Yemen

Conflicts in Yemen have had devastating impacts on people, leading to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The country is one of the priority zones of the Humanitarian Aid of SDC whose activities are primarily focused on water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the protection of civilians.

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, has experienced many natural and manmade disasters and is currently also facing famine. Because of population growth, massive displacement and poor water management, water scarcity is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Lack of access to fresh water is the biggest cause of malnutrition, morbidity and mortality in rural areas. The conflict that started in March 2015 has exacerbated the situation, leaving more than 24 million people in need.

Switzerland’s humanitarian assistance in Yemen focuses primarily on water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the protection of civilians. Support is also given in the field of food security.

Improved access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene

Yemen is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Poor management, protracted conflicts, massive displacements and insecurity have also contributed to water shortages. In the absence of state structures, arbitrary pumping of groundwater has increased and public water facilities have collapsed.

Switzerland’s humanitarian assistance not only addresses immediate needs but also works on the sustainable use of limited water resources. The SDC supports multilateral organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and international NGOs to improve access to clean water and sanitation facilities. If required, Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit specialists are deployed to the UN or the ICRC to transfer skills and knowhow on water management, prevention of water borne-diseases and sustainable use of water.

Water – a vital resource under threat

Protecting women, children and other vulnerable groups

People in Yemen suffer from the indiscriminate use of weapons that do not differentiate between civilians and combatants. Cluster munitions, drones and landmines have caused disproportionate loss of civilian life and property. Switzerland continues to call on all parties to comply with international humanitarian law.

The conflict has also aggravated existing gender inequalities in Yemen. Cases of sexual and gender-based violence are on the rise. Switzerland supports access to protection services for women, young people and internally displaced people, including shelter, counselling and health services.

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, reconstruction and protection

Approach and partners

Since the SDC’s Humanitarian Aid office in Sana’a was closed in December 2014 because of the country’s deteriorating security situation, its activities in Yemen have been coordinated from the head office in Bern. In addition, Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) specialists can be seconded to UN agencies or the ICRC if needed.

A significant proportion of SDC’s financial support also goes to multilateral partners such as the ICRC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The priorities of Swiss Humanitarian Aid for the period 2017–2021 are in line with the objectives of the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen.

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 16

Humanity & Inclusion: Integrated services for specific needs of the crisis-affected population in Yemen

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2025

HI provides comprehensive and tailored services to address the specific needs of individuals affected by the conflict and crisis in Yemen, with a view of enhancing independence, mental well-being, and preventing long-term disability. Special attention is given to vulnerable groups, including those with injuries and disabilities, women, children, internally displaced populations, and caregivers.


Geneva Call: From Rhetoric to Reality: Strengthening Protection of Conflict Affected Civilians in Yemen

01.05.2023 - 30.04.2026

The project aims at strengthening the respect of humanitarian norms and principles by armed actors, generating awareness, knowledge, policies and behaviour change to promote the protection of civilians. The project will build on earlier phase and strengthen dissemination of humanitarian norms, enhance the capacity of community-based organizations and networks to engage with armed actors and finally generate evidence-based studies to inform appropriate actions and advocacy.


Contribution to UNHCR Programme Budget 2023-2024 (earmarked)

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

UNHCR is one of Switzerland’s key multilateral partners due to its unique mandate by the General Assembly of United Nations to provide protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, refugee returnees, and stateless persons. The strategic direction 2022-26 concretise the overall mandate of UNHCR for the upcoming years. Contributing to these directions allows Switzerland to achieve in particular the human development goal defined in the Dispatch to Parliament on International Cooperation for 2021-24.


OCHA - Support to the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF) 2023-2024

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

The Yemen Humanitarian Fund provides a principled, flexible, timely, and coordinated response towards meeting the most critical and acute needs identified in the Humanitarian Response Plan through the provision of funding for international and national NGOs and UN entities. Switzerland’s multi-year contribution strengthens this instrument more generally and specifically supports its aims to prioritize the hard-to-reach areas, anticipatory action and increased localization of the response.


Institutional Strengthening Action Program of IGAD – ISAP IV

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2025

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is the sub-regional organization in the Horn of Africa. In line with Switzerland’s decision to increase its engagement with IGAD, the proposed contribution aims at reinforcing IGAD’s corporate performance, operational efficiency and building a coherent and collaborative engagement between IGAD and stakeholders for increased transparency and accountability. Hence contributing to greater stability and policy coherence in the Horn of Africa. 


DRC: Building resilience of Yemeni communities through integrated water resource management and provision of water supply, sanitation and hygiene services

01.12.2022 - 30.11.2025

Through the proposed intervention, the climate and conflict resilience of displacement-affected Yemeni in targeted locations will be reinforced through sustainable and community-led integrated water resource management (IWRM), sustainable water and sanitation systems, provision of multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) and improved technical and institutional capacity of local partners. 


RLP - Horn of Africa Regional Livestock Program

01.12.2022 - 31.12.2026

Pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa (HoA) rely on livestock as their main livelihood source. They face multiple pressures of climate change, degraded natural resources, and conflicts. The program will support historically underdeveloped pastoralist cross-border communities of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya to become more climate resilient and derive sustainable livelihoods from inclusive livestock market systems. The intervention takes a regional approach – linking production, markets, and policy.


Peace Support Facility – FSO Safer Salvage Operation - Yemen

14.11.2022 - 31.12.2024

An oil spill from the Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) tanker “Safer” could occur at any time, discharging up to 1’148’000 mio barrels of crude oil along Yemen’s Red Sea coastline and neighbouring countries, affecting the lives and livelihoods of up to 12 million people. Through this contribution, Switzerland supports the United Nations’ salvage operation to prevent an oil spill in the Red Sea and its potentially disastrous impacts on Yemen and the region. 


UNICEF: Strengthening Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism to prevent and respond to grave violations against children in Yemen

25.10.2022 - 24.10.2024

Accountability for grave child rights’ violations in Yemen will be strengthened through the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on Children and Armed Conflict. Support will be provided for the collection, analysis and reporting on grave violations against children and the use of evidence and data for advocacy. Additionally, implementation of the Action plans signed by two parties to the conflict will be supported. 


Financing Durable Solutions Programme for Forcibly Displaced People (FDSI)

01.10.2021 - 31.12.2025

Through an innovative approach, Switzerland will mobilize the private sector and municipalities to contribute to durable solutions for displacement-affected communities in the Horn of Africa. Forcibly displaced persons and their host communities will benefit from enhanced self-reliance and increased socioeconomic inclusion. The initiative operationalises the strategic link between migration policy and international cooperation and further strengthens Switzerland’s profile as a pioneer in the search for durable solutions.


Jigjiga One Health Initiative Phase 2 (JOHI2)

01.04.2021 - 31.03.2026

The Jijiga One Health Initiative aims to develop a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence on pastoralist health within the Jijiga University (Somali Region, Ethiopia). Community-based one-health research and pilot interventions, including contribution to COVID-19 prevention and response, as well as targeted policy influencing will contribute to improved health among pastoralist communities and reduce pressure for their displacement/migration, which is in the interest of Switzerland.  


Somalia - UN Joint Programme Saameynta: Scaling-up Solutions to Displacement (UNJPS)

01.11.2019 - 30.06.2025

Displacement contributes to Somalia’s rapid and unplanned urbanization. 2.6 million people are displaced with little prospects for durable solutions. Switzerland, in a whole of government approach and through a UN Joint Programme Saameynta (UNJPS) will contribute to durable solutions for displacement-affected communities by improving their protection environment, socio-economic inclusiveness, self-reliance and fit-for-purpose land governance, thus leading to sustainable (re)integration.

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