Afghan women police officers in training
In Afghanistan, supporting the recruitment of female police officers helps overcome women’s distrust of police authority and improves investigation of complaints brought by women. © SDC

Sustainable Development Goal 16 tackles peace issues in terms of reducing all forms of violence and arms flows. The 16+ approach also takes gender, work and people’s security into account, along with aspects seeking to foster safe migration and a culture of peace.

Through its engagement in countries and regions such as Cambodia, Colombia, Mali and Tunisia, Switzerland works to prevent violence and extremist violence, reform the security sector and establish good security sector governance, as well as campaigning against anti-personnel mines. Switzerland also seeks to strengthen the existing synergies between humanitarian aid, development and conflict transformation instruments through what is known as the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

Strengthening synergies within the humanitarian-development-peace nexus

Switzerland enjoys close relations with the multilateral system. Its engagement in protracted crises, traditionally humanitarian in nature, now increasingly sees development and human security instruments being mobilised. For the donor countries such as Switzerland, this change represents a commitment on the part of the international community to greater coherence in aid planning and delivery, conflict transformation and development cooperation.  Switzerland recently took part in the humanitarian reform process known as the ‘Grand Bargain’, as well as the World Humanitarian Summit and the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. In addition to implementing these international commitments, the SDC is also committed to anchoring them at the institutional level.

Preventing violence and violent extremism

Preventing violent extremism is part of Swiss peacebuilding and statebuilding policy. Through its actions, Switzerland helps support its partners in their efforts to stamp out the breeding grounds of violent extremism, while at the same time eradicating the direct and structural causes that feed this phenomenon. It seeks to play a role in creating social contexts in which social cohesion means that those who might be tempted to resort to violence on economic, ideological, political, religious or social grounds are not failed by their environment. Young people, in particular, must be offered visible prospects and alternatives.

Switzerland works closely with civil society, placing a focus on women and young people as key prevention partners. As well as taking part in a number of international and regional forums, especially in North Africa and the Sahel, it also supports international cooperation and, particularly, public-private partnerships such as the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), which is based in Geneva. GCERF is the principal support mechanism for local efforts and initiatives aimed at directly strengthening community resilience to violent extremism. Working at the nexus of security and development issues, this community of practice and fund advocates establishing partnerships and consulting with the government authorities, civil society and private sector in the countries in question as the best way to address the local drivers of violent extremism.

International security and peace

Switzerland makes important contributions to international security and peace through the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). All three centres have gained a sound reputation over the last two decades and helped improve the standing of International Geneva. The new framework credit to the three Geneva centres for the 2020–23 period has been set at CHF 128 million. By continuing its financial support in this manner, Switzerland is honouring its commitment to a just and peaceful international order as set out in Article 2 of the Federal Constitution.

Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF)

Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP)

Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)

Combating anti-personnel mines

Despite the success of the 1997 Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, and the relatively small number of mine victims compared with other victims of violence, disease or accidents, anti-personnel mines remain a source of suffering and exclusion for those affected by them. The SDC engages in humanitarian demining action, advocates for the Ottawa Convention, mine risk education and victim assistance through its development and humanitarian aid projects.

In line with its Mine Action Strategy for 2016–22, Switzerland’s efforts are focused on

  1. the importance of promoting and complying with the relevant international instruments
  2. clearing contaminated areas, mine risk education and victim assistance
  3. building local capacities to strengthen local ownership.

The Swiss Confederation invested CHF 22.3 million in mine action in 2017. To date, programmes have been conducted in Angola, Eritrea, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Georgia.

Current projects

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

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2023

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.

RCA: UNICEF Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance

01.06.2015 - 30.06.2017

Par son appui financier au Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance, la DDC souhaite contribuer au renforcement du système de coordination en RCA, pour assurer une réponse de protection coordonnée pour les enfants affectés par la crise. Ce soutien rentre par ailleurs dans le cadre de la stratégie de la protection de civils (PoC), et plus spécifiquement dans le plan d’action du DFAE pour la protection des enfants associés aux forces et groupes armés.

AfDB - SDC Partnership on enhancing the Bank’s fragility and conflict sensitivity

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2022

Based on its Ten-year Strategy, the Bank will strengthen its engagement in fragile and conflict affected coun­tries/situations which is also a priority in Switzerland’s development bill 2013-16. This partnership will assist the Bank in building the necessary capacities and instruments to translate fragility concepts and approaches into more effective operations on the ground.  Other outcomes will be a new diagnostic tool “Country Resil­ience and Fragility Assessment (CRFA)” and strengthened capacities in the Bank and in 30 African countries.

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