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, 2.0 MB, English)

Local news, 31.01.2015

In the year following its Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Switzerland continues to take an active part at the helm of the organisation within the Troika as part of its commitment to maintain security and stability in the OSCE area. Together with Switzerland in the Troika are the current OSCE Chair, Serbia, and the country that takes over the Chairmanship in 2016, Germany.  Ukraine remains a major priority.

The OSCE Troika in 2015 is composed of Didier Burkhalter, Ivica Dačić and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. © MFA Serbia
The OSCE Troika in 2015 is composed of Didier Burkhalter, Ivica Dačić and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. © MFA Serbia

Switzerland held the OSCE Chairmanship in 2014 – for the second time since it first held the post in 1996. In 2015, Switzerland continues at the helm of the OSCE within the framework of the Troika, which comprises the current Chair, Serbia, the previous year's Chair, Switzerland, and the country that takes over the Chair in the following year, Germany. The purpose of the Troika is to ensure continuity in the OSCE's political priorities.

Of prime important for the OSCE is the need to continue in 2015 its efforts to de-escalate and overcome the crisis in Ukraine. Switzerland remains committed to finding a political solution to the conflict on the basis of the Minsk agreements of September 2014 that were negotiated between the Trilateral Contact Group and representatives of the separatist groups from eastern Ukraine. The Trilateral Contact Group comprises representatives of Ukraine and Russia. Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini of Switzerland continues to work in this body as special envoy of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.  Switzerland supports the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMMU) financially and by seconding experts. The SMMU was established on 21 March 2014 under the Swiss Chairmanship and with the agreement of all OSCE participating States.

The Ukraine crisis has brought to the surface a crisis of confidence among the participating States. For this reason Switzerland attaches great importance to cooperative security and restoring confidence within Europe. In close cooperation with Serbia and Germany, Switzerland set up a group of 15 eminent persons mandated to draw conclusions from the Ukraine crisis and to support the OSCE participating States in conducting an inclusive and constructive dialogue on security in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region.