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

SDC Humanitarian Aid focuses on providing assistance on the ground and promoting respect for international law, with a particular emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable civilian populations. It also carries out humanitarian relief operations, prevention and disaster risk reduction, and reconstruction and rehabilitation.

For Switzerland, emergency relief is primarily about getting help to where it is needed on the ground. The majority of humanitarian funds go towards protecting the civilian populations most in need – especially refugees and internally displaced persons – and meeting their basic needs, such as emergency shelter, drinking water, sanitary facilities and medical supplies.

Humanitarian aid operations on the ground go hand in hand with respect for international humanitarian law, international norms and the humanitarian principles. For international aid to reach suffering civilian populations, the parties to an armed conflict must allow humanitarian access. The SDC uses bilateral and multilateral dialogue to advocate for such access.

Geographical priorities

SDC Humanitarian Aid has a global mandate to provide aid where it is needed. However, its primary geographical focus is on the crisis points in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, where people will most probably continue to depend on emergency aid for years to come. At the same time, SDC Humanitarian Aid must remain flexible to be able to respond as new crises, conflicts or disasters arise. Examples of relief operations.

SDC Humanitarian Aid is mainly active in 16 priority countries and areas:

To ensure well-coordinated operations, SDC Humanitarian Aid works with other FDFA units (e.g. the Peace and Human Rights Division) and various federal agencies (e.g. the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport – DDPS).

Multilateral cooperation

In parallel to its bilateral interventions, SDC 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.