Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA

International cooperation: the FDFA is mitigating the impact of COVID-19 around the world

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are particularly severe in developing countries. The FDFA has taken immediate action to mitigate the economic and health effects of the crisis there. It is providing emergency humanitarian aid, supporting international action, and focusing on the management of COVID-19 in ongoing bilateral and global development programs. Furthermore, Switzerland also provides assistance in the area of peace policy.

SDC and HSD projects in various countries: the SDC and the HSD have adjusted various ongoing bilateral projects and programmes and also initiated efforts in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic (Karte, Zoom mit Doppelklick). The FDFA is also involved in internationally active organisations and undertakes work at regional level. © FDFA

The coronavirus pandemic is not only a health crisis. It is also an economic crisis and will develop into a financial and social crisis. The consequences are particularly serious for developing countries. Many people there have already lost their jobs. Without jobs, social networks and savings, their livelihoods are quickly threatened and poverty, instability and migration are likely to increase.

The FDFA's response is aimed at taking effective measures to counter the health, economic and social consequences of the pandemic in developing countries. This is also in line with the thrust of the 2021-2024 international cooperation strategy, which is designed to be flexible and allows for a targeted response to needs.

The FDFA has adapted ongoing projects and programmes within the framework of existing budgets and are supporting organizations and institutions in the fight against the pandemic. Communicable diseases and their consequences do not stop at borders, and it is therefore important for Switzerland's security to counter global health risks across borders and to strengthen the health and economic systems in developing countries. With its open and globalised economy, Switzerland is dependent on a stable international order. The following examples and tables provide an overview of the FDFA’s measures.

Africa

COVID-19 poses major problems for many African countries. The pandemic is not only an additional challenge in terms of health, but also in terms of the economy, food safety and security. In many countries, the authorities have therefore taken restrictive measures ranging from travel bans to school closures. However, African health systems are fragile and the economic consequences of a "lockdown" for the population are severe. After all, work is often not registered by the state.

To reduce the collateral damage of the pandemic in Africa and prevent millions of people from falling back into extreme poverty, the FDFA is implementing various medium and long-term measures. If these measures improve prospects on location, they will also reduce the pressure of migration.  

Support for Africa

Country

Swiss Contribution

Action in the field of:

FDFA Unit

Algeria

CHF 200,000 (SDC)

- Crisis prevention
- Food security

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Benin

CHF 4,279,360 (SDC)

- Governance
- Education
- Food security
- Crisis prevention
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Burkina Faso

CHF 4,463,900 (SDC)

- Governance
- Health
- Food security
- Crisis prevention
- Protection

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Burundi

CHF 2,329,880 (SDC)

- Health

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Cameroon

CHF 757,990 (SDC)
CHF 50,000 (HSD)

- Health
- Protection
- Human security

- Humanitarian Aid
- Human Security Division

Central African Republic

CHF 1’000’000 (SDC)

- Other

- Humanitarian Aid

Chad

CHF 4,137,845 (SDC)

- Health
- Food security
- Education/Vocational training
- Crisis prevention
- Water

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Congo (Dem. Rep.)

CHF 33,842,530 (SDC)

- Health
- Water
- Protection
- Employment and economic development

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Côte d'Ivoire

CHF 45,000 (HSD)

- Human security

- Human Security Division

Egypt

CHF 1,245,750 (SDC)

- Health
- Migration
- Employment and economic development

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Ethiopia

CHF 1,495,570 (SDC)

- Health
- Education
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Kenia

CHF 428,410 (SDC)

- Health
- Food security

- Development Cooperation

Libya

CHF 1,215,500 (SDC)
CHF 71,848 (HSD)

- Protection
- Peace policy
- Foreign policy on migration

- Humanitarian Aid
- Human Security Division

Madagascar

CHF 100,920 (SDC)
CHF 15'800 (HSD)

- Health
- Human rights policy
- Corruption

- Humanitarian Aid
- Human Security Division

Mali

CHF 7,095,920 (SDC)

- Food security
- Health
- Protection
- Other

- Humanitarian Aid
- Development Cooperation

Morocco

CHF 621,850 (SDC)

- Health
- Protection
- Other

- Humanitarian Aid
- Development Cooperation

Mozambique

CHF 4,471,970 (SDC)

- Health
- Employment and economic development
- Education/Vocational training
- Governance
 

- Development Cooperation

Niger

CHF 6,098,030 (SDC)

- Governance
- Food security
- Crisis prevention
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Nigeria

CHF 1,509,270 (SDC)
CHF 83,500 (HSD)

- Health
- Protection
- Sexual & gender-based violence
- Other
- Human rights
- Prevention of social tensions

- Humanitarian Aid
- Human Security Division

Rwanda

CHF 1,500,000 (SDC)

- Health

- Development Cooperation

Somalia

CHF 2,140,750 (SDC)

- Health
- Protection
- Governance

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

South Sudan

CHF 1,836,150 (SDC)
CHF 49,689 (HSD)

- Food security
- Water
- Media & freedom of information
- Migration
- Civil society

- Humanitarian Aid
- Human Security Division

Sudan

CHF 168’000 (SDC)

- Health
- Food security

- Humanitarian Aid

Tanzania

CHF 4,150,000 (SDC)

- Health
- Gender equality
- Employment and economic development

- Development Cooperation

Tunisia

CHF 1,612,400 (SDC)
EUR 40,971 (HSD)

- Health
- Governance
- Protection
- Human rights policy

- Development Cooperation
- Human Security Division

Zimbabwe

CHF 6,183,170 (SDC)
USD 50,000 (HSD)

- Health
- Crisis prevention
- Food security
- Human rights policy
- Human security

- Development Cooperation
- Human Security Division

 

 

 

 

Asia

In addition to the general population, migrant workers are particularly affected by the border closures and lockdowns in South and Southeast Asia.

Thousands have lost their jobs and are often stranded in transit and destination countries. The FDFA has adapted its commitment in the area of migration accordingly and implemented emergency aid measures. For example, various partners of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) provide migrants with food, water, hygiene articles and protective material, offer medical and psychosocial assistance, and help them to maintain contact with their families.

Consideration is also being given to medium-term strategies for reintegrating them into the economy. For not only do labour migrants risk slipping into extreme poverty without a social insurance network. But their remittances to their families, if they fail to be sent, put their home countries under further pressure. In some countries remittances account for up to a third of the gross domestic product.

Without these financial resources, combating COVID-19 in the Asian region will be even more difficult. Not only is unemployment rising there, pushing millions of people back into poverty. Many people also have no access to basic needs, such as food. In addition, there is often a lack of medical infrastructure, and in many densely populated areas "social distancing" is not possible.

Support for Asia

 

Country

Swiss Contribution

Action in the field of:

FDFA Unit

 

Afghanistan

CHF 4,700,000 (SDC)

- Food security
- Education/Vocational training
- Protection
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

 

Bangladesh

CHF 7,772,510 (SDC)

- Governance
- Disaster risk reduction
- Food security
- Education
- Health
- Migration
- Crisis prevention
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

 

Bhutan

CHF 246,800 (SDC)

- Education/Vocational training
- Health

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

 

Cambodia

CHF 359,000 (SDC)

- Health

- Development Cooperation

 

China

CHF 1,100,000 (SDC) 

- Health
- Education/Vocational training
- Other

- Humanitarian Aid
- Development Cooperation

 

India

CHF 395,500 (SDC)

- Employment and economic development
- Environment

- Humanitarian Aid
- Global Cooperation

 

Korea (DPRK)

CHF 220,000 (SDC)

- Protection
- Other

- Humanitarian Aid

 

Lao People's Democratic Republic

CHF 1,624,880  (SDC)

- Health
- Food security
- Governance
- Crisis prevention

- Development Cooperation
- Global Cooperation

 

Mongolia

CHF 152’000 (SDC)

- Governance

- Development Cooperation

 

Myanmar

CHF 10,800,810(SDC)

- Employment and economic development
- Health
- Food security
- Peace and protection
- Water
- Governance
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

 

Nepal

CHF 10,485,000 (SDC)

- Health
- Employment and economic development
- Migration
- Governance
- Gender equality
- Protection
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

 

Pakistan

CHF 720,000 (SDC)

- Disaster Risk Reduction
- Water
-Governance

- Humanitarian Aid
- Development Cooperation

 

Sri Lanka

CHF 100,000 (SDC)

- Migration

- Global Cooperation

 

Thailand

CHF 16,700 (HSD)

- Human rights policy

- Human Security Division

 

 

 

 

 

Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia

The COVID-19 crisis is having a profound impact on all the countries of Eastern Europe, hitting economies hard and raising poverty levels. High unemployment rates in the Balkans, especially among young people, are expected to increase. Minorities, such as the Roma, are particularly badly hit by the pandemic. In Ukraine, Moldova, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, many communities are reliant on direct aid. Because of the crisis in Europe and Russia, around one million migrant workers have returned to their home countries, or are stranded without work. Remittance levels, which account for up to 40% of GDP in certain countries, are declining sharply. The crisis may also stoke social tensions.

Switzerland is committed to strengthening community structures, promoting economic development and improving access to healthcare and water in priority countries. This work will become even more important in strengthening the resilience of communities. Digital technologies provide opportunities for developing solutions for public services, healthcare systems and education.

Support for Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia

Country

Swiss Contribution

Action in the field of:

FDFA Unit

Albania

CHF 839,660 (SDC)

- Health
- Governance
- Education/Vocational training

- Development Cooperation

Armenia

CHF 941,250 (SDC)

- Governance
- Health
- Other

- Development Cooperation

Azerbaijan

CHF 16,700 (SDC)

- Health

- Development Cooperation

Bosnia and Herzegovina

CHF 1,520,760 (SDC)

- Governance
- Health
- Crisis prevention
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Georgia

CHF 1,874,740 (SDC)
USD 51,640 (HSD)

- Water
- Education/Vocational training
- Health
- Decentralisation
- Civil society

- Development Cooperation
- Human Security Division

Greece

CHF 1,970,770 (SDC)

- Migration
- Protection

- Humanitarian Aid

Italy

CHF 500,000 (SDC)

- Health

- Humanitarian Aid

Kosovo

CHF 970,300 (SDC)

- Health
- Governance
- Employment and economic development
- Other

- Development Cooperation

Kyrgyzstan

CHF 1,593,470 (SDC)

- Health
- Governance
- Food security
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Moldova

CHF 1,525,620 (SDC)

- Health
- Governance
- Education/Vocational training
- Other

- Development Cooperation

North Macedonia

CHF 281,200 (SDC)

- Governance
- Employment and economic development

- Development Cooperation

San Marino

CHF 40,000 (SDC)

- Health

- Humanitarian Aid

Serbia

CHF 1,091,000 (SDC)

- Migration
- Health
- Education/Vocational training

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Tajikistan

CHF 3,357,0503 (SDC)

- Health
- Food security
- Water
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Ukraine

CHF 7,844,830 (SDC)

- Water
- Health
- Governance
- Education/Vocational training
- Crisis prevention

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Uzbekistan

CHF 350,000 (SDC)

- Health
- Education/Vocational training

- Development Cooperation

 

 

 

 

The Middle East

In countries torn by years of conflict, upholding human rights, peacebuilding and security are difficult to maintain even in normal circumstances.  This is certainly the case with Syria. According to UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, Syria is at serious risk of being unable to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last decade, almost half of the population has been displaced, around 11 million people rely on humanitarian aid and the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse following 10 years of war. The FDFA is involved in a project to raise awareness of the consequences of COVID-19 for the Syrian population. Although Syria is deeply divided because of the conflict, the FDFA is working to promote cooperation between the various factions to help them cope with the pandemic.

Support for the Near and Middle East

Country

Swiss Contribution

Action in the field of:

FDFA Unit

Iraq

CHF 2,390,000 (SDC)

- Water
- Sexual & gender-based violence
- Protection
- Other

- Humanitarian Aid

Iran

CHF 200,000 (SDC)

- Other

- Humanitarian Aid

Israel

CHF 300,000 (SDC)

USD 50,000 (HSD)

- Protection
- Foreign policy on migration

- Humanitarian Aid
- Human Security Division

Jordan

CHF 5,828,720 (SDC)

- Water
- Health
- Sexual & gender-based violence
- Employment and economic development
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Lebanon

CHF 2,303,700 (SDC)

CHF 50,000 (HSD)

- Protection
- Disaster Risk Reduction
- Migration
- Health
- Water
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Global Cooperation
- Human Security Division

Occupied Palestinian Territory

CHF 6,014,000 (SDC)

CHF 50,000 (HSD)  

- Governance
- Protection
- Disaster Risk Reduction
- Food security
- Employment and economic development
- Reaction to tensions due to COVID-19
- Other

- Development Cooperation

- Humanitarian Aid

Syria

CHF 5,723,450 (SDC)

CHF 100,000 (HSD)

- Protection
- Sexual & gender-based violence
- Health
- Peace policy
- Education
- Water
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid
- Human Security Division

Yemen

CHF 2,440,470 (SDC)

- Water

- Humanitarian Aid

 

 

 

 

Latin America and the Caribbean

According to official statistics, COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of more than 20,000 people in Latin America and the Caribbean (as at 11 May). To protect public health, the majority of countries have imposed border closures and quarantine measures which are still in effect. The crisis has grave consequences for the economy and society. International organisations estimate that the region's economy is set to decline by approximately 5% this year, causing millions of people to slide from the ranks of the middle class back into poverty.

Support for Latin America

Country

Swiss Contribution

Action in the field of:

FDFA Unit

Bolivia

CHF 3,380,790 (SDC)

- Crisis prevention
- Water
- Employment and economic development
- Education/Vocational training
- Food security
- Health
- Governance
- Environmental policy
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Brazil CHF 215,370 (SDC) - Water - Humanitarian Aid

Colombia

CHF 1,093,000 (SDC)

- Water
- Food security
- Protection

- Humanitarian Aid

Cuba

CHF 3,086,000 (SDC)

- Employment and economic development
- Food security
- Gender equality
- Health
- Governance

- Development Cooperation

Ecuador

CHF 180,000 (SDC)

- Protection
- Other

- Humanitarian Aid

Haiti

CHF 3,315,140 (SDC)

- Disaster risk reduction
- Protection
- Governance
- Employment and economic development
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Honduras

CHF 2,667,820 (SDC)

- Food security
- Employment and economic development
- Environmental policy
- Governance
- Water
- Education/Vocational training
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Nicaragua

CHF 4,784,000 (SDC)

- Food security
- Environmental policy
- Employment and economic development
- Protection
- Water
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Peru

CHF 550,000 (SDC)

- Health
- Water 

- Humanitarian Aid

Venezuela

CHF 2,550,000 (SDC)

- Food security
- Health
- Other

- Humanitarian Aid

 

 

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis calls for global and regional responses

The global challenges posed by the pandemic require global responses. The SDC is working to achieve this with multilateral partner organisations, such as the UN, and financial institutions, such as the World Bank. Its involvement allows UN and World Bank projects to draw on Swiss expertise amongst others in public health. Furthermore, Switzerland always insists that projects are planned in close cooperation with international organisations, thus avoiding duplication of efforts and ensuring that international support has maximum impact.

Global cooperation enables the SDC to support, for example, the Geneva-based Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND). FIND is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) on delivering training and technical assistance to ensure that people in developing countries have access to accurate and high-quality testing for the virus that causes COVID-19.

This enables Switzerland to indirectly support low and middle-income countries in their fight against the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19. Through its regional programmes, the SDC is also influencing the prevention and containment of the pandemic. After all, working across national borders is an important factor in view of the spread of the new coronavirus.

SDC support for internationally active organisations

Organisation

Swiss Contribution

Action in the field of:

FDFA Unit

UNDP

CHF 21,000,000 (SDC)

Governance

- Global Cooperation

Terre des Hommes

CHF 748’400 (SDC)

Crisis prevention

- Development Cooperation

EDM

CHF 593,660 (SDC)

Education/Vocational training

 

- Development Cooperation

ICRC, Loan – Program contributions

CHF 203,000,000 (SDC)

Health
Protection

- Humanitarian Aid

IFRC Emergency Appeal Coronavirus

CHF 5,000,000 (SDC)

Health

- Humanitarian Aid

UNOCHA – Humanitarian Response Plan

CHF  18,000,000 (SDC)

Health

- Development Cooperation

- Humanitarian Aid

GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance

CHF 30,000,000 (SDC)

Health

- Global Cooperation

WFP

CHF 2’650’000 (SDC)

Food security

- Humanitarian Aid

WHO

CHF 3,330,420 (SDC)

Health

- Global Cooperation

UNAIDS

CHF 1,100,000 (SDC)

Health

- Global Cooperation

UNFPA

CHF 2,080,000 (SDC)

Health

- Global Cooperation

UNGC

CHF 450,000 (SDC)

Employment and economic development

- Global Cooperation

UNHCR (refugees)

CHF 1,500,000 (SDC)

Other

- Humanitarian Aid

UNICEF

CHF 2,051,300 (SDC)

Education/Vocational training
Water
Other

- Global Cooperation

- Humanitarian Aid

- Development Cooperation

UN Women

CHF  3,600,000 (SDC)

Gender equality

- Global Cooperation

UNCDF

CHF 1,087,800 (SDC)

Migration
Governance

- Global Cooperation

Médecins du Monde

CHF 469,900 (SDC)

Health

- Development Cooperation

Médecins sans frontières

CHF 3,000,000 (SDC)

Health

- Development Cooperation

Caritas

CHF 600,000 (SDC)

Water

- Development Cooperation

Fondation Hirondelle

CHF 750,000 (SDC)

Governance

- Development Cooperation

IFAD

CHF 1,325,000 (SDC)

Food security

- Global Cooperation

ILO

CHF 1'841'000 (SDC)

Migration

- Global Cooperation

IOM

CHF 200,000 (SDC)

Migration

- Global Cooperation

OECD

CHF 86’500 (SDC)

Other

- Development Cooperation

SHA

CHF 25,000 (SDC)

Other

- Humanitarian Aid

World Bank

CHF 9,500,000 (SDC)

Education
Environmental policy

- Development Cooperation

- Global Cooperation

Others

CHF 30,690,140 (SDC)

Migration
Health
Governance
Gender equality
Sexual & gender-based violence

- Development Cooperation

- Global Cooperation

- Humanitarian Aid

 

 

 

 

Fight against COVID-19 through SDC regional programs

Geographical Focus

Swiss Contribution

Action in the field of:

FDFA Unit

Africa

CHF 164,000 (SDC)

- Migration

- Development Cooperation

Central America

CHF 1,079,000 (SDC)

- Disaster Risk Reduction
- Food security
- Protection
- Water
- Governance
- Environment
- Employment and economic development

- Humanitarian Aid
- Development Cooperation

Central Asia

CHF 1,040,000  (SDC)

- Governance
- Migration

- Development Cooperation
- Global Cooperation

Great Lakes

CHF 8,000,000 (SDC)

- Employment and economic development
- Health

- Development Cooperation

Latin America

CHF 2,634,000 (SDC)

- Food security
- Water
- Employment and economic development
- Other

- Development Cooperation
- Humanitarian Aid

Mekong

CHF 5,300,000 (SDC)

- Employment and economic development
- Health

- Development Cooperation

Middle East / North Africa

CHF 693,940 (SDC)

- Migration

- Global Cooperation

South Asia

CHF 280’000 (SDC)

- Migration

- Global Cooperation

West Africa

CHF 3,344,340 (SDC)

- Food security
- Migration

- Development Cooperation
- Global Cooperation

Western Balkans

CHF 515,990 (SDC)

- Education/Vocational training

- Development Cooperation

 

 

 

 

Peace, security and human rights in the digital domain and at regional level

Alongside its initiatives on the ground, the FDFA via the Human Security Division (HSD) also supports peace and security projects at regional level and in the digital domain. The HSD is working with the Arab Institute for Human Rights, for example, which is drawing on its advocacy expertise to conduct an information campaign on social media with a view to ensuring that national strategies for tackling COVID-19 include migrants and refugees more effectively. The purpose of the measures is to facilitate access to clear and reliable information and create a narrative of solidarity, inclusion and non-discrimination.

Digital and regional projects in the fields of peace, security and human rights

Project

HSD Contribution

Enabling mobile network operators to produce mobility indicators to support the COVID-19 response.

CHF 48,605

Re-purposed Massive Online Open Course: Responding to front line support needs and addressing challenges in child protection and case management.

CHF 49,036

Impact of COVID-19 on hard-to-reach refugees and migrants on the move

CHF 49,434

COVID-19 Rumour Tracking and Management System for Africa.

CHF 50,000

Protecting democratic norms in the time of COVID-19

CHF 21,100

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Deadly Conflict

USD 35’000

 

 

The figures in this article are taken from international cooperation projects undertaken by the FDFA which may be effective in helping Switzerland's priority and partner countries tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The funds indicated are from current budgets, including budgets for ongoing projects that have been adjusted in line with new requirements. The total funding amounts are therefore greater than the figures previously indicated for specific international cooperation activities by Switzerland in response to the COVID 19 crisis.

An illustration of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, surrounded by icons representing human rights policy, peace policy, humanitarian policy and migration foreign policy.
When we think of COVID-19, we immediately see overcrowded intensive care units with humming ventilators. So what do peace and human rights have to do with the coronavirus? Quite a bit, if you take a look behind the scenes at the FDFA's Human Security Division (HSD). As part of Switzerland's international cooperation activities, the HSD took quick, effective action to tackle head-on the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things by providing CHF 1 million in rapid response funding.
Am 31. März 2020 schickte die Schweiz Atemschutzmasken, Brillen und Schutzanzüge nach Moldova, um das Gesundheitspersonal an vorderster Front bei der Bekämpfung von Covid-19 zu schützen.
The coronavirus is also spreading in developing countries, and the impact on them is especially severe. In the spirit of solidarity, Switzerland is responding quickly and effectively to the latest challenges through its international cooperation. It has already taken measures in a number of countries to alleviate the economic and social effects of the pandemic and has so far contributed CHF 101.42 million to the global response to COVID-19. On 29 April 2020, the Federal Council has decided that Switzerland will provide CHF 400 million to support international relief efforts in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in developing countries.
Back to top