As part of its phasing out of bilateral development cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean by the end of 2024, Switzerland is focusing on winding down its more than 20 years of development policy engagement in Cuba in a responsible manner. The main priority is to ensure the sustainability of the results achieved. The thematic focus is on participatory and inclusive local development. 

© 2014 Natural Earth

Cuba is currently experiencing the worst crisis since the 1990s. Political, economic and social challenges are adversely affecting the living conditions of the Cuban population. The government can no longer guarantee access to basic necessities (food, medicine, fuel, etc.). This has drastic consequences for food security, employment, health and education. The human rights situation has also deteriorated. 

As part of its 2022–24 cooperation programme, Switzerland is phasing out its long-standing bilateral development cooperation with Cuba. 

Local development

The current crisis in Cuba underscores the importance of strengthening local sustainable development. Opportunities should be seized to launch economic and social initiatives and involve the population in decision-making at a decentralised level. During the phase-out, Switzerland is prioritising support for ongoing reform processes and initiatives to improve the living conditions of the Cuban population. Swiss programmes are focused on participatory and inclusive local development in the areas of municipal governance, access to food, sustainable local economic development, social inclusion and gender equality. Switzerland is also active in the areas of culture and health.

Approach and partners

In implementing its cooperation programme in Cuba, Switzerland works closely with partners with long-standing experience, innovative capacity and thematic expertise. The SDC has a broad, well-established network of partners with various national government institutions as well as with national and international NGOs, the UN and official bilateral development cooperation agencies. Some of the existing programmes are being transferred to the Cuban authorities or to other development agencies. 

Current projects

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Contribución al Programa mediCuba-Suiza

05.10.2022 - 30.06.2024

La Fase III del Programa mCS en Cuba contribuye al fortalecimiento de los servicios públicos de salud, afrontando las secuelas de la Covid-19 en sectores de la población más vulnerables a sus efectos a medio y largo plazo. Lo hace fortaleciendo las capacidades del Ministerio de Salud publico (MINSAP) con materiales, capacitación y equipamiento indispensable; así como aumentando las capacidades de la industria nacional para la producción local de medicamentos, disminuyendo así gastos de importaciones.

PYE - Participation and Equity Platform

01.12.2021 - 30.06.2024

PYE, phase 3, aims to consolidate in a platform the efforts of 15 Cuban civil society actors, including the 6 partners part of the Gender Equity Program (PEGIN), for the promotion of laws and public policies to improve human rights in Cuba, in the areas of gender, race, poverty and social inclusion to promote legislative, social and public policy changes, with the promotion of activism and leadership of local actors.

Inclusive Urbanisation

08.11.2021 - 31.12.2024

The program contributes to inclusive urbanization in Central America in partnership with UN-Habitat with the aim to improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations in urban settlements. Solid data and evidence on informal settlements and specialised advisory will contribute to improve urban policies. Capacity building, participatory planning approaches and increased involvement of the private sector will foster comprehensive and feasible solutions for informal settlements. 

PAAS - Project to Support Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba

15.07.2021 - 30.06.2024

The phase 3 of PAAS proposes the consolidation of a methodology for the application and scaling up of the value chain management model. It includes elements of circular economy, climate-smart agriculture and agro-ecological certification in 11 municipalities and 5 chains (cassava, broiler chicken meat, small livestock, fruit trees and vegetables). The project expects to have an impact on agricultural public policies by incorporating the model into the guidelines of the prioritized national agricultural programs.

PRODEL - Program for strengthening municipal capacities for local development

01.04.2021 - 30.06.2024

PRODEL III contributes to the decentralization reform through introducing its municipal autonomy approach into new laws and policies, through training of “multipliers” and creation of advisory services to extend its tool of Municipal Development Strategy to more municipalities. The EDM strengthens municipal autonomy and efficient use of local resources for production infrastructure and services, while promoting participation and inclusion.

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