human rights.

A majority of the countries considered as fragile have failed to achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) whose primary aim it is to halve world poverty by 2015. The local populations suffer from violent conflicts, uncertain political conditions and weak governance.

Engagement in fragile contexts

Switzerland has substantially increased its support for fragile and conflict-affected regions in the 2013–16 period.

The SDC’s work in fragile contexts

The SDC’s work in fragile contexts is based on the ten OECD principles and includes the following objectives: reducing the causes of conflicts, increasing resistance to crises and improving the human rights situation.


Spesso colpiscono la popolazione civile quando il conflitto è già ampiamente concluso. Le vittime sono quasi sempre civili, un quarto sono addirittura bambini. Ripulire un terreno dalle mine è un'operazione laboriosa, costosa e pericolosa.

Characteristics of fragile contexts

Fragile countries or regions are characterised by weak or unstable institutions, poverty, violence, corruption and political arbitrariness.

Prevention of violent conflicts

In preventing violent conflict the aim is stop past conflicts from flaring up and new conflicts from breaking out.

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 27

Safeguarding children’s rights in East Jerusalem

Safeguarding children’s rights in East Jerusalem, occupied Palestinian territory

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

By supporting a comprehensive child protection programme in occupied East Jerusalem, Switzerland aims to ensure that vulnerable children at risk of being in conflict with the law or directly affected by the conflict, together with their families, have access to appropriate preventive and protection programmes. The intervention, implemented by UNICEF and its partners, is in line with Switzerland's engagement for the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Conflict prevention and transformation
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Legal and judicial development
Civilian peace-building and conflict resolution
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Legal and judicial development
Civilian peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution
Human rights

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

CHF 2'250'000

oPt, Enhancing Social Engagement and Accountability through Culture and the Arts

Qattana local community members are beautifying their village through repairing and painting the walls

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019

The aim of this intervention is to enhance social engagement and participation, to promote the role of people as agents of change and to strengthen social accountability in the oPt. SDC will support initiatives that use arts and culture as a means to enhance democratic debates, promote social inclusion and active participation within the communities and between the communities and the local authorities. The initiatives will favour the participation of youth and women in local public debates.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Conflict prevention and transformation

Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Conflict prevention
Culture and recreation
Human rights
Civilian peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019

CHF 901'868

Strengthening of civil-political-economic rights and social auditing.

01.05.2020 - 30.06.2027

Strengthening civil-political-economic rights, freedom of expression and social auditing is a priority to ensure the functioning of the rule of law and respect for human rights in Honduras. The role of civil society is essential in the construction of citizenship and to ensure a system of check and balance. Therefore, the program will support 6 to 8 national civil society organization with strong anchoring in the territories to promote jointly in a concerted, impartial and evidence based way these topics.

ProJoven: Vocational training for young people at risk of exclusion

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

En la fase II, ProJoven contribuye a la inserción laboral de aproximamiento 6’000 jóvenes en riesgo del Distrito Central, de la región Golfo de Fonseca y Mosquitia/Atlántida. Esto significa un mínimo de 80% de los 7’500 jóvenes formados con un sistema de formación profesional-inserción laboral de calidad y acorde a la demanda del mercado, que alcanza sectores productivos, servicios y turismo. Además, el sistema formación-inserción laboral incorpora un enfoque psicosocial para la sostenibilidad de los resultados.

Trans-Border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes Region

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020

Jointly with the Swedish Embassy, Switzerland supports a trans-border dialogue for peace in the Great Lakes region, a program run by Interpeace with 6 local NGOs. This second phase will continue using research and dialogue to address stereotypes and lack of trust behind recurrent conflicts in the Great Lakes region. Research and dialogue constitute the basis to engage decision makers, to promote good governance and concrete consensus-based solutions taking into account local populations’ concerns and recommendations.

Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Center (IHLRC) “Closing the Compliance Gap”

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019

The Swiss contribution supports Diakonia’s International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre (IHLRC) to respond to the demand for accurate and principled legal analysis on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law in the oPt, and to make it accessible to States and relevant organizations to ensure that their policies and international aid are not in contradiction with international law. This intervention is in line with the Swiss Foreign Policy in the Region and SDC Cooperation Strategy 2015-2018 that aims to promote respect for International Law, to ensure protection by all duty-bearers of the rights of the Palestinian population.

Contribution to UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women

01.12.2016 - 30.11.2021

Switzerland is renewing its contribution to the system-wide United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF). As the only global multilateral grant-making mechanism exclusively devoted to supporting local and national efforts to ending violence against women and girls (EVAW/G), including in fragile and conflict contexts, the UNTF has the advantage to possess a global overview of the legal provisions and practices, methods of prevention and types of support services needed. Dissemination of good practice will be strengthened to inform policy and programming.

Access to Justice in Tajikistan

A lawyer sits at her desk and discusses with a woman.

01.12.2016 - 30.11.2020

Through this project, Switzerland will accompany the Government in realizing a state system providing free legal aid, which will allow the vulnerable (poor) individuals in Tajikistan to better protect their rights and in particular to claim various benefits (e.g. pensions, child allowances). This system will replace the current NGO provided legal aid services. A space for dialogue between civil society and state authorities will also be preserved and will contribute to addressing further legal challenges faced by the population.

TUR CONCERN Capacity Strengthening of local NGOs for Effective Refugee Response in Turkey

01.12.2016 - 31.01.2018

Civil Society (CS) in Turkey only recently has developed a humanitarian focus. INGOs, donors and the UN rely on a few natinal NGOs to compleent the governmental refugee respone, which is increasingly strained as the Sate is undergoing a severe crisis. Humanitarian CS initiatives have also emerged at local and provincial level, but there institutional and operational capacities are still weak. This project will stregthen the capacities of 10 local NGOs to conduct refugee assistance. 

Prevention of Domestic Violence in Tajikistan

01.10.2016 - 30.09.2019

Domestic violence is widespread in Tajik society (70% of women experience domestic violence in their life). Despite the adoption of the law on domestic violence in 2013, the Government lacks coordinated mechanisms for its implementation. In the exit phase the project will shift from NGO based service provision towards supporting the state coordination mechanisms, the establishment of an effective public referral system providing services to the victims, and public awareness activities with a focus on contributing to behavioural changes.

Renforcement d’IDEA phase Unique (RIDEAU)

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2018

Le programme d’IDEA en Haïti vise le renforcement des institutions (p. ex. Parlement) et des acteurs politiques (p. ex. partis), piliers institutionnels de  l’état de droit. Ce faisant IDEA contribue à bâtir une gouvernance nationale respectueuse de la participation citoyenne et paritaire entre les femmes et les hommes. La DDC apporte une contribution générale à IDEA avec un suivi particulier sur la participation politiques des femmes et sur les pratiques de reddition des comptes. 

UNDP SDG 16 delivery: Peaceful Societies, Justice, and Strong Institutions

01.07.2016 - 30.06.2019

Switzerland supports the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its effort to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16). With this strategic contribution, Switzerland strengthens the capacity of UNDP to prevent and mitigate armed conflict and violence, to promote inclusive and accountable governance, including the rule of law, and to respond rapidly to crises. This builds on a long-standing successful partnership with UNDP on crisis prevention and response.

Object 1 – 12 of 27