The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is gripped by one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The country now also faces a cholera epidemic, while millions of its people are dependent on humanitarian assistance. Representatives of several states and humanitarian organisations met today in Geneva to support the international response to this crisis. This was the first high-level humanitarian conference devoted to the DRC. Switzerland will provide CHF 12.5 million this year to support emergency operations in the country.
The DRC is undergoing a grave humanitarian crisis. Currently 13 million people are in need of assistance double the number of last year. Clashes between government forces and armed groups have displaced 4.5 million people throughout the country and the situation remains volatile in many areas. The DRC is also facing a serious cholera epidemic.
To meet the needs, set at USD 1.69 billion, a donor pledging conference was held today in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations, the Netherlands and the European Union. This was the first high-level humanitarian conference devoted to the DRC.
Switzerland pledged CHF 12.5 million to support humanitarian operations in 2018. This amount will support measures to protect civilians and provide them with the means to cover their needs in terms of healthcare, food and basic necessities, and in addition it will support communities hosting displaced people. Experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit will also be seconded to UN agencies.
Switzerland reiterated its strong commitment to respect for humanitarian principles and called on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, which guarantees the protection of civilians.
The Great Lakes region is a priority region for Swiss cooperation. Humanitarian activities in the DRC are complemented by longer-term development programmes. Switzerland focuses its efforts on obtaining better access to basic services for the Congolese population, combating violence against women, vocational training, the development of a local economy and the consolidation of democratic processes. Lastly, Switzerland is committed to promoting peace and political dialogue with the Congolese authorities.