Preventing violent conflict

It is not unusual for violent conflicts to flare up again after a period of calm or following a ceasefire. However, it is possible to break recurring cycles of violence by addressing the root causes of the conflict and taking statebuilding factors into account, for example. Governments that do this are more likely to achieve good governance, the rule of law and the protection of human rights and thus promote constructive conflict resolution. The term ‘resilience’ is also commonly used.

What does ‘violent conflict’ mean?

Conflicts are not exclusively negative: they can also help societies to develop. Norbert Ropers, an expert on peace matters, sees conflict as an inevitable phenomenon associated with co-existence in all societies and, indeed, a necessary corollary of social change. He defines conflict as the expression of tensions and incompatibilities between different, mutually interdependent parties with regard to their respective needs, interests and values.

The problem starts when conflicts are settled through violent means. The prevention of violence therefore aims to resolve social and political conflicts through peaceful means. Fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies is one way of doing so.

What does ‘preventing violence’ mean?

Preventing violence involves more than merely ensuring that crises do not happen in the first place. It also means tackling the root causes of the conflict in question in order to prevent the recurrence of violence.

Establishing lasting peace also depends on statebuilding factors, i.e. strengthening state structures in general to improve their capacity to resist conflict. Good governance, the rule of law and the protection of human rights play a key role.

The SDC’s contribution to reducing violent conflicts

Development actors are increasingly required to accompany pathways out of fragility and towards long-term change, particularly by working directly in and on a conflict instead of organising their programmes around a conflict. Besides adapting their working methods, this also requires them to examine the nature of the conflict and its causes. Restoring security and the rule of law for the population is essential to break the cycle of violence and prevent conflicts from flaring up again. The SDC focuses on supporting civil society and building up local government institutions, while promoting participatory decision-making processes. Two concepts play a key role: security sector reform (SSR) and dealing with the past.

Since the publication in 2005 of the 'In Larger Freedom' report by the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, the concept of SSR has gained a firm foothold in the fight against poverty. Annan stressed that development and security were inextricably linked and interdependent. SSR promotes the following objectives:

  • Establishment of effective governance, oversight and accountability in the security sector
  • Improved and sustainable access to security and justice services
  • Development of local leadership and ownership of the reform process

A case in point is the SDC’s project supporting police reform in Honduras, the country with the highest homicide rate in the world. By realigning the law enforcement mandate to focus on community policing, establishing a system of internal controls and sanctions, and creating an independent complaints body, the SDC is contributing to the fight against impunity and an improvement in the security situation.

The SDC’s actions for dealing with the past are based on the four ‘Joinet principles’ proposed by the French human rights expert and former long-serving UN official Louis Joinet. The principles, which Joinet formulated after the war in the former Yugoslavia and the genocide in Rwanda, were adopted by the UN Human Rights Commission in 1997 and are based on the following pillars:

  • The right to know: Both individual victims of human rights violations and society as a whole have a right to know what happened during a war or armed conflict. Truth and reconciliation commissions are often used to this end.
  • The right to justice: Victims have a right to see that the perpetrators of serious human rights violations are criminally prosecuted. National, international or mixed courts play an important role in this respect.
  • The right to reparation: Victims have the right to be restored to their situation prior to the human rights violation (‘restitution’). When this is not possible, they should at the very least be compensated for the injustice and suffering (‘compensation’), and receive medical care (‘rehabilitation’). States often issue apologies and build memorials to the victims as a form of reparation.
  • The guarantee of non-recurrence: Victims have the right to be protected from all future violence. This process often begins with free and fair elections and goes hand in hand with the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration of rebels.

Documents

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 1067

Improving farm productivity in Georgia through dual vocational education and training

Three people in a greenhouse.

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022

Agriculture is Georgia's most important sector. However, farming remains uncompetitive as farmers' skills are out of step with the job market and technological developments. Switzerland is continuing to support vocational education and training to improve productivity, farm income and the employment situation for students of agriculture.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Georgia
Vocational training
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Agricultural services & market
Rural development
EDUCATION
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Vocational training
Agricultural services
Rural development

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022


CHF 6'352'000



Improved Healthcare in Hospitals in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Women, children and men  in a Surgical ward

15.05.2018 - 30.09.2019

Since August 2017, over 700,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Together with refugees who fled during previous crises, some 900,000 refugees from Myanmar are currently living in Cox's Bazar district in southern Bangladesh. The region's three hospitals have been unable to cope with the enormous increase in the number of refugees.  Swiss Humanitarian Aid is helping to upgrade the hospitals' infrastructure and providing training in laboratory analysis and logistics.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bangladesh
Health
medicalservices
Health systems strengthening
HEALTH
HEALTH
Medical services
Health policy and administrative management

15.05.2018 - 30.09.2019


CHF 200'000



Mozambique: Less illness thanks to better water supplies and sanitation

A villager in Niassa Province in northern Mozambique works a new handpump. She is surrounded by a group of people.

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Many cases of illness in the poor region of northern Mozambique are caused by the poor condition of water supplies and sanitation.  The SDC is assisting the efforts of the local people and responsible authorities to improve the situation. Aim of the project: Better living conditions for half a million people – and less poverty.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mozambique
Health
Health systems strengthening
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021


CHF 7'445'000



Capacity building for Serbian municipalities

Around 50 parliamentarians in session at the Serbian parliament.

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Switzerland is supporting the Serbian government’s public administration reform, which aims to make it more effective and accessible to both citizens and the private sector. SwissPRO project is being run in 99 municipalities (two-thirds of Serbia) to improve good governance, social inclusion and gender equality.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Governance
humanrights
gender
Decentralisation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
womensequalityorg
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
Human rights
Women's equality organisations and institutions

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021


CHF 7'000'000



Decentralization and Municipal Support in Kosovo (DEMOS)

Two young people rollerblading on a cycle path..

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Since the declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo has been engaged in the reform and decentralisation of its public authorities with the aim of strengthening autonomy and local democracy in its 38 municipalities. The SDC's “Decentralisation and Municipal Support” project (DEMOS) aims to help municipalities enhance democratic governance and municipal management and provide better public services, thereby supporting Kosovo in its transition to a democratic and decentralised state.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Governance
Decentralisation
Democratic participation
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
15150

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021


CHF 12'800'000



Bosnia and Herzegovina: Improving nursing care for better health services

A nurse sitting in a treatment room.

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021

In Bosnia and Herzegovina nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals. However, the potential offered by their proximity to local communities is underexploited. They are often responsible for administrative tasks rather than patient care and, with limited career prospects, many nurses are attracted by better working conditions in Western Europe. This is regrettable because nurses and the care they provide can be a gateway to better health services for people living in rural areas and marginalised communities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Health
Education
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
Education facilities and training
HEALTH
HEALTH
EDUCATION
Health policy and administrative management
Basic health care
Education facilities and training

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021


CHF 5'125'000



Improved Access to Markets for Female and Male Fresh Fruits and Vegetable (FFV) Small Scale Producers

Improved access to markets for fresh fruits and vegetable (FFV) small scale producers (men and women), occupied Palestinian territory

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021

With focus on private sector-led agriculture and agribusiness, this program pursues systemic change in the agriculture sector and supports business modalities that favor small scale producers in the occupied Palestinian territory. The overall goal is to contribute to build a resilient economy with equitable agricultural growth, whilst contributing to protect small scale producers’ entitlements to natural resources and access to markets.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural development
Agricultural services & market
Agricultural policy
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
Agricultural development
Agricultural services
Agricultural policy and administrative management

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021


CHF 3'900'000



Revitalising labour market in Moldova

Two young women checking cables.

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2021

With Moldova facing high unemployment and a slowdown in growth, the SDC is funding a project designed to offer young job seekers alternatives to emigration and to improve the country's economic situation. Switzerland is supporting reforms aimed at training a qualified workforce and improving the investment climate. This will not only promote demand-driven training but also help create new jobs in the private sector.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Moldova
Vocational training
Vocational training
EDUCATION
Vocational training

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2021


CHF 5'350'000



Reducing youth unemployment in Kosovo with the help of the private sector

Two people on an adventure park ropes course.

16.11.2017 - 15.11.2021

The Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) project is strengthening companies in the food and tourism sectors and spurring job creation in Kosovo.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Employment & economic development
SME development
INDUSTRY, MINING, CONSTRUCTION
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development

16.11.2017 - 15.11.2021


CHF 7'320'000



A more inclusive job market for women in the South Caucasus

A women reads information

01.11.2017 - 31.07.2021

In the three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), many women face job market discrimination. In the absence of policy to create equal opportunities and jobs for women in the formal economy, women work unprotected in the informal sector. The Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus project seeks to promote women's economic empowerment to facilitate their equal access to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Caucasus
gender
Vocational training
womensequalityorg
Vocational training
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
EDUCATION
Women's equality organisations and institutions
Vocational training

01.11.2017 - 31.07.2021


CHF 3'400'000



A toolbox for sustainable sefl-reliance

Workers learn how to build stable houses in cyclone-affected Southwestern Haiti.

06.09.2017 - 30.06.2021

Haiti has been repeatedly devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes in recent years. SDC engineers are now working with those affected to build more stable houses from local materials. Five hundred new homes are to be built by 2021.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Haiti
Climate change and environment
Vocational training
Governance
Disaster risk reduction DRR
Vocational training
Public sector policy
DISASTER PREVENTION AND PREPAREDNESS
EDUCATION
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Disaster prevention and preparedness
Vocational training
Public sector policy and administrative management

06.09.2017 - 30.06.2021


CHF 3'423'500



Support to Municipal Development Project (MDP-3)

Support to municipal development project (MDP-3), occupied Palestinian territory

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2021

Since 2009, the Municipal Development Project (MDP) has been the main vehicle for policy reform in the Local Governance sector in the oPt. It has channelled funding to Municipalities to support infrastructure projects and capacity-building activities in a transparent and equitable manner, despite huge challenges linked to 50 years of Israeli Occupation and to 10 years of intra-Palestinian divide. MDP-3 (2017-2021) is supported by 7 donors and the Palestinian Authority: SDC’s contribution is in line with Swiss Cooperation Strategy for the oPt (2015-2018).

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Governance
Decentralisation
Democratic participation
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
15150

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2021


CHF 5'300'000


Object 1 – 12 of 1067