Priorities of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid

Reconstruction and rehabilitation of disaster-stricken areas is one of the three priority areas of intervention of Swiss Humanitarian Aid. © SDC

The Humanitarian Aid of SDC focuses on providing help on the ground and promoting respect for international law, with a particular emphasis on protecting civil populations, who are the most affected.

The Humanitarian Aid of SDC focuses on two main priorities:

  1. Emergency humanitarian assistance
    For Switzerland, emergency assistance means, in the first place, providing help in the field. The majority of the funding allocated to humanitarian aid is used to protect the most affected civilian populations – primarily refugees and internally displaced persons – and help them meet their most basic needs, e.g. providing emergency shelter, drinking water, sanitation facilities and medical supplies.
  2. Strengthening the legal framework for providing humanitarian aid
    In order to provide help in the field, it is essential to ensure that international humanitarian law and international humanitarian standards and principles are respected. When there is armed conflict, it is essential, if help is to reach the people who are in need, that the parties to the conflict allow international aid organisations access to the civilian population. The SDC is able to raise these concerns in bilateral and multilateral discussions.

Thematic priorities

The impact of the Humanitarian Aid of SDC is not limited to repairing infrastructure, re-establishing water supplies, or rebuilding hospitals. Switzerland acts on behalf of victims to defend their rights, giving particular attention to the rights of the most vulnerable groups: minorities, women, children, displaced persons and refugees. Disaster prevention is another fundamental concern of the Humanitarian Aid of SDC.

For the period from 2021 to 2024, the Humanitarian Aid of SDC will focus on the following priorities:

Geographical priorities

The geographic focus of the Humanitarian Aid of SDC is on the crisis points in the Middle East and in sub-Saharan Africa, where the population will most probably continue to be dependent on emergency assistance for years to come.

It is primarily active in the following 16 countries or priority zones of intervention:

At the same time, however, the Humanitarian Aid of SDC must remain flexible in order to be able to respond as new crises, conflicts or disasters arise.

Relief operations

Multilateral cooperation

In parallel to its bilateral interventions, Swiss Humanitarian Aid seeks close cooperation with international humanitarian organisations. These two modes of action are mutually reinforcing when the impact of field experience can be used to influence operations organised at the multilateral level.

The following three priorities determine Swiss Humanitarian Aid's international action:

  1. maintenance and strengthening of its partnership with the ICRC and the UN's humanitarian organisations
  2. active participation in decision-making processes to improve the effectiveness and good governance of humanitarian aid at the global level (Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, World Humanitarian Summit, International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, etc.)
  3. continual advocacy of international humanitarian law and its principles, in particular, concerning the protection of civilians during armed conflict.