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Medium-Term Programme
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  • SDC Medium-Term Programme: North Korea 2012–14
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North Korea

Website of the Cooperation Office (SDC) North Korea: www.swiss-cooperation.admin.ch/northkorea/

Map of DPRK

The SDC is supporting North Korea in its efforts to exploit sloping lands for agricultural purposes and to protect them against erosion. It promotes the health of the population by providing better access to clean drinking water and sanitation. It also distributes milk powder through the United Nations World Food Programme.

The SDC's activity in North Korea began in 1995 when it provided humanitarian aid for the population affected by the famine of the 1990s. In 1997 the SDC opened an office in Pyongyang which increasingly became involved in implementing development projects. Since the beginning of 2012 the SDC has been carrying out a purely humanitarian programme in North Korea. The aim is to improve food and income security, water supplies, waste water management and protection of the environment.

Swiss International Cooperation 2011
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
Bilateral development cooperation 2.84 0.13
Humanitarian aid 5.56 6.53 9.98
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Economic Cooperation and Development
Total SDC/SECO 8.40 6.66 9.98
Other Federal Offices
FDFA Human Security Division and Directorate of International Law 0.11
Total other Federal Offices 0.11
Total 8.40 6.66 10.09
SDC figures excluding program contributions to Swiss NGOs
– = nil or amount < 5'000 CHF

Agricultural use of sloping land and protection against erosion

Food shortages have forced farmers to make use of very steep sloping land. This has led to deforestation and erosion, thus increasing the risk of natural disasters.Since 2005 the SDC, in cooperation with local partners, has promoted the sustainable production of rice, potatoes, wheat and berries on sloping land. Moreover this land has been protected against erosionby planting fruit trees and grass ledges on the slopes.

Improved health thanks to clean drinking water and sanitation

Poorly maintained water supplies and the lack of sanitary installations are the causes of many diseases. Diarrhoea and related illnesses are widespread in North Korea. Those affected suffer from the loss of valuable vitamins and calories.

Clean drinking water improves food security, reduces child mortality, combats poverty and contributes generally to better health for people in North Korea.

A programme launched by the SDC in 2012 promotes access to clean drinking water and to functioning sanitary installations by:

Swiss milk powder for mothers and children

Switzerland deliversmilk powderto the United Nations World Food Programme in North Korea since 1995. Local production units process the milk powder together with rice and maize, cereals and soya to create food that is rich in proteins and vitamins. About the structures of the World Food Programme and the North Korean government, annually 1.3 million children as well as pregnant and lactating mothers are guaranteed one balanced meal a day.

Facts and figures
Surface area
Annual population growth rate (since 1990)
Life expectancy at birth women / men
Adult illiteracy rate: women / men
Gross Domestic Product GDP per capita
Percentage of population with less than 2 USD per day
72.0 / 65.5

.. = figures not available
Source: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2013

Background information North Korea (BBC)

Local SDC contact address:

North Korea (Pyongyang)

Swiss Cooperation Office North Korea
Daedonggang District
Yubo Street No. 3
Pyongyang - DPR of Korea

Phone +850 (0) 2 381 76 45
+850 (0) 2 381 76 46
Email pyongyang@sdc.net
Website www.swiss-cooperation.admin.ch/northkorea/

Additional Information and Documents

Here, you will find more publications, links, documents and articles about Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian aid in this country.