The Hindu Kush region extends across Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are connected by the Hindu Kush mountain range. The SDC concluded its activities in Pakistan at the end of 2019 . Its assistance mainly covers water use and the strengthening of state structures and human rights. In Afghanistan, Switzerland works to promote the rule of law and respect for human rights, agricultural development, sustainable resource management and basic education.

Map of the region Hindu Kush (Afghanistan, Pakistan)
© FDFA

Switzerland's activities in Afghanistan

The political situation in Pakistan has improved and stabilised markedly in recent years, however it is still volatile and the security situation requires particular attention. Weak rule of law, impunity, socio-economic inequalities, flows of refugees and internally displaced persons, frequent natural disasters as well as ethnic and religious tensions heighten instability, placing significant burdens on the local population.

Switzerland promotes the rule of law and good governance, respect for human rights and the improvement of living conditions for disadvantaged communities, particularly in rural areas.

The SDC works with a number of partners, including national, regional and local authorities, international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), other donor countries, and national and international NGOs.

End of 2019: SDC bilateral activities in Pakistan to close

The SDC has been active in Pakistan since 1966. In 2008, the Federal Council decided that Pakistan was no longer a priority country for bilateral development cooperation.

However, a reduced presence was maintained in the border region with Afghanistan to help counter the fragility in that area.  The SDC therefore focused on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in May 2018.

In 2016, the SDC decided to initiate a full cessation of operations in Pakistan by 2022.  Parliament decided in 2017 to reduce the international cooperation budget by CHF 150 million within the context of the 2017–19 stabilisation programme.  Because of this, activities implemented by the SDC's South Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid departments in Pakistan are to be brought to a close earlier than expected. All operations will cease at the end of 2019, followed by administrative and financial closure in mid-2020.

However, Swiss Humanitarian Aid may still take action in the event of a humanitarian crisis in Pakistan.

Responsible and efficient use of water resources

Water resources are coming under increasing pressure, jeopardising the already fragile social cohesion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  Switzerland assists Pakistan in its efforts to improve water management at a regional and local level.  The aim of these initiatives is to prevent conflicts over access to water (quality and quantity), enable more efficient use of water resources and mitigate the adverse effects of extreme hydrological events.

The SDC has the following specific objectives:

  • Improving access to drinking water
  • Establishing, developing and maintaining irrigation systems in agriculture
  • Sharing technical know-how on preventing and managing water-related disasters
  • Setting up water user associations

Water

Establishing structures at local level and promoting human rights

Switzerland is committed to building trust between citizens and the regional authorities.  In addition to basic services for everyone, Switzerland promotes democratic, transparent and accountable local governance, enhanced protection of human rights and political reforms.

The SDC has the following specific objectives:

  • Strengthening the rule of law
  • Reinforcing capacities in the fields of justice, police and mutual legal assistance systems
  • Introducing new dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Protecting internally displaced persons and Afghan refugees

Advocacy and good governance

Current projects

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Using stones and plants to reduce risks associated with natural hazards

People living in the Chail valley building stone walls on the steep slopes to protect themselves from landslides.

01.01.2013 - 31.10.2014

Swiss engineers help people living in the Chail valley put up protection measures to reduce natural hazards. Switzerland provides specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit while the World Food Programme makes it possible for the workers to be paid – which contributes to their means of subsistence.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Pakistan
Climate change and environment
Disaster risk reduction DRR

01.01.2013 - 31.10.2014


CHF 325'000



Nine thousand children go back to school

Pakstani schoolchildren seated in rows.

10.11.2012 - 31.12.2016

In 2010, Pakistan was devastated by terrible floods. After providing emergency aid to the people, Swiss Humanitarian Aid began to rebuild schools and sanitary facilities. In the first instance, several thousand schoolchildren have now returned to classes. In many cases, schools had to be rebuilt on new sites. This required a genuine relationship of trust between local communities and authorities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Pakistan
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Reconstruction and rehabilitation (till 2016)

10.11.2012 - 31.12.2016


CHF 3'670'000



Disability: Community Based Development Muzaffargarh, Pakistan

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2020

Die CBM fokussiert auf die ärmsten und schwächsten Bevölkerungsgruppen – getreu dem Grundsatz «Niemanden zurücklassen» (Leave no one behind) im Hinblick auf die Umsetzung der Agenda 2030. Deshalb spielt die CBM seit über dreissig Jahren eine wichtige Rolle bei der Inklusion von Menschen mit Behinderungen, namentlich von sehbehinderten und blinden Menschen. Die DEZA wird über die Abteilung Institutionelle Partnerschaften, die für das Thema «Disability» zuständig ist, einen Pilotbeitrag zur Verbesserung der Lebensbedingungen von Menschen mit Behinderungen leisten.


Pakistan NDRMF Consultant Disaster Risk Financing

01.09.2018 - 31.12.2019

While Pakistan faces significant disaster risk and an increasing rate of occurrence of hazardous eventsi there is very limited understanding of instruments for Disaster Risk Financing (DRF), like insurance soveretgn risk transfer and preparedness for budget reallocations The DRF Consultant will assist the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) in disaster risk modelltng work including the formulation of a national DRF strategy for Pakistan and DRF instruments which can support Government's efforts to better manage the risks and their significant financial implications.


Improving Water Governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (WGKP)

01.12.2017 - 31.03.2020

Water governance and water resource management are a critical development challenge in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KP) since 18% of the KP population (corresponding to 5.4 million people) remain without access to safe drinking water. In line with the National Water Policy framework and capitalizing on SDC’s experience in the sector, the project aims at strengthening provincial water institutions to enhance water policy development and water service delivery to vulnerable communities in KP.



Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Educational facilities for the Internally Displaced and street children

10.12.2016 - 31.12.2019

The internally displaced youth living often as street children in the low-income neighbourhoods of the capital city Islamabad and are deprived from basic education and protection services. The Mashal school educates IDP children from all over the country with a majority from KP and FATA, offers them a protective space, advises / counsels them on cultural, social and legal issues and help them to register under the government system by that laying the basis for future livelihood possibilities.


Pakistan: ADB, National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF)

01.12.2016 - 30.11.2019

Pakistan faces significant disaster risk and lacks institutional capacity and finance to tackle it. The National Disaster Risk Management Fund will enhance resilience of vulnerable communities, especially in KP and FATA, to natural hazards and will strengthen institutional capacity of authorities to disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. This will reduce socio-economic vulnerability of the people to natural hazards and ultimately poverty.


Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2016

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2016

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.


Object 1 – 12 of 42