Swiss Government Contribution to the ICRC Headquarters’ Appeal 2024 (Sitzbudget IKRK)

The ICRC is the most important partner of SDC in the humanitarian field. About one third of the SDC Humanitarian Aid budget is allocated to the ICRC. The core contribution of CHF 80 million reflects Switzerland’s interest for the ICRC to have strong and well-established headquarters in Geneva.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Protection, access & security
01.01.2024 - 31.12.2024
CHF  80’000’000
Area of responsibility

The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. It takes action in response to emergencies, protracted conflicts and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.

The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes – and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

The four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I confer on the ICRC a specific mandate to act in the event of international armed conflict. In particular, the ICRC has the right to visit prisoners of war and civilian internees.

The Conventions also give the ICRC a broad right of initiative. In non-international armed conflicts, the ICRC enjoys a right of humanitarian initiative recognized by the international community and enshrined in Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions.

Switzerland's and the organisation's strategic priorities and their coherence

Humanitarian aid is an important plank of Switzerland’s foreign policy strategy. Switzerland and the ICRC defend the same principles: the aim to protect all victims of armed conflict without distinction and to ensure respect for international humanitarian law.

As depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland has a long history of close relations with the ICRC. The legal status of the ICRC in Switzerland as a Swiss private law association that carries out an international mandate, is laid down in a 1993 Headquarters Agreement. The agreement was amended for the first time on 27 November 2020 in order to respond more effectively to global challenges and increasing digitalization. The importance of the ICRC and the Swiss contribution to the ICRC headquarters of CHF 80.0 million is laid out in Switzerland’s current International Cooperation Strategy and will be confirmed in its Strategy 2025-2028.

The organization is the most important partner of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the humanitarian field. Traditionally, one third of the SDC Humanitarian Aid budget was allocated to the ICRC in the past decades.

The core contribution reflects Switzerland’s interest for the ICRC to have strong and well-established headquarters in Geneva. For the ICRC, Geneva acts as a hub for fostering relations with the UN agencies, the Permanent Missions and the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The promotion and systematic support of International Geneva is part of Switzerland's foreign policy strategy.

The cooperation between Switzerland and the ICRC is based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the FDFA and the ICRC that will be revised in 2024.

Results of the organisation's previous engagement

The ICRC continuously strengthens its capacity to protect and assist through law, policy and operation. ICRC’s field implementation rate was at 93% in 2023 and 97% in 2022 with a presence in over 100 countries.

The proliferation of conflict situations around the world and their protracted nature continued in 2023, leading to a further increase in humanitarian needs. In addition, the ICRC had to face a major financial crisis. Despite these challenges, the ICRC remained decisive in many conflict situations:

In 2022, the ICRC managed to reach a large number of conflict-affected people amongst others: 28,000 detainees were visited and monitored individually in over 900 places of detention. 335 of them received medical assistance and donated medicines. 2 million telephone and video calls were facilitated between family members separated as a result of armed conflict. 53 million people had access to treated water for drinking or irrigation. 706 hospitals in conflict zones received ICRC support. More than 200,000 surgical operations on people wounded by weapons and other traumas were recorded.

The ICRC continued to engage with governments and intergovernmental bodies on ways to improve IHL acceptance and national compliance. An expert meeting, organized by Switzerland, took place in 2023 on “protecting the environment in armed conflicts”.

The digital transformation and its implementation within the ICRC are ongoing and has been (re)identified as the 3rd institutional priority in the new Institutional Strategy 2024-2027 (#3: Accelerating the digital transformation).

The ICRC, and the IFRC, have kept working on initiatives to develop and strengthen National Societies (NS) such as the National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) to invest in capacity-building and organizational development of NS.

Results of Switzerland's engagement in previous phase

The following results were reached in 2023:

Despite the challenges faced, the ICRC was able to cope with this unprecedented financial crisis that led it to make significant cuts and efforts to mobilize additional resources. The ICRC also adopted a new strategy aimed at refocusing its activities on its core mandate and improving the institution's financial monitoring.

The ICRC's 2024 budget amounts to CHF 2.1 billion. During 2023, the ICRC reduced its initial budget from CHF 2.8 billion to 2.5 billion. Thanks to significant cuts in its operations and an effort to mobilize resources, the ICRC avoided a major financial crisis. Following this crisis and an external audit, the ICRC adopted a strategy that refocuses its activities on its core mandate and improves the institution's financial monitoring. In 2023, SDC’s contribution amounted to CHF 218.1 million broken down into CHF 130 million for its headquarters in Geneva and CHF 88.1 million for its field operations. Switzerland was the ICRC's third largest donor in 2023 with CHF 219.3 million.

Medium-term outcome of organisation's current engagement

The ICRC strives to continuously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its work and to increase its accountability, first to its beneficiaries, and second to external stakeholders, particularly donors.

Given the challenging dynamics of today’s conflicts and the 2023 financial crisis, the ICRC has reshaped its Institutional Strategy 2024-2027 to refocus on its core mandate in geographical contexts and thematic files where it has the strongest added value such as:

  1. Upholding the centrality of protection and promoting IHL
  2. Enhancing the response impact in acute and protracted phases of conflicts
  3. Optimizing risk management and financial stability

Talks around International Humanitarian Law are maintained in the framework of the UN security council, the 75th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions and the upcoming 34th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in October 2024.

The ICRC embraces digitalization to reach out to beneficiaries, all by ensuring that no harm is done and fundamental principles are being respected.

ICRC delegations coordinate with IFRC and the respective NS to help build local response capacity. The adoption of The Movement Coordination for Collective Impact Agreement (Seville Agreement 2.0) has brought a clearer vision of a long-term plan on capacity building of NS. NSIA funding remains a challenge. Switzerland decided to reinforce the NSIA team with a Swiss expert (SKH) to better profile the results obtained in the framework of the projects.

Effect in Switzerland

During the financial crisis, high level discussions took place and an interdepartmental working group (FDFA, FDF) has been set up to assess the ICRC's financial situation and examine proposed measures.

In August 2023, the Federal Council decided to grant the ICRC an exceptional additional contribution of CHF 50 million. It has also decided to adapt the repayment terms of the COVID loan granted in 2020 from 4 to 8 instalments payable from 2024 until 2031. The planned contribution to the ICRC Foundation (CHF 100 million) was dropped upon suggestion of the ICRC.

Along this process, the leadership of the ICRC took a critical look at the causes of the crisis in order to learn the necessary lessons in a transparent manner vis-à-vis its donors in general and Switzerland in particular. This led to reforms and measures in several areas.

The SDC is also making major efforts to improve the "quality and predictability" of its financial contributions without tying it to specific contexts or programmes, which gives the ICRC considerable leeway to finance its operations in forgotten conflicts.

Beyond this, the strategic exchanges have been deepened in the framework of the Senior Management Meeting (SMM) and other interactions at both field and HQ level: Ukraine, Gaza, 34th international conference, digitalization and the Swiss membership in the UN security council.

Switzerland, in close collaboration with donors and the ICRC, must continue to work on the long-term financial resilience of the ICRC, and in particular on the issues of 1) reserves and 2) predictability/flexibility of funding.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Other International Organization
  • International Committee of the Red Cross

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    80’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    40’000’000
Switzerland's ranking in the DonorOrder

Rank 1


The main other donors of ICRC headquarters are: US, European Commission, Norway, Netherlands and Germany.

For headquarters and field, the main other donors are: US CHF 504.1 million, Germany CHF 260.0 million, the EC CHF 163.5 million and UK CHF 148.5 million.

Coordination with other projects and actors

Coordination and the use of synergies take place through the regular meetings of the ICRC Donor Support Group (DSG), bilateral formal and informal exchanges as well as the exchange at the occasion of field visits.

Project phases Phase 23 01.01.2024 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase) Phase 14 01.01.2015 - 31.12.2015   (Completed)