Launching of the new Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Ukraine 2015-2018

Local news, 09.07.2015

On July 9, 2015 the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine launched in Kyiv the new Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Ukraine 2015-2018.

The event took place in the premises of the Radisson Blu Hotel (22 Yaroslaviv Val Street).

The welcoming words were addressed by the Swiss Ambassador to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova Mr. Christian Schönenberger and by honourable guests representing Ukrainian authorities, i.e. Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Municipal Economy of Ukraine Mr. Hennadiy Zubko, First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Mrs. Yuliya Kovaliv, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mrs. Vladyslava Rutytska, and Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine Mr. Ihor Perehinets. The Ukrainian high-level guests, who represent the key national partners for the Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2015-2018 highlighted the relevance and the effectiveness of the Swiss assistance provided to Ukraine. They also expressed their gratitude to the Swiss Confederation for the long-term and productive cooperation.

Afterwards, the Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine Mr. Guido Beltrani presented the new Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Ukraine 2015-2018 and highlighted its most important aspects.

Switzerland provides technical, financial and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since almost 20 years, in line with the Framework Agreement between the Government of the Swiss Confederation and the Government of Ukraine on Technical and Financial Cooperation, signed on October 13, 1997 and ratified on May 14, 1999.

Switzerland's support generated a relevant and tangible impact in the past. Results achieved during 2011-2014 thanks to Swiss funded projects are, among others: (i) the living conditions of 120’000 inhabitants of rural areas of Ukraine have been enhanced thanks to more responsive local authorities and improved local services, in particular water supply and solid waste management; (ii) the infant mortality rate decreased on average from 9‰ to 5.5‰ in those regions of Ukraine supported by Swiss funded health projects; (iii) the municipal energy efficiency in the city of Vinnytsia improved considerably and Vinnytsia was rewarded as the first Ukrainian city with the European Energy Award for its efforts in this area; (iv) 11’000 small and medium agribusinesses in Ukraine are able to save 100 million USD annually thanks to a simplified business environment, e.g. the cancellation of the mandatory certification of grain quality and grain silos. The support provided during 2011-2014 amounted to CHF 57 million. For the period 2015-2018, Switzerland has decided to increase its support to Ukraine with an estimated contribution of CHF 100 million for the four years.

During 2015-2018, Switzerland is committed to promoting cohesion, inclusive democratic governance and sustainable social and economic development in Ukraine. In line with this overall goal, Switzerland will focus its support on the following domains: governance (in particular decentralization) and peacebuilding, health, energy efficiency and economic development. Therefore, Switzerland is strengthening its support in those areas where it has been active until now and has achieved tangible results, while on the same time it will also support the new reform agenda of Ukraine and promote peaceful solutions to the on-going armed conflict. Additionally, Switzerland provides humanitarian assistance to Ukraine through direct interventions and as part of international relief efforts.

While parts of the Swiss strategy will be implemented countrywide, special attention will be given to those areas of the country affected by the armed conflict and to vulnerable people.

The Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Ukraine 2015-2018 (PDF, Number of pages 48, 1.9 MB, English)

Local news, 26.10.2015

As a response to the continued humanitarian needs of the population in the conflict affected areas of Eastern Ukraine, the Humanitarian Aid Department of the Government of Switzerland delivered another shipment of 505 tons of water purification chemicals and medical supplies on both sides of the contact line on 26 October 2015. Switzerland recalls the obligation of all parties to the conflict to grant all humanitarian organizations rapid and unrestricted access to the people in need based on universally recognized humanitarian principles.

An assessment mission conducted by Swiss experts to the conflict affected areas at the end of August 2015 confirmed that humanitarian needs with regard to safe drinking water and healthcare persist. As a result of this finding, today a total of 31 trucks have been sent from Dnipropetrovsk to Krasnoarmiisk, Mariupol and Donetsk, respectively, providing the Vodadonbas water utility with different chemical products such as aluminum sulfate and chlorine for the disinfection of drinking water for the local population on both sides of the contact line. In addition, four hospitals in Donetsk have been provided with lab reagents, anti-cancer drugs and other medical goods. A similar shipment will be sent soon to two hospitals in Dnipropetrovsk.

The delivery of the humanitarian goods was organized with the active support of the Ukrainian authorities in Kyiv and interlocutors in the non-government controlled area of the Donetsk region. Precious logistical assistance for the preparation of the shipment was provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other international partner organizations. The transport itself was conducted by an expert team of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Department supported by the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss Cooperation Office in Kyiv. The total value of the consignment is approx. USD 1 million.

Between April and June 2015, Switzerland had already carried out two similar aid transports to Eastern Ukraine, benefitting the civilian population on both sides of the contact line. A total of 38 trucks carrying 740 tons of water-treatment chemicals and medical supplies were made available. Approximately 3.2 million people were thereby supplied with safe drinking water for more than six months. Furthermore, five hospitals were provided with medical equipment and medicines. As a result of this, in Dnipropetrovsk at least one hundred patients suffering from kidney failure received regular kidney dialysis, and in Donetsk chemotherapy for several hundred cancer patients and other treatments were ensured for three months.

Switzerland shares the concerns of international humanitarian actors about the suspension of most of their regular aid operations in the non-government controlled area since summer, despite the continuing need for shelter, drinking water and medical supplies especially for the local population living close to the contact line. The situation is also critical for the elderly, for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, and for families with no fixed income.

Switzerland therefore recalls all parties to the conflict the obligation to grant humanitarian organizations rapid and unrestricted access to those in need, particularly in view of the upcoming winter months, in accordance with universally agreed principles based on international humanitarian law.

Switzerland urges all parties to do their utmost to ensure permanent availability of - and access to - water, electricity, and gas as well as social and financial services. The capacities provided at checkpoints along the contact line should be further enhanced to improve freedom of movement across the contact line and within the region.

The recent stabilization of the ceasefire and certain progress achieved in the implementation of the Minsk Arrangements are welcomed developments. Switzerland once more expresses its hope for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the conflict.

Further information:

Embassy of Switzerland to Ukraine

vul. Kozyatynska 12, P.O. Box 114, UA-01015 Kyiv

Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine

vul. Hlybochytska 4, UA-04050 Kyiv