The conference, held on Monday and Tuesday in the Norwegian capital under the auspices of the UN, has brought together a number of donor countries including Switzerland. The political crisis facing South Sudan in recent months has forced more than a million people to flee their homes, with 300,000 refugees currently registered in neighbouring countries. South Sudan is also facing a growing threat of food insecurity, which could lead to localised famine conditions in the most remote areas of the country. In total, more than 4.9 million people – nearly half the population of South Sudan – are currently dependent on humanitarian aid.
In view of the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the country, Switzerland has been working since the conflict began to help the people who have been displaced. To this end, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) committed more than CHF 13 million at the beginning of the year to help those in need. At the donor country conference in Oslo, Switzerland announced that it will provide an additional CHF 4.5 million, bringing its total financial commitment for humanitarian aid in South Sudan in 2014 to CHF 18 million. This sum will be used in particular to support the operations of multilateral organisations (ICRC, WFP, UNHCR) and NGOs (MSF, Medair) working in the field. Over the last six months, five technical experts have also been seconded by the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) to UN agencies active in the region. The SDC is at the same time continuing the projects it launched in 2011-2012 in the areas of food security and access to water.
Switzerland's general financial contributions to a number of international organisations are in addition to the support it provides specifically to South Sudan. The Human Security Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) complements Switzerland's humanitarian commitment by actively supporting the peace negotiations being carried out under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa. Lastly, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) has seconded several staff officers as well as humanitarian demining specialists to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).
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