Different kinds of aid

Published : August 31, 2020

Updated : October 9, 2020

There are two types of aid: humanitarian aid and long-term development cooperation. The long-term development cooperation is pursued in two forms: bilaterally or multilaterally. Humanitarian aid is immediate help in emergency situations.

The objective of Swedish development cooperation is to create opportunities for people living in poverty and under oppression to improve their living conditions. Swedish aid consists of several thousand programmes and projects provided in various forms to organisations, countries and regions.

Development cooperation

The long-term development cooperation is pursued in two forms: bilaterally or multilaterally.

Bilateral aid

This means that Sweden provides support to a country or region. This development cooperation is primarily managed through Sida and goes to various projects and programmes in the partner country. The aid can also go via Swedish NGOs, agencies and occasionally to companies.

Multilateral cooperation

This means the support that Sweden provides together with other countries via international organisations. Multilateral aid is handled almost exclusively by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, unlike bilateral aid, where Sida is the main actor.

Cooperation is primarily through various UN agencies, such as UNDP (the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund, FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund), UNOCHA, which coordinates emergency humanitarian work, and WHO (the World Health Organisation).

Sweden also contributes to the activities of the World Bank’s and to the EU countries’ joint development cooperation.

Humanitarian aid

Means rapid response in emergency situations. The UN has a clear coordinating responsibility in the event of humanitarian actions. Humanitarian aid is based on international law, i.e. the legal system governing how states should cooperate and relate to each other. Human rights also constitute an important part of international law.

Most of Sida’s humanitarian aid is used for emergency response situations, such as armed conflicts, natural disasters or epidemics. Parts of humanitarian aid are about preventing disasters and rebuilding communities affected by disasters.