Other relevant topics

Other relevant topics


Operational Topics of SDC's Humanitarian Aid

Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)

Summary SGBV

During the CHRnet  meeting on 08 June 2017, the operational concepts of the priority themes Protection and Sexual and Gender-based Violence of SDC/HA (two of four priority topics of SDC/HA) were presented. The operational concepts were elaborated and approved in 2016 and formally launched in January 2017.

 As concerns SGBV, the operational concept focuses on the scaling up of SGBV-specific projects providing protection and multi-sectoral services (access to health care, psychosocial care, legal aid, etc.) for survivors of SGBV in SDC/HA's field operations, the promotion of SGBV mainstreaming and risk mitigation (i.e. by building safe sanitation facilities with separate and lockable toilets), support towards effective humanitarian coordination on SGBV (UNFPA has the global lead for GBV coordination), in-country and global-level advocacy on SGBV, enhanced cooperation on SGBV with SDC/HA priority partners (ICRC, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNWRA, etc.) and local (women's) NGOs, and research and advocacy towards a gender-inclusive approach, which better addresses the specific needs of both male and female survivors of sexual violence. The expert group of protection of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), launched in 2016, is seeking to increasingly second SGBV experts to partner organizations, such as UNHCR, UNFPA and UNRWA. There are several opportunities for members of the CHR network to work on SGBV, i.e. in SDC's advocacy and policy/legal reform work, and in human rights and access to justice programming. There are also ample opportunities to work on the humanitarian and development nexus, particularly when moving beyond simple life-saving SGBV interventions, i.e. by working on access to justice, economic empowerment of survivors or by addressing social norms fostering gender inequality, etc. Note that combatting SGBV is not only a priority of SDC/HA but a priority of the Federal Dispatch on International Cooperation 2017-2020 (see strategic goal 7 on gender equality) and the FDFA strategy on gender equality and women's empowerment (to be launched soon). Note that SDC/HA's work on SGBV does not replace the work on gender mainstreaming in programming. For any further advice or information feel free to contact the Gender & SGBV Focal Point at SDC/HA, sascha.mueller@eda.admin.ch.

Related Documents (internal use only)

Operational concept SGBV – How to scale up SGBV Work at field Level

SDC/HA Operational Concept SGBV 2017-2020

Further information

Shareweb SDC Gendernet

Summary Protection

Protection is a priority of the FDFA and SDC as a whole. The new Operational concept 2017-2020 is closely aligned with the broader engagement of the Swiss Foreign Policy Strategy 2016-19 as well as the FDFA Human Rights Strategy 2016-19 and the Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts 2013-17 to protect human lives and promote respect for human dignity. SDC/HA is committed to making a strategic contribution and hence focusing on key areas of intervention where it is already engaged and has gained significant experience. The new concept sets out three priorities on which to focus, without however limiting all protection activities to these sole areas. These priority areas are child protection, forced displacement and the quest for durable solution, and provide legal identity and civic documentation for all. Within these thematic priorities, the SDC/HA aims at strengthening the link between the operational work and the international political dialogue with the long-term goal to raise Switzerland's international profile.

On an operational level, SDC/HA uses different modalities to engage in the area of protection. They reflect its multiple roles as donor, stand-by partner and governmental agency implementing its own projects. Its interventions along these lines can be divided between the support committed to partners and more direct engagement through specific programmes, protection mainstreaming, policy dialogue and advocacy. Advocacy is at the core of protection. SDC/HA pursues advocacy work to draw the attention of local or national authorities, or even regional and international bodies, to the plight of persons to be protected. Advocacy forms an integral part of all its action and operational modalities. It is one of four strategic tasks of SDC/HA and a transversal theme to the others, namely: prevention and preparedness, emergency relief and reconstruction.

SDC/HA commits to a sustained partnership with several organisations with a core protection mandate, including pursuing a regular policy dialogue with them. Main support is provided to the ICRC, which receives nearly one third of the SDC's financial resources for humanitarian aid. Among the UN agencies, SDC/HA supports with contributions and seconded experts various agencies with a specific protection mandate such as the UNHCR, UNRWA, OHCHR, UNICEF, and other agencies whose efforts address protection needs, including the IOM, WFP and OCHA.  Likewise, a bilateral contribution is provided to other organisations with a specific protection focus such as the NRC, IRC, DRC, ACF, or MSF, all partners being key to the protection response with also collaboration at operational level. External partnerships are also fostered with Swiss NGOs implementing protection projects, e.g. Swisscontact and Terre des Hommes. In addition, SDC/HA has established strategic partnerships to support first protection responses and to strengthen oriented protection programming and policies with ProCap and GenCap, both inter-agency initiatives created in collaboration with the NRC that seek to build capacity of relevant actors to enhance the humanitarian protection response.

The sharp increase in protection deployments and the strategic orientations of the new Dispatch 2017-2020, with Protection and SGBV as priority themes, led also to the decision to create a new Expert Group Protection of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) to deploy experts to multilateral partners or at head office and to SDC/HA field offices in order to respond to protection needs. The Group serves as an operational and strategic instrument for the priority themes Protection and SGBV.

SDC/HA works in close collaboration with all Swiss actors involved in protection, pursuing regular coordination and exchanges to enable more coherent engagement and take advantage of potential synergies. Priority partners are the HSD and the DIL, with whom to coordinate advocacy initiatives, elaborate policy stances, define legal framework, and develop new policy instruments. An institutional collaboration with these partners takes place also within the framework of the steering group for the revision and monitoring of the FDFA Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. The HSD is also systematically associated in the elaboration of the SDC countries' cooperation strategies, and collaboration is established at operational level. With regards to protection of forcibly displaced persons, SDC/HA works in concert also with the SDC Global Programme Migration and Development Division and the SEM. The CHRnet represents the appropriate platform for enabling regular exchanges of best practices and coordination.

For any further advice or information, please contact the Protection Adviser at SDC/HA and Head of the SHA Specialized Group Protection davide.vignati@ed.admin.ch

Further information

SHA Expert Group Protection :


SDC/HA Advocacy guidelines :


SDC / HA Operational Concetp Protection 2017-2020 (internal use only!)



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Research for Development

R4D Forum 2016 Social Conflicts and public event "Cutting edges in conflict transformation research" 

The r4d Forum 2016 Social Conflicts took place on the occasion of the mid-term evaluation of three funded r4d projects. It provided opportunities for critical exchange between the full research consortia and the complete Review Panel for mid-term evaluation and recommendations for the research phase 2 (years four to six), for presenting research results and fostering exchange within the scientific community as well as with interested representatives from the wider public and for identifying cross-cutting issues between the three r4d projects to establish ground for collectively working towards joint synthesis processes and products.

The aim of this 10 year research programme is to provide scientific knowledge and practical solutions to tackle global problems. Together, SDC and SNSF invested 97.6 Mio CHF – 75% of this amount is considered to be ODA – to support inter and transdisciplinary research conducted in partnership between Switzerland and Africa, Asian and Latin American countries.

SDC needs science and its evidence-based results to develop good policy, particularly in fragile contexts. However, there are some open questions concerning the relationship between scientific research and development policy for poverty reduction. For example: Is our development work really based on scientific underpinnings and do we reversely make good use of scientific research to design our interventions? Furthermore, another question concerns research contributions towards SDC's efforts and programmes, such as the contribution for Agenda 2030, institution-building and discourses in conflict transformation and peacebuilding, which was also proposed by the Review panel. 


Further Info:

Notes on the 2016 Forum Social Conflicts and public event "Cutting edges in conflict transformation research"


 A Conflict Sensitive Approach to Field Research – Doing Any Better? - a publication by swisspeace and the KFPE