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 13 – 24 of 40

United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

01.09.2016 - 31.12.2018

The conflict in the eastern part of the country has aggravated the human rights situation in Ukraine which requires a comprehensive international monitoring and engagement with relevant actors. The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission is well placed to help identifying human rights gaps and concerns in Ukraine, and to formulate specific recommendations for shaping policies and assistance programs.

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.

Colombia Information Management and Analysis Unit (CIMAU)

18.05.2016 - 31.05.2018

Colombia has been suffering from a protracted armed conflict, which affected the living conditions of over 7.5 million people. Colombia has a historic opportunity to achieve a peace agreement with the FARC-EP guerrilla in 2016, entering into a transition period out of conflict into local peace and statebuilding. In this post-conflict context, a data management system, taking into account not only humanitarian, but also peacebuilding and development needs is crucial to contribute to a more strategic decision making and better alignment and harmonization.

Colloque régional de l’Union Africaine « Radicalisation et extrémisme religieux violent au Sahel »

15.05.2016 - 31.12.2018

Le Sahel connaît depuis plusieurs années une recrudescence de l’extrémisme violent, avec des groupes terroristes et criminels capables d’élargir leur zone d’opération et de recrutement à des populations jusqu’ici épargnées par les phénomènes de radicalisation. La Suisse souhaite renforcer ses liens avec l’Union Africaine et lui apporter son soutien pour l’organisation de deux colloques au Mali et au Tchad, visant à renforcer la position des leaders religieux et traditionnels comme acteurs de paix et à sensibiliser contre les dangers de l’instrumentalisation des religions. 

Regional Art and Culture Programme in Central Asia

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

The programme builds on a vision that the strengthened and pluralistic cultural sector contributes to developing and empowering the civil society. The programme aims to protect and to enlarge a social space where democratic values can be expressed and intercultural dialogue happen. lt has the potential to allow marginalised voices to be heard and new or unpopular ideas to be shared.

International NGO Safety Organisation - Afghanistan (INSO)

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018

The security situation in Afghanistan is becoming increasingly difficult. International NGO Safety Organisation provides Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) with the necessary advice and services to maintain their operations and reach the vulnerable population. SDC and Swiss partners rely on INSO services to be able to stay engaged in Afghanistan. SDC’s support allows strengthening an independent and professional organization working for risk mitigation for NGOs in a fragile context.

PREST 5, Pistes rurales et désenclavement à l’Est(Mise à l’échelle des acquis de l’appui suisse à la réalisation et à l’entretien des pistes rurales par la méthode Haute Intensité de Main d’œuvre (HIMO))

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2020

Les routes constituent un soutien à la croissance économique par la mobilité des personnes et des marchandises. Au Burkina Faso, elles demeurent en deçà des besoins et des référentiels de l’espace UEMOA. Partant de ce constat et sur l’expérience de la DDC, le gouvernement a souhaité que la Suisse finance conjointement un projet d’infrastructures et de mobilité avec la Banque Mondiale avec la méthode haute intensité de main d’œuvre (HIMO). Un inventaire des initiatives basées sur la méthode HIMO dans les 13 régions a été lancé en vue d’élaborer une politique nationale HIMO. La DDC s’engage à contribuer à ce projet et valorise la méthode HIMO à l’échelle nationale.

oPt: Community empowerment in the Gaza Strip

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018

SDC partnership with the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) enables the provision of quality services in vulnerable and marginalized areas of the Gaza Strip. CFTA’s work aims at strengthening the capacities of the Palestinian civil society in the Gaza Strip through integrated programs for children, youth, and women – in particular non formal education, psychosocial support, artistic skills development, rights awareness and fighting against domestic violence -  and support to CBOs organizations and networks. CFTA is also a platform for youth and women to become active members of their communities.

LEB- UN-Habitat: Addressing the impacts of the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Tripoli and Tyr

01.12.2015 - 31.05.2018

With over 1 million Syrian refugees against a population of around 4.2 million, Lebanon now has the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Around 35 % of those refugees are hosted in the four largest cities: Tripoli, Beirut, Saida and Tyr which accommodate 50% of the total population in Lebanon. Priority needs are shelter, food and livelihoods. UN-Habitat in Lebanon addresses the urban challenges and needs in these cities.

Multidonor Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB): Improvement of Citizen Security in Latin America and the Caribbean

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2018

The support provided by SDC (single- phase project) focusses on improving the effectiveness of public policies on citizen security in the Latin American and Caribbean countries, as a response to high levels of violence in the region. SDC will contribute to the IDB Multidonor Fund of the Citizen Security Initiative (CSI), aiming to strengthen the capacity of states to implement public policies on citizen security and promote exchange of lessons learnt through regional dialogue and bi- and multilateral cooperation in earmarked projects.

UN-Habitat: Gaza Participatory Spatial Planning Support Program

01.11.2015 - 31.10.2018

Participatory spatial planning will be tested in 5 municipalities and 10 neighbourhoods of the Gaza Strip by acknowledging that a human rights based approach to planning legitimizes the interests of marginalized groups. This intervention aims at fostering a more sustainable urban environment in the context of continuous demographic growth, while contributing to the overall reconstruction efforts after recurrent armed conflicts, and several years of full blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Object 13 – 24 of 40