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 889 – 900 of 1059

Sustainable Tourism for SDGs Program

10.12.2019 - 30.04.2022

The Program promotes sustainable tourism practices. Through better informed tourism stakeholders and more certified businesses, the contribution of the tourism sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be increased. Tourism has the potential to contribute, directly or indirectly to all of the SDGs.


Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, Phase II

01.12.2019 - 31.03.2024

Phase II of SECO?s support to the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) will focus on capacity development to sustainably plan, implement and operate hydropower plants in four selected priority countries (Albania, Colombia, Indonesia, Tajikistan) and on the co-financing of sustainability assessments in all SECO priority countries.


Energy Efficiency in Municipalities

01.12.2019 - 30.04.2025

SECO supports a project managed by the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) aiming at establishing basic municipal energy management and energy planning in smaller Ukrainian cities. These measures improve the energy efficiency and thereby contribute to climate change mitigation in the project cities.


Integrated Urban Development Ukraine II

01.11.2019 - 30.09.2023

SECO supports a project managed by the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) aiming at improving the conditions for implementing integrated urban development on national level and at preparing eight cities to the application of integrated urban development concepts in line with European good practice.


UNDP Strenghtening SMEs Business Membership Organisations in Ukraine Phase II

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2023

The project aims to enhance growth and competitiveness of SMEs and strengthen their voice in Ukraine. The project Strengthening SMEs Business Membership Organization Phase II is the continuation of the previous phase implemented in Ukraine between 2015-2018. The project is implemented by UNDP.


IFC: Financial Inclusion for Growth Ukraine

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2023

The Financial Inclusion for Growth Ukraine Project aims to improve access and responsible usage of financial services by the population and SMEs in remote areas and strive for a better financial inclusion (FI) in the country. The project is implemented by the International Finance Corporation.


Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP) - Phase II

01.11.2019 - 30.06.2023

The GWSP is a leading global "think tank" of the World Bank to address the water and sanitation challenge in an integrated manner, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. GWSP advances innovative global knowledge production and exchange as well as builds capacity through country-level support across regions.


Naryn Wastewater Rehabilitation Project - Phase II

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2023

The Naryn Wastewater Rehabilitation Project will support the city of Naryn and the municipal water company in providing a climate change resilient, reliable and sustainable access to sanitation for the city?s 39?000 inhabitants.


Market Access of Products of Terroir - Tunisia, Phase II

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2024

Improving the valorization of typical origin-based Tunisian products through a value chain approach is key to increase overall market access and employment opportunities. UNIDO and the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) will consolidate and upscale the approach and results of the previous SECO project.


Water Sector Performance and Investment Programme (WPIP)

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2026

WPIP aims for service improvement in the water supply and sewerage sector for up to 50% of Albania?s urban population. It combines infrastructure investments with comprehensive corporate development support to water utilities, strengthens the water sector framework and implements storm water reduction and integrity management measures.


EGPS Umbrella Trust Fund 2019-2025

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2025

The Extractive Global Programmatic Support umbrella trust fund aims to improve the ability and capacity of current and emerging resource-dependent developing countries in using their oil, gas and mineral resources transparently for poverty alleviation, economic diversification, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.


Technopark Serbia 2 - boosting exports through technoparks

01.09.2019 - 31.12.2023

The overall objective of the project is to increase the competitiveness of the Serbian high-tech industry by developing a scalable model for Science Technology Parks (STP) in Serbia and implementing it in Ni? and Èaèak, thus contributing to increased revenues and exports from high-tech companies and job creation.

Object 889 – 900 of 1059