Emergency relief: Swiss Humanitarian Aid's main mission

A father and daughter beside a fruit and vegetable stall in a refugee camp.
In Iraq millions of people displaced by war have turned to refugee camps for food and water. © SDC

Switzerland provides emergency relief in situations of crisis, conflict and disaster, with full respect for universal humanitarian principles. The main goal of such operations is to save lives and alleviate suffering. The Humanitarian Aid of SDC places the needs of the affected people at the centre of its activities and advocates for their own involvement in humanitarian efforts.

SDC Focus

Emergency relief is the primary mission of the SDC's humanitarian aid activities performed on Switzerland's behalf. This means providing food and drinking water as well as emergency medical care for people in need. It also includes temporary shelter for refugees and internally displaced persons. Ensuring protection for the most vulnerable is a priority of the Humanitarian Aid of SDC.

Needs-based action

Switzerland provides emergency relief where:

  • there are major humanitarian needs and a large number of people face serious difficulties as a result of a crisis, armed conflict, natural or technological disaster or an epidemic;
  • the local, national and regional capacities are lacking or unable to cope with such crisis situations and their consequences.

In order to assess the needs and decide where and when to act, the Humanitarian Aid of SDC is guided by appeals for assistance from the states concerned, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC) and/or the relevant UN bodies. It also draws on the observations of Swiss representations abroad and various NGOs.

The Humanitarian Aid of SDC responds rapidly on the ground, guided by the specific needs and in accordance with the fundamental principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

Emergency relief tools

Switzerland's emergency relief activities take a variety of forms:

  • deployment of Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit experts
  • distribution of food and basic necessities
  • disbursement of funds to partner organisations working in the crisis zones
  • continued international advocacy and on the ground to ensure access to humanitarian aid for the victims.

Background

Humanitarian challenges have multiplied over the years and become more and more complex. Crises, conflicts and disasters are increasing in number, scope, intensity and duration. Such situations often result in violations of international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles. In brief, the humanitarian system is reaching its limits, and the biggest victims are civilian populations. Millions of people have fled suffering and violence worldwide, and such migratory flows and their consequences are also being felt in Europe. But it is always the countries of origin and their neighbouring states that bear most of the burden.

Support for local stakeholders

Switzerland advocates for international efforts that bolster the affected countries' own local, national and regional mechanisms for humanitarian action in situations of crisis or disaster. Only through such an approach can these countries and communities build the resilience needed to withstand future disasters and instability.

Transitioning to reconstruction and rehabilitation

Emergency relief measures generally come to an end when all humanitarian needs are under control and the authorities of the country concerned are again in a position to provide basic services to the local population. Once this has been achieved, humanitarian efforts can concentrate on reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Where a natural disaster has caused total devastation, or in the case of a prolonged crisis such as in Syria, aid programmes should include incentives for local populations to pursue their development autonomously in the medium to long term. Within the SDC, the specialists in humanitarian aid and in development cooperation often work together for the welfare of beneficiaries.

Current projects

Object 121 – 132 of 894

IGAD Land Governance Programme

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2023

Land is a source for livelihoods and a valuable economic asset in the IGAD region. Drawing on experiences from other land related partnerships at national, regional and global levels, Switzerland supports the Intergovernmental Authority on Development IGAD to translate continental and global land governance frameworks and guidelines into practice in order to improve access to land and tenure security for all, especially for vulnerable groups like pastoralists, women and youth.


Andean Forest and Climate Change Programme (ANFOR) – Phase II

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2021

The second and last phase of the Andean Forest and Climate Change Programme (ANFOR) will consolidate, share and scale-up validated best practices on how to safeguard mountain forest ecosystems to further shape national forest policies aiming at enhanced resilience of Andean mountain forest ecosystems and increased human wellbeing. The Programme will inform the concerned regional and global dialogue and contribute to an effective implementation of national policies related to environmental integrity.


IGGE : Inclusive Green Growth in Egypt

01.09.2019 - 31.12.2023

The main barriers to the competitiveness of the total 2.5 million micro-small-medium enterprises in Egypt are a lack of affordable funding and a mismatch between the needs of the market and the skills available. With its proven expertise in micro-small-medium enterprises Switzerland supports economic growth and more efficient use of resources in Upper Egypt through the model of green economy such as utilizing agricultural waste to create jobs and strengthen livelihoods of communities.


Kenya: Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods in Kakuma Refugee Camp

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2022

The Horn of Africa is marked by large numbers of displaced people[1] of whom almost 189’000 are living in Kakuma, Northern Kenya. The project Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods contributes to enhanced capacities and economic opportunities, self-esteem, dignity and empowerment for refugees and host community through the provision of technical, life and basic skills training to youth. This provides them with improved opportunities for socio economic integration.

 

[1] IDPs and refugees

 

 


Support to Aid Management and Coordination in Somalia

01.09.2019 - 31.12.2020

The project will support capacity development of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in the fields of Aid Coordination and Aid Effectiveness. This will contribute to the international community’s commitment to support the implementation of the New Partnership for Somalia (NPS) and National Development Plan (NDP) through strengthening national capacities for effective aid management and coordination.


Switzerland Co-Chair GPEDC

01.09.2019 - 31.12.2021

In 2019, Switzerland was elected Co-Chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). The GPEDC has an important role in supporting the implementation of the Agenda 2030 at the country level by supporting effective partnerships. Through the GPEDC, Switzerland will advance the Agenda 2030 incl. «leave no one behind», deepen dialogue and engagement with Southern providers, incl. China, contribute to «data for development» and SDG data and support the review of the Global Monitoring Framework for the commitments to development effectiveness.


ELECT – Elections libres et crédibles en Tunisie

15.08.2019 - 30.06.2020

The project supports the orderly conduct of the 2019 Electoral process in Tunisia (legislative and presidential elections). It aims at ensuring International and African observation missions and enabling local NGOs to co-lead the process. This short term project completes and facilitates Switzerland’s support to democratic processes in the field of accountability and citizen participation since 2011.


Understanding and Managing internal migration in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar city suburban distrct view

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

This project aims to contribute to improved management of internal migration in Mongolia - the main driving force behind rapid urbanization which poses increasing development challenges to the capital city Ulaanbaatar and rural areas of origin. Consistent integration of the migration perspective into planning and implementation of policies and actions will mitigate negative consequences of unmanaged migration and thus contribute to poverty reduction. Switzerland will add value to the project through its long-standing expertise in the migration field.


Vocational training and employment support services (VTESS)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

The Vocational Training and Employment Support Services (VTESS) Project supports the government of Laos in institutionalizing a national inclusive system for the integration of early school leavers into technical training courses and further education. In the current phase, 3000 disadvantaged young men and women will benefit from improved, labour market relevant training courses. At the same time, the establishment of employment support services to help graduates find employment or self-employment will be piloted. 


Support for cooperative management in the agricultural sector in Cuba (APOCOOP)

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2022

APOCOOP contributes to food security in 17 municipalities by improving the management of agricultural cooperatives, strengthening tools and enhancing the capacities and conditions of cooperative members and other actors. It promotes models of inter-cooperation between agricultural cooperatives, with gender equity, resilience and economic, social and environmental sustainability, and to socialize results and methods in spaces of influence on land policies in Cuba.


Sustainable Livelihoods and Social Development (SLSD)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

Widespread poverty, weak institutions, and scarce public services characterize the environment in the South East of Afghanistan. The project aims to improve the livelihood and resilience of resource-poor and smallholder farmers in the provinces of Paktia and Khost, through improvement of agricultural production, natural resource management, market linkages and through strengthening agricultural service delivery. The project covers a region, which has been deprived of other donor support.


Local Governance Initiative and Network Asia (LOGIN)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

The Local Governance Initiative and Network (LOGIN) is a unique, member-driven south-south learning community and change coalition of local and national governments and enabling organizations. The network is committed to advance democracy, decentralization and local governance reform in Asia. Initially conceived as a SDC project, LOGIN functions as independent association starting from 2019. LOGIN ultimately promotes peace and stability in Asia, which are key interests of Switzerland in the region.

Object 121 – 132 of 894