The SDC, already operating in Cambodia since the mid-1990s, has stepped up its engagement since opening a cooperation office in Phnom Penh in 2012. In the field of healthcare, it supports the Kantha Bopha children's hospitals managed by the Swiss paediatrician Dr Beat Richner, now deceased.
Cambodia is also one of the countries under the Mekong Region Cooperation Strategy for 2018–21, which is coordinated by the SDC. This strategy focuses on three main areas:
- inclusive economic development
- climate change and natural resource management, including disaster risk reduction (DRR)
- governance and citizen participation.
Regarding humanitarian aid, the SDC has intervened occasionally since 1996 after natural disasters such as flooding, providing medical and public health services or helping to restore temples, for example.
Two regional specialists in disaster risk reduction and disaster management have been based in Bangkok since 2013 to support SDC projects in Southeast Asia and the Pacific region and to respond rapidly to natural disasters in both regions. The two specialists are also helping ASEAN to step up its disaster risk management and rapid response capabilities.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid, Mekong region