Disaster risk reduction, an essential requirement for sustainable development

Members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit during a practical workshop with Haitian masons
The building of earthquake-resistant infrastructures unfolds via the building of local capacities. Here we see a member of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit at a practical workshop with bricklayers in Haiti. © SDC

Natural disasters strike rich and poor countries indiscriminately, but the repercussions are much more dramatic in the Global South. An earthquake, cyclone, flood or drought can undo decades of development efforts. The SDC is committed to disaster risk reduction not only to save lives, but also to ensure the sustainability of the socio-economic development of the countries it assists.

SDC Focus

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is central to all programmes implemented by the SDC. This preventive approach is essential in vulnerable countries at high risk of natural disasters. The goal of DRR is to save lives and safeguard development gains. 

DRR activities focus both on sudden disasters, particularly flooding and earthquakes, and on disasters that make fewer headlines such as droughts. DRR involves action taken before, during and after a disaster. It requires a long-term commitment to strengthening the institutions, human resources and infrastructure of the partner countries concerned. It is an integrated process that encompasses scientific, technical and socio-political considerations.

The SDC promotes an integrated approach to disaster risk management, centred around the stages that typically occur before, during and after natural disasters:

  1. Prevention: reduce existing risks and prevent the emergence of new risks through preventive and planning measures
  2. Management: reduce the impact of a disaster by organising and training rescue teams
  3. Recovery: reduce the risk of future damage by advocating appropriate reconstruction models

Preventive measures can take a wide variety of forms, including the reforestation of catchment areas affected by landslides, forest mapping and the construction of earthquake-resistant schools (as in Haiti). Organising and training rescue teams saves lives and reduces the impact of disasters.

The SDC is also committed to promoting at the international level the experiences gained in the countries where it is active. In this respect, it played a prominent role in the drafting of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The SDC also works together with international organisations such as the Global Facility for Disaster Risk and Recovery (GFDRR) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

Background

Adopted in March 2015, the Sendai Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction sets out the priorities of the international community for disaster reduction during the 2015–30 period. The Sendai Framework replaced the Hyogo Framework for Action for the 2005–15 period and updated the definition of disaster. The new framework applies to the risk of small-scale and large-scale, frequent and infrequent, sudden and slow-onset disasters, caused by natural or man-made hazards as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks. It also calls for the strengthening of disaster risk governance, including national platforms.

DRR concerns all sectors of society. It only proves effective when everyone does their part: national and local authorities, the private sector (the insurance sector in particular), civil society, international organisations and the public at large.

Switzerland is internationally renowned for its expertise in DRR. In Switzerland, the SDC is leveraging its partnerships with other units in the Federal Administration to transfer this knowledge to its partner countries. It has joined forces with the Federal Office for the Environment, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as well as a number of NGOs, the private sector, various universities and the Swiss National Platform for Natural Hazards (PLANAT).

Online tool

DRR is more than a priority theme for the SDC: it is a working methodology. Each project in a country at risk is evaluated to determine how vulnerable it is to potential disasters, and activities are planned to mitigate identified risks. To this end, the SDC has created the CEDRIG Online Tool (Climate, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction Integration Guidance). Intended for all development and humanitarian aid professionals, this online tool can be used to integrate into project designs the risks associated with natural hazards, climate change and environmental degradation.

CEDRIG Online Tool

SDC internet portal on disaster risk reduction

Specialised information (news, documents, instruments, methods) on knowledge sharing and cooperation with partners and experts

SDC Disaster Risk Reduction Network

Documents

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 131

Program Contribution for Fondation Terre des hommes 2023-2024

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

The program of the Terre des hommes Foundation (TdhF) aims to sustainably reduce child mortality and morbidity and to secure access to health, sanitation and clean water for mothers and children (0-18 years) in severe poverty. Children in contexts of migration, conflict and disasters, and child victims of violence are better protected. International standards in child-friendly justice are promoted. Humanitarian interventions in fragile contexts, combined with poverty reduction and sustainable development are promoted through innovative work with children and youths.


SPHERE Humanitarian Accountability Project 2023

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2023

Sphere is a diverse global community that brings together frontline practitioners, humanitarian agencies, community organisations, trainers, donors, policy makers, government agencies and affected communities around a common goal – to improve the resilience of, and outcomes for, people affected by disaster and crisis. The Sphere Handbook is one of the most widely known and internationally recognised sets of common principles and universal minimum standards in humanitarian response.


WFP, Hurrican Ian Response, Cuba

01.12.2022 - 31.05.2024

Hurricane Ian has caused significant losses in the agricultural and fishing sector limiting the availability and access to food and affecting the livelihoods of the population in the provinces Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Mayabeque and Isla de la Juventud. With its contribution to the World Food Programme through the United Nations Plan of Action, SDC helps providing food assistance and restore food production and livelihoods to meet the needs of 798’000 severely affected people in those provinces.


DRC: Building resilience of Yemeni communities through integrated water resource management and provision of water supply, sanitation and hygiene services

01.12.2022 - 30.11.2025

Through the proposed intervention, the climate and conflict resilience of displacement-affected Yemeni in targeted locations will be reinforced through sustainable and community-led integrated water resource management (IWRM), sustainable water and sanitation systems, provision of multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) and improved technical and institutional capacity of local partners. 


Strengthening Access to Services for Ukrainian Refugees through Legal Aid

15.11.2022 - 14.11.2023

As a right and a precondition for the enjoyment of all human rights, legal aid promotes peaceful and inclusive societies. The project enhances the access to legal services for Ukrainian refugees through a regional approach building local capacities and enhancing cross-border collaboration. The project opens an avenue for Switzerland to contribute to durable solutions and to channel advocacy messages at national and regional level on the protection of the rights of forcibly displaced populations. 


Appui aux ménages en situation d’ultra-pauvreté à Belle-Anse, Sud-Est Haiti

15.11.2022 - 31.05.2024

Près de 10% de la population haïtienne vit en ultra-pauvreté. Avec sa contribution au programme Chemen lavi Miyò (CLM), la Suisse répond aux besoins humanitaires et de relèvement en appuyant 200 ménages dans le Sud-Est pour les faire sortir de l’ultra-pauvreté. L’approche capitalise sur l’expérience de la Suisse et ses partenaires en Haïti et vise à réduire les inégalités, l’insécurité alimentaire et la vulnérabilité aux catastrophes naturelles.


Strengthening policy dialogue on DRR & RR of Andean countries

14.11.2022 - 31.10.2025

The project aims at strengthening policy dialogue on Disaster Risk Reduction and Rapid Response among Andean countries in particular and within the Latin America countries in general. The participation of SDC’s key partners in DRR and humanitarian events (e.g. the yearly Humanitarian Network and Partnership Week) will facilitate knowledge exchange, experience sharing and increased collaboration within the region. The project will further contribute to this by engaging in knowledge management supporting regional policy dialogue, and by financially contributing to specific events.


Multi-sectoral assistance to flood-affected populations in Nigeria

01.11.2022 - 31.07.2023

Flooding in Nigeria has impacted more than 3 million people across 34 of the country’s 36 states, in the worst floods since 2012. Over 600 deaths have been recorded, with 2,500 injured and 1.5 million people displaced. Homes and farmlands are being damaged and water sources contaminated, increasing the risk of malnutrition and water-borne diseases. SDC’s funding to IFRC will reach flood affected people with lifesaving multi-sectoral assistance to meet their immediate basic needs.  


Nonviolent Peaceforce: Community-based Protection and Peacebuilding

01.11.2022 - 31.10.2024

The project will contribute to overall peace and security of targeted communities by addressing key civilian safety and security concerns, including child protection, intra-inter-communal violence, SGBV, women’s protection and empowerment, youth participation, community participation and general protection and peacebuilding. Interventions will focus on trust building and inclusion, enhancing capacities of existing community-based protection mechanisms including Women protection Teams and Youth Protection Teams, and Peace Committees, and restoring confidence in peaceful relations at community levels.


Peru, WFP: Strengthening the capacities of national institutions in disaster risk preparedness and response

20.10.2022 - 19.10.2025

The project aims to increase institutional resilience by strengthening the capacities of national and subnational entities responsible for disaster risk preparedness and response processes through the generation of knowledge, training, and the modernization of the information management system of National Institute of Civil Defense (INDECI), as well as the improvement of social communication strategies considering the population’s/ users’ needs. The project is a contribution to WFP's Strategic Country Plan in Peru  2018 - 2022 and the upcoming Strategic Country Plan  2023-2026 with INDECI as a main partner and hence is a  is a direct response to  Pillar 2 (Strengthening Partner’s Preparedness for Response)  of SDC’s DRR & RR regional Program in Peru.


Switzerland’s Engagement as Co-Chair of the Pooled Fund Working Group 2022-2023

01.10.2022 - 30.06.2023

In July 2022, Switzerland took over the co-chair of the Pooled Fund Working Group (PFWG) for one year. The PFWG brings together the partners of the Country Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) to set the strategic direction of the CBPFs. The Swiss objectives supported by this proposal are to ensure that localization is understood and practiced consistently across CBPFs, to increase the sharing of experiences and best practices among CBPF fund managers, and to broaden the CBPF donor base. 


SRC: Emergency assistance to IDP - Winterization

01.08.2022 - 31.03.2023

In expectation of the winter in Ukraine, the Swiss Red Cross in collaboration with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society improve living conditions in collective centers and host community facilities, and provide durable accommodation solutions for Internal Displaced Persons through winterization measures in Ternopil and Ivano Frankivsk Oblast. 

Object 1 – 12 of 131