Switzerland supports Ukraine in its digital transition
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), supports a public services digital transformation project in Ukraine. Today, Patricia Danzi, the SDC Director General, and Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, sign a memorandum of understanding in Kyiv to extend the E-Governance for Accountability and Participation Program (EGAP). This project forms part of Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy and Digital Foreign Policy Strategy.
Mobile suitcases enable elderly people to access EGAP's e-services. © DFAE
Administrative tasks are being digitalised everywhere and Ukraine is no exception.
"The dynamic digital transformation we are currently witnessing in Ukraine is paving the way for improvements in the quality, transparency and efficiency of the country's public services, and in relations between its citizens and the government," explains Danzi.
The EGAP catalogue of tools and services
Under the memorandum binding the Swiss and Ukrainian governments, the Ministry of Digital Transformation and Swiss development cooperation will continue the work that was launched in 2015 as part of the EGAP project.
Thanks to this project, a whole host of digital tools and services have been developed and made available to Ukraine's citizens, businesses and government bodies, providing them with access to public services and electronic democracy.
EGAP includes strategic services that streamline processes, formulate strategies and improve legislation. The project develops tools, such as software and platforms for online services; provides training in digital literacy for the public and for specialists in government agencies; and promotes electronic devices among potential users.
More efficient and transparent public administration
The ability to deliver public services has become increasingly important during the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions on social contacts.
EGAP also adapts certain services and digital literacy activities to the needs of elderly and disabled people, rural communities and those in conflict-affected areas.
More than 2.5 million people across Ukraine already access e-services. Electronic democracy tools have been implemented in 350 municipalities in the form of online consultations and petitions, and participatory budgets.
The municipalities in the target regions of Vinnytsia, Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk and Odesa are deploying comprehensive digital transformation action plans that reinforce the benefits of the recent decentralisation reforms.
"The use of e-governance and e-democracy tools increases the national and local authorities' transparency and accountability, and contributes to more efficient government departments and public services, for the benefit of its citizens and businesses", says Ilona Postemska, the officer in charge of local governance and public sector reform programmes at the Swiss cooperation office in Ukraine.
Patricia Danzi in Ukraine
Ms Danzi, the SDC Director General, travelled to Ukraine from 24 to 28 May 2021. The purpose of the trip, in addition to signing the memorandum, was to visit the various projects the SDC supports and to organise the next convoy of humanitarian aid scheduled for delivery to eastern Ukraine this autumn. Switzerland is the only state actor providing direct humanitarian assistance on both sides of the contact line.
Switzerland's commitment to Ukraine
Since the 1990s, Switzerland has been developing and maintaining relations with Ukraine. It supports Ukraine on its path to peace and sustainable development
and, as such, is involved in a broad range of different areas, including democracy, health, the economy and humanitarian aid. Ukraine is a priority country for Switzerland's international cooperation and Swiss action is guided by its International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 and whole-of-government approach.
Switzerland's action plan is implemented by the SDC, the SDC's Swiss Humanitarian Aid, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division.
Switzerland aims to harness the potential of digitalisation in the implementation of its international cooperation. Its work is also guided by the recent Digital Foreign Policy Strategy 2021–24. Digital technology offers new opportunities in the fight against poverty and in supporting sustainability and diplomacy.