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 25 – 36 of 1096

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
Governance
Conflict & fragility
Human rights
Legal and judicial development
Conflict prevention
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Legal and judicial development
Civilian peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution
Human rights

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2020


CHF 2'250'000



Sustainable management protects people and their livelihoods in Tajikistan

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2019

Flash floods and mudslides are examples of hazards that threatens inhabitants of Muminabad district in Tajikistan. Switzerland is supporting a project to reduce the risk of natural disasters in four watersheds of the district. The project of Caritas Switzerland relies on a sustainable agriculture and livestock production with a strong involvement of local communities and authorities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Tajikistan
Climate change and environment
Disaster risk reduction DRR
Environmental policy
DISASTER PREVENTION AND PREPAREDNESS
GENERAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
Disaster prevention and preparedness
Environmental policy and administrative management

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2019


CHF 2'034'543



Lebanon: education and care in a neighbourhood shared by Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

Inside a classroom where a woman teacher is sitting in front of a group of children showing them a book.

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2019

The inhabitants of Hay el Gharbé in southern Beirut live in a very precarious situation. Since 2012, a number of Syrian refugees have joined their neighbourhood. The SDC supports the Lebanese NGO Tahaddi, which has made a real difference in people’s lives here – such as with its education centre, helping a large number of children to (re)discover schooling and escape their daily hardships. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Lebanon
Education
Health
Primary education
Primary health care
Medical services
EDUCATION
HEALTH
HEALTH
Primary education
Basic health care
Medical services

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2019


CHF 774'000



Supporting livestock traceability in the South Caucasus

The image shows a close-up of a calf with an identification tag in its right ear.

15.06.2016 - 30.11.2020

Identifying where animals have come from and recording information about their health is essential in modern agriculture to prevent the spread of diseases and stop products from diseased animals reaching the market. A system to ensure traceability will help to improve the incomes of farmers in the South Caucasus by increasing both herd productivity and the producers’ access to markets.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Caucasus
Agriculture & food security
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Rural development

15.06.2016 - 30.11.2020


CHF 5'935'000



Confronting and combating gender-based violence in Mongolia

Two female Mongolian social workers.

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020

Gender-based violence has been on the rise in Mongolia since the turn of the millennium. Yet because of a serious lack of data, the extent of the phenomenon is difficult to assess and a culture of impunity continues to hold sway.  The SDC plans to conduct a national survey to address this problem.  At the same time, it intends to strengthen institutions, put in place appropriate services and raise public awareness.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mongolia
Governance
Human rights
Legal and judicial development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Legal and judicial development
Human rights

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020


CHF 4'090'000



Combating corruption in Kosovo

Four young developers sitting at a table discussing IT solutions designed to help the municipality create more transparency.

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020

Corruption is rampant among Kosovo’s public institutions and undermines citizens’ trust in the system. The SDC is supporting a project designed to address this problem by promoting transparency in institutions and encouraging citizens to report abuses.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Governance
Anti-corruption organisations
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Anti-corruption organisations and institutions

01.05.2016 - 30.04.2020


CHF 2'855'500



Prospects for young, unemployed adults in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2020

The aim of the Youth Employment Project (YEP) is to help public employment bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve their offer and to introduce youth-friendly services, such as individual and group careers advice for unemployed young adults between 18 and 30 years. Together with local partners, YEP also promotes new job opportunities linked to social entrepreneurship models.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
Business support & economic inclusion
Vocational training
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
BUSINESS & OTHER SERVICES
EDUCATION
Employment policy and administrative management
Business support services and institutions
Vocational training

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2020


CHF 4'800'000



Migration for social well-being and economic development in Sri Lanka

Family members excitedly examine their travel documents

01.03.2016 - 29.02.2020

Every year, large numbers of Sri Lankans leave their country to work abroad for a few years, usually in the Gulf States. They thereby further Sri Lanka's economic development but at the same time risk having their basic human rights, and their labour rights in particular, violated. That is why the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is working for the establishment of a framework that ensures decent working conditions for migrant workers in the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Sri Lanka
Migration
Labour migration
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility
Facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility
Material relief assistance and services

01.03.2016 - 29.02.2020


CHF 6'850'000



Nepal: An array of measures to tackle gender-based violence

Group photo of the participants from above

01.02.2016 - 30.06.2020

Gender-based violence is a widespread problem in Nepal, and an obstacle to sustainable development. The SDC and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched a 3-year prevention and response project at the beginning of 2016. Women and girls are learning about their rights and being encouraged to report assaults. Men and boys are being encouraged to change their behaviour towards women. And duty bearers are learning to respond more rapidly and effectively. The project is already delivering first encouraging results.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Nepal
Gender
Human rights
Sexual & gender-based violence
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Ending violence against women and girls
Human rights

01.02.2016 - 30.06.2020


CHF 3'743'000



Swiss communes improve access to water in countries of the South

Residents of Nouakchott dig a long straight trench in a sandy street to lay a section of the 50 kilometres of new water pipes in the Mauritanian capital, while a young girl is looking on from the edge of the pavement.

01.01.2016 - 31.10.2019

Solidarit’eau suisse is helping fund projects to improve access to clean drinking water in developing countries. Initiated by the SDC, this internet platform enables communes and other local authorities in Switzerland to consult the list of projects and, if they want to become more involved, make contact with partners abroad.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Switzerland
Water
Governance
Drinking water and basic sanitation (WASH) (til 2016)
Water supply
Decentralisation
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Basic drinking water supply and basic sanitation
Basic drinking water supply
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)

01.01.2016 - 31.10.2019


CHF 710'000



Vocational skills development in Tunisia – destination employment

In Tunisia, an SDC programme enables young job seekers to acquire the technical and social skills required in the workplace

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2020


An SDC programme boosts the employability of young Tunisians entering the job market. It provides them with training in vocational skills to equip them with the practical experience and know-how required in the workplace.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Tunisia
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
Vocational training
Employment policy and administrative management

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2020


CHF 9'603'475



Policy Dialogue for better Health Governance in Ukraine

A woman is at the doctor's.

01.12.2015 - 30.11.2019

This project aims to strengthen the Ukrainian health ministry's authority and expertise in order to best manage the reforms underway in this sector. In particular, priorities will be defined more clearly and public policy which meets the specific health needs of the population will be drawn up and implemented.

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

01.12.2015 - 30.11.2019


CHF 1'850'000


Object 25 – 36 of 1096