Sudan and Eritrea

Sudan has been the theatre of a series of humanitarian operations for several decades. The SDC's main goal in Sudan is to save lives and protect the victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters. It is involved in the fields of food security and agriculture, emergency aid and the protection of civilians.

Crisis in Sudan

Owing to the security situation, the Swiss embassy in Karthoum has been temporarily closed since Sunday, April 23, 2023. Transferable staff have been evacuated. Switzerland continues to provide humanitarian aid in Sudan and neighboring countries through its partners, in particular the ICRC, WFP, UNHCR and the Humanitarian Fund for Sudan, managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations (OCHA).

For further information:

Map of Sudan
© FDFA

The power struggles and violence that have beset Sudan in recent decades have exacerbated the poverty and vulnerability of Sudan's civilian populations.

Switzerland's activities on the ground are primarily focused on humanitarian aid. The SDC's projects are part of an integrated cooperation strategy that encompasses the activities of the FDFA's Directorate of Political Affairs and the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Food security and agriculture

Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable populations

In the regions of Darfur, South Kordofan/Abyei, Blue Nile and in the east of the country, civilians regularly face the risk of food insecurity owing to the ongoing conflicts and the forced population movements caused by them. The droughts triggered by erratic rainfall and overgrazing increase the vulnerability of communities.

The SDC supports the food and seed distribution activities of the World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN agencies. It also supports livestock vaccination projects, especially those of the ICRC, as livestock farming is an important means of livelihood for a large number of Sudanese families.

Agriculture and food security

Emergency aid  

Access to basic services

The inter-communal violence in Darfur which has been ongoing since 2003 and the conflicts that have broken out in the south of the country since 2011 have led to the displacement of thousands of people. They have very limited access to drinking water, well-functioning infrastructure and health care. The situation of people in the rest of the country is hardly better. The SDC is working to ensure a better provision of basic services backed by all levels of government in Sudan, starting with local authorities and communities.

The SDC also seconds experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to its UN partners.  

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief and reconstruction

Humanitarian access and protection

Protecting internally displaced persons and refugees

Protecting civilians in the context of armed conflict is one of Switzerland's priorities in Sudan. The violence in Darfur and in the provinces of South Kordofan/Abyei and Blue Nile has forced thousands of people to flee their homes. The tensions have had a direct impact on individuals' well-being. War has traumatic after effects, particularly on children. Switzerland is working to ensure that all parties comply with international humanitarian law. In partnership with the ICRC and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) it calls on government authorities and armed groups to protect victims and allow humanitarian aid organisations access to them.

Lastly, Switzerland provides support to refugees and migrants in the Horn of Africa region. A joint effort by the SEM and the SDC covers their basic needs, and also provides support to the communities that host them.

Fragility and violence impede poverty reduction

History of cooperation

Two decades of humanitarian aid

Swiss Humanitarian Aid has been active in Sudan since 1994. Before and after the peace accords were signed in 2005 between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, efforts focused on the Nuba Mountains region in the centre and south of the country. From 2003, the consequences of the war in Darfur were added to the SDC's priorities. Half the aid has gone to emergency aid and half to rehabilitation projects. In 2004 and again in 2006, offices were opened in Khartoum and Juba to coordinate the activities of Swiss Humanitarian Aid and other Swiss actors. When Sudan was divided into two independent states in 2011, the SDC doubled the budget it had previously allocated to the former Sudan.

Switzerland's engagement in Eritrea

Eritrea is not a priority country for Swiss bilateral development cooperation. After withdrawing in 2006, the SDC resumed cooperation with Eritrea on the basis of a Federal Council mandate in 2016. Following a feasibility study, it co-financed three pilot projects at the end of 2017, which were evaluated in 2019. Following the evaluation, the FDFA decided to continue the cooperation with Eritrea for a further three years. This commitment, totaling CHF 6 million, focuses on the area of vocational training as in the pilot phase. Cooperation will also be extended to economic development issues (micro-credits, support for the creation of small businesses, etc.).

SDC's involvement in Eritrea is in line with the main objective of development cooperation, namely to improve living conditions and create economic opportunities for young people. This approach is also at the heart of the international cooperation strategy 2021-2024. The existence of opportunities and perspectives is an important factor in the individual decision-making process on whether or not to emigrate. For example, Switzerland supports vocational schools in several regions of the country that offer young Eritreans the opportunity to learn a profession. In the port city of Massaoua, instructors train workers and provide further capacity building support. 

Vocational skills training and skills and migration UNDP project in Eritrea

Switzerland continues to support cooperation projects in Eritrea, Press release, 23.01.2020

Projects Sudan

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SUD, OCHA: Sudan Humanitarian Fund 2024

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2024

The SHF is a country-based pooled fund that contributes to saving lives and protecting people in need by strengthening a coordinated and principled humanitarian response. It enables humanitarian actors to respond early and fast to humanitarian needs set out in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and to critical emergencies. All interventions are in line with the Minimum Operating Standards approved by the Humanitarian Country Team.


Contribution to UNHCR Programme Budget 2023-2024 (earmarked)

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

UNHCR is one of Switzerland’s key multilateral partners due to its unique mandate by the General Assembly of United Nations to provide protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, refugee returnees, and stateless persons. The strategic direction 2022-26 concretise the overall mandate of UNHCR for the upcoming years. Contributing to these directions allows Switzerland to achieve in particular the human development goal defined in the Dispatch to Parliament on International Cooperation for 2021-24.

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Projects Eritrea

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RLP - Horn of Africa Regional Livestock Program

01.12.2022 - 31.12.2026

Pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa (HoA) rely on livestock as their main livelihood source. They face multiple pressures of climate change, degraded natural resources, and conflicts. The program will support historically underdeveloped pastoralist cross-border communities of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya to become more climate resilient and derive sustainable livelihoods from inclusive livestock market systems. The intervention takes a regional approach – linking production, markets, and policy.


Financing Durable Solutions Programme for Forcibly Displaced People (FDSI)

01.10.2021 - 31.12.2025

Through an innovative approach, Switzerland will mobilize the private sector and municipalities to contribute to durable solutions for displacement-affected communities in the Horn of Africa. Forcibly displaced persons and their host communities will benefit from enhanced self-reliance and increased socioeconomic inclusion. The initiative operationalises the strategic link between migration policy and international cooperation and further strengthens Switzerland’s profile as a pioneer in the search for durable solutions.


Jigjiga One Health Initiative Phase 2 (JOHI2)

01.04.2021 - 31.03.2026

The Jijiga One Health Initiative aims to develop a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence on pastoralist health within the Jijiga University (Somali Region, Ethiopia). Community-based one-health research and pilot interventions, including contribution to COVID-19 prevention and response, as well as targeted policy influencing will contribute to improved health among pastoralist communities and reduce pressure for their displacement/migration, which is in the interest of Switzerland.  


Eritrea Vocational Skills Training

01.09.2020 - 30.09.2024

Building upon a successful pilot phase (2017-2019), Switzerland will continue to contribute to two well established NGO-ted initiatives on technical and vocational education and training in Eritrea. The initiatives aim at improving the quality of teaching in targeted vocational skills institutions and testing the possibility of engaging in entrepreneurial activities. Ultimately the goal is to contribute to giving better life perspectives and job-opportunities to young Eritreans in their home country.


Somalia - UN Joint Programme Saameynta: Scaling-up Solutions to Displacement (UNJPS)

01.11.2019 - 30.06.2025

Displacement contributes to Somalia’s rapid and unplanned urbanization. 2.6 million people are displaced with little prospects for durable solutions. Switzerland, in a whole of government approach and through a UN Joint Programme Saameynta (UNJPS) will contribute to durable solutions for displacement-affected communities by improving their protection environment, socio-economic inclusiveness, self-reliance and fit-for-purpose land governance, thus leading to sustainable (re)integration.


Horn of Africa: Framework for Risk Governance and Adaptive Programming (FRAP)

15.09.2019 - 31.03.2025

The Horn of Africa is a hyper-fragile context with high security and fiduciary risks. This framework strengthens Switzerland’s fitness to operate remotely in hard-to-access contexts through a innovative monitoring and accountability tool. It supports capacity strengthening of local partners. The framework enables adaptive programming and effectiveness of the portfolio. It strengthens Somalia’s statistical system to improve data gathering and to monitor the implementation of the Agenda 2030.


IGAD Land Governance Programme

01.09.2019 - 30.04.2024

Land is a source for livelihoods and a valuable economic asset in the IGAD region. Drawing on experiences from other land related partnerships at national, regional and global levels, Switzerland supports the Intergovernmental Authority on Development IGAD to translate continental and global land governance frameworks and guidelines into practice in order to improve access to land and tenure security for all, especially for vulnerable groups like pastoralists, women and youth.


One Health Units for Humans, Environment, Animals and Livelihoods (HEAL)

01.03.2019 - 31.10.2024

Transmission of diseases between humans and animals are frequent in pastoralist societies of Somalia, Ethiopia and Northern Kenya and related to environmental conditions. The HEAL project promotes sustainable rangeland management and access to integrated human/livestock health services. Thereby, it contributes to improved health, to reduced vulnerability among pastoralist communities and to prevention of their displacement/migration, which is in the interest of Switzerland.


Kenya: IFC Private Sector Engagement Kakuma

10.12.2018 - 31.12.2024

The project IFC Private Sector Engagement Kakuma implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), seeks to attract private sector solutions for refugees and host communities through catalyzing private investments. Thanks to access to improved services, potentially lower prices and supported jobs, refugees and host community will enhance economic opportunities and capacities, self-esteem, dignity and empowerment.

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