Middle East
About Swiss International Cooperation
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SDC's Response to the Syrian Crises
The Regional Cooperation Strategy 2010-2014
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SDC Lebanon



Despite a solid financial system and apparent stability, Lebanon is exposed to regional conflicts and internal tensions often in relation with the country’s sectarian-based political system or to the current Syria crisis (see SDC fact sheet on Syria Crisis). Conflicting agendas of donor countries and frequently changing political constellations are constantly shaping the country’s priorities: from supporting the decentralization process, to achieving national reconciliation, building institutional capacities and implementing administrative reforms.<>

Approximately 280’000 Palestine refugees reside in Lebanon. They do not enjoy full civil rights and are prevented from access to property and a number of professions. 53% of these refugees live in difficult conditions in 12 official camps.

Increasing labour migration from neighbouring but also from Asian countries comes along with precarious labour conditions for many of the migrant workers, mostly women, who are among the most vulnerable groups of non-skilled migrants.

In terms of natural disasters, Lebanon is located along the seismically active Dead Sea transform fault. The high concentration of inhabitants in cities such as Beirut and Tripoli exposes the country to important risks such as earthquakes, floods or other natural disasters.

In the wake of the Syria crisis, the Lebanese government has been cautious and observant. The Syrian crisis has spilled over in some regions of Lebanon and is increasingly threatening political stability in the country. There are over 370’000 Syrian refugees registered or pending registration (UNHCR, as of 22 March).


SDC Cooperation Strategy 2010-2014
SDC’s Cooperation Strategy (2010-2014) seeks to ensure an integrated, regional approach by matching the needs of the region with the agency’s own strengths and added value. As such, the strategy specifies three domains in which SDC’s activities are concentrated: Basic Services and Livelihoods, Protection, and Disaster Risk Reduction.

Basic Services and Livelihoods
Switzerland annually grants CHF 11 million to UNRWA's General Fund to provide quality services and basic needs to Palestine refugees in the region. In addition, SDC also supports: 

  •  UNRWA-ILO: Employment centre project to improve employability of 4,000 Palestine Refugees. 
  •  UNDP/UN Habitat: National framework to improve coordinated plans and service delivery to Palestinian informal settlements.
  •  UNICEF: Support to the enrollment and protection of primary school-aged children of Syrian refugees and host communities ensuring that 36'600 boys and girls attend school in the 2012-2013 scholastic years.
  •  UNRWA: Safe potable water is produced in sufficient quantity and at an affordable price for 70'000 Palestine refugees living in 7 camps.
  •  Tahaddi: School enrollment of illiterate children and access to primary health services is improved for 10,000 marginalized Dom community in Beirut shanty areas (The Dom are an ethnic minority – similar to the Roma - who live in many countries of the Middle East, including Lebanon)

 list of Basic Services and Livelihood Projects in Lebanon



SDC seeks to improve the conditions of refugees, IDPs, vulnerable groups and migrants. Projects include:

  • Caritas: physical and mental health conditions of 500 migrants detained at the retention centre in Beirut are improved.
  •  UNDP-LPDC: Dialogue, policy and planning capacity of LPDC and key ministries is strengthened in order to improve living conditions of Palestine refugee in all 12 official camps as well as informal gatherings.
  •  DRC: assistance and protection of 200 women-at-risk and domestic migrant workers through coordinated efforts of civil society organisations
  • Insan: 150 children of refugees, migrants and non-ID holders who are cut off from education are trained to integrate regular schools and/or vocational training centres 

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 

Projects of this domain include support to:

  •  UNDP: Disaster Risk Management Unit within the Lebanese Government is capable of providing technical assistance for developing policies and strategies in addition to planning for disaster preparedness and response.
  •  LRCS (funded by Department of Human Security DHS): Improving human security in the Bekaa valley and North Lebanon through training of Emergency Medical Services’ volunteers on basic pre-hospital care in bordering villages.
  •  LRCS: three-phase training project for pre-hospital emergency medical care in all 46 LRCS medical stations all over Lebanon.
  •  UNICEF: Awareness raising on DRR topics within school communities and building a culture of prevention in 1281 public schools.
  •  Union of Tyr Municipalities: 63 villages with a total of 320,000 persons are better prepared to respond to disasters and to provide assistance to the population of south Lebanon.

SDC’s response to the Syria crisis

Since the outbreak of the Syria crisis, Lebanon has been a host country for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. SDC is supporting the following projects:


  • SDC’s directly implemented “support to host families and communities” project in Akkar: 1,300 Lebanese families hosting 10,000 Syrian refugees receive cash support to reduce the burden of hosting costs and to contribute to livelihoods; in addition, 9 municipalities/villages benefit from small actions.
  • Secondment of Swiss experts to UNHCR: Development of cash approaches in delivering humanitarian assistance, and shelter experts to develop and assist in implementing the shelter strategy.
  • UNICEF: “Back to School” project is to ensure that vulnerable pre- and primary school aged children (4-14 years) from refugee and host communities attend school in the 2012-2013 academic-year and learn in a supportive and protective environment.
  • LRCS: The project contributes to the protection of civilians in conflict through the provision of effective emergency pre-hospital care to Syrian refugees and the population in the Bekaa and North Lebanon.

Main Partners

 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS)



International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoI)



Annual Budget 2012 

Total budget for Lebanon 2011: CHF 13.8 million  



Further Information

Please contact:    SDC Office in Beirut, Lebanon

Phone:                +961 1 739 741

Fax :                   +961 1 739 742

E-mail:                beirut@sdc.net

Website:             http://www.swiss-coopertion.admin.ch/jordan


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