Même le ciel ne pleure plus
Recueil photographique de témoignages
8 august - 11 november 2011: Basel, Zurich, Lucern, Bern, Geneva
Galerie de photo et exposition de photos "Versehrt doch klaglos - die Frauen im Kongo machen weiter"
11 august 2011, Zurich
Dossier on the event "Violence against women - an obstacle to development"
The Great Lakes Region (Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo)
Website of the SDC in Great Lakes (Rwanda - Burundi - Democratic Republic of Congo): www.cooperation-suisse.admin.ch/grandslacs
Switzerland has been active in the Great Lakes region since the 1960s. The first phase of its development assistance began in 1963 in Rwanda, following that country’s independence. Rwanda remained one of Switzerland’s development priorities until the genocide in 1994.
Beginning in 1990, Switzerland diversified its support for the region in response to new humanitarian needs arising from the crises and conflicts in Rwanda (1990-1994), Burundi (1993-2000) and the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC (1996-2001). During this time, Switzerland’s humanitarian aid programme in particular began to take part in domestic and international emergency aid and reconstruction efforts in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, eastern DRC and northern Uganda. In 1998, Switzerland started providing diplomatic support to facilitate peace processes in Burundi and the DRC, which led, respectively, to the Arusha accords in 2000 and the Pretoria accord in 2002. Today, Switzerland continues its work in conflict prevention and human rights advocacy in these two countries.
As Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC continue their political transition processes which took root in the early years of the new century, Switzerland decided to adjust its role by systematically reducing its humanitarian aid and increasing its support in development assistance, peace consolidation and the promotion of human rights.
Switzerland’s efforts to respond effectively to the complexity of the political, security, humanitarian and development-related challenges faced by the region is underpinned by the coordinated use of the three instruments of its foreign policy: (I) development assistance, (II) peace and human rights promotion and (III) humanitarian assistance.
Switzerland’s involvement is aimed at supporting peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, and humanitarian and social issues.
SDC figures excluding program contributions to NGOs
.. = figures not available | – = nil or amount < 5'000 CHF
N.B. Contributions of the humanitarian Aid to persons from the region of the Great Lakes having fled to Tanzania are reported under the humanitarian Aid of Tanzania
Development Cooperation: Priorities
Swiss development cooperation in the Great Lakes region is part of the wider "Great Lakes 2009-2012 Strategy" of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The goal is to promote peace, stability and security in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by contributing to regional integration as well as to institutional and social development.
The priority action areas of Switzerland in the region are:
- Consolidation of peace and good governance: Over the last few years Rwanda (1994), Burundi (1993-2005) and the RDC (1996-2002) have been ripped apart by wars, as have their internal
structures. It is vital that the population of the Great Lakes region are offered a lasting peace based on democratic and participatory governance;
- Health:Despite recent progress, Rwanda still falls below the African average on certain health indicators, such as maternal mortality, life expectancy and reproductive health. Burundi and the DRC must, as a matter of urgency, rebuild their health systems which have been destroyed by the conflicts.
In the domain of “Consolidation of peace and good governance”, the SDC finances a decentralization programme as well as a programme for securing land rights in Burundi, and supports the implementation of community projects in four districts in western Rwanda. In addition, it finances a Great Lakes media programme, the aim of which is to support the practical training of local journalists and the generation of quality information in order to facilitate the rapprochement and the mutual understanding among the peoples of the region. Support is also provided to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in the domain of training young diplomats so as to establish a permanent dialogue among the countries, an element essential to maintaining a sustainable peace in the region.
In the domain of health, three health sector support programmes are being conducted in Rwanda, Burundi, and South Kivu Province (DRC). A complementary programme “water and sanitation” fosters the access to clean drinking water and the availability of sanitation facilities, thereby ensuring a minimum level of hygiene in all of the sanitary infrastructures within the zones of SDC intervention in the Great Lakes region. The SDC is furthermore active, within the context of a regional programme, in the delivery of psycho-social care to women who have been victims of sexual violence. Thanks to a community approach, this programme contributes to improving the victims’ psychological and physical health and to their socio-economic reintegration.
All of the programmes are coordinated by the Swiss Great-Lakes Regional Cooperation Office located in Kigali (Rwanda), flanked by two Programme Offices in Bujumbura (Burundi) and Bukavu (South Kivu / DRC).
In addition to beneficial effects in each of the individual countries where it operates, the SDC hopes that its action in the Great Lakes will contribute to the development of the region as a whole. The SDC believes that the growing prosperity of Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC ultimately will bring lasting peace to the region.
The SDC supports both existing State institutions and civil society. Using a comprehensive and participatory development model, the SDC makes every effort to integrate all stakeholders in the planning, implementation and monitoring of cooperation programmes. The SDC encourages the authorities (national, provincial and local) to discuss issues among themselves and with their communities. On matters such as decentralisation and access to health care, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation seeks to apply the lessons already learnt in the provinces and districts at the national level.
Promoting peace and human rights (Human Security Division)
Consolidating peace and human rights contributes to realising the vision of a region where different political and ethnic groups live together peacefully, and where all individuals have access to a just legal system and can participate in democratic life. In this context, Switzerland supports initiatives in the areas of transitional justice, human rights, the struggle against the proliferation of small arms, as well as in promoting inter-communal dialogue. Currently, its activities are limited to Burundi.
Thematic focal points:
- Mediation, facilitation, peace dialogue: In Burundi, Switzerland works together with a Swiss organisation considered to be one of the most important actors in this field after
the official facilitators, and which has made a considerable contribution to the peace process. Pursuing further efforts to promote dialogue is crucially important. Switzerland’s commitment is being
supplemented with initiatives to promote the dialogue within Burundi. Capacity-building programmes both on the side of the government of Burundi as well as on the side of the former rebel
organisation are helping to promote the political dialogue.
- Fighting impunity, dealing with the past: In these areas, three countries are facing major challenges. In Burundi, Switzerland’s commitment is one of the focal points of its
peace promotion activities. In the first concrete step, Human Security Division (HSD) works together with BINUB (United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi), which has introduced a process of public
consultations on the importance of a truth and reconciliation commission. At the civil society level, various initiatives by NGOs on raising awareness among the civilian population are receiving
support from PA IV. These initiatives include radio programmes, theatre pieces, and the establishment of archives and documentation centres.
- Security: The issue of the reform of the security system is an important aspect of the transition processes in the countries of the region. In view of HSD’s limited financial
resources, it can only offer support of a selective nature: Following the visit by Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey to the African Great Lakes Region in July 2007, the Government of Burundi
signed the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development. In addition, Burundi has declared its willingness to act as pilot country in the implementation of the Declaration. The process
was formally launched in Bujumbura at the end of January 2008 . The government of Burundi is carrying out specific projects in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy and HSD. HSD is also financing
BINUB programmes to disarm civilians population.
- Human rights: HSD regards the international human rights conventions as important instruments for guaranteeing human rights within the country. HSD supports the governments of Burundi and Rwanda in the drafting of country reports to enable them to meet their international obligations and to integrate them in an international dialogue on human rights. At the civil society level, monitoring the human rights situation in different provinces of Burundi is being financed by local NGOs.
Humanitarian Aid: Priorities
Despite the restoration of peace in the Great Lakes region, humanitarian indicators remain alarming. Switzerland continues to provide support to victims of conflicts and to promote humanitarian law. Switzerland is also aware that political, social and economic stability, which is the foundation of sustainable peace, can only be achieved in the Great Lakes region if mechanisms meant to encourage development and promote and consolidate peace are put in place immediately, simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. These mechanisms are not meant to pre-empt emergency assistance and reconstruction aid, which are still necessary in the current regional situation. Switzerland’s humanitarian aid efforts are meant to actively bridge the gap between emergency and development aid.
In the region of the Great Lakes, the operations and programmes conducted by the SDC’s Humanitarian Aid Department continue to focus primarily on the extremely unstable situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), and on the return and reintegration assistance provided to refugees from Burundi.
The main themes of this humanitarian action are:
- Support and strengthen both regional capacity in the provision of emergency aid in crisis situations and humanitarian coordination structures,
- Support programmes designed to protect and care for refugees and internally displaced persons,
- Support the design and implementation of aid programmes for return, reconstruction and reintegration concerning displaced and refugee populations,
- Support the resumption of farming and increased food security,
- Support the rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure in the water, education and healthcare sectors
- Support protective actions and advocacy for women and children who are in conflict situations and victims of violence
- Support marginalised groups and minorities who are victims of conflicts and wars, especially indigenous pygmy populations.
- Prevent and prepare for catastrophes by managing natural risks and through humanitarian de-mining.
In the coming years, humanitarian aid to Burundi, the camps in Tanzania and the DRC will change in response to evolving needs and will require the building of bridges between emergency, development and political aid. At the same time, Switzerland will maintain its involvement in development assistance and peace consolidation in an effort to contribute to the establishment of a stable region where democratic states can grow and build prosperous societies. General multilateral contributions to peacekeeping operations in Burundi and the DRC will also remain in place.
Resources (2012 horizon)
- CHF 40-45 million/year for the various foreign bilateral and multilateral policy instruments.
- Humanitarian assistance: ~ CHF 6-8 million/year, depending on needs.
- Development assistance: planned increase of CHF 9-15 million/year as the regional programme takes shape.
- Peace policy: CHF 1.5-2 million/year.
Multilateral contribution to the United Nations DPKO (Department for Peace Keeping Operations) for both the United Nations Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) and of the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) – The amounts will depend on the length of the MONUC and BINUB mandates (for example: CHF 17 million for the MONUC in 2005 and 2006).
Background information Rwanda & the Great Lakes Region
|Source: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012|
.. = figures not available
Local SDC contact address:
Great Lakes (Rwanda - Burundi - Democratic Republic of Congo) (Kigali)
Bureau de la Coopération Suisse au Grands Lacs
|Phone||+250 252 57 55 34
|Fax||+250 252 57 24 61|
Here, you will find more publications, links, documents and articles about Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian aid in this country.