Switzerland to step up its commitment to Ukraine

Municipal employees receive residents for consultation in an office.
Switzerland will further pursue and strengthen Swiss support for the private sector. (A small farm company in the Ukrainian Carpathians.) © SECO

Peace promotion, humanitarian aid and sustainable urban planning are new components of Switzerland's strategy on cooperation with Ukraine for the period from 2015 to 2018.  In addition Switzerland plans to build on tried and tested elements of its support in the areas of healthcare, decentralisation, energy efficiency and the private sector.

Switzerland's new strategy on cooperation with Ukraine for 2015–2018 continues its engagement in the country to date and at the same time expands its field of activity.  The new dimensions respond to two central developments: the change in the situation as a result of the armed conflict in the country and the government's efforts to carry out reforms.

The activities planned in each of Switzerland's four areas of activity thus respond to the conflict and its consequences. They will be carried out, as before, by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the FDFA and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). In addition, the Human Security Division (HSD) of the FDFA and Swiss Humanitarian Aid, part of the SDC, will now participate in implementing the strategy:

  • Governance and peacebuilding
    A peacebuilding dimension will now be added to Switzerland's support for local governance and decentralisation.

  • Health promotion
    The SDC, which has been active for more than 10 years in the field of maternal and child health, will now extend its activities to include promoting primary healthcare and preventing non-communicable diseases, in particular in communities affected by the conflict.

     

  • Energy and sustainable urban development 
    The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs' engagement in the field of energy efficiency will now include promoting sustainable urban planning.

     

  • Sustainable economic development
    The strategy will further pursue and strengthen Swiss support for the private sector, in particular by helping to create a better environment for business and finance and by promoting small and medium-sized enterprises.

Switzerland's activities in Ukraine

Two new Swiss actors

New Swiss actors will be involved in developing and implementing the new cooperation strategy programme:  In addition the SDC and SECO, which have been active in Ukraine for more than 15 years, the Human Security Division (HSD) and Swiss Humanitarian Aid will supplement Switzerland's activities in Ukraine. 

The HSD will focus primarily on the conflict situation in the east of the country to continue the efforts Switzerland undertook during its chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). In addition to various bilateral projects Switzerland plans to step up its participation in the OSCE's monitoring.  It will aim to improve relations between the conflicting parties, promote respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, and strengthen the key political processes needed to resolve the conflict 

Swiss Humanitarian Aid is responding to the humanitarian situation and has given funding to the activities of organisations such as the ICRC, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

The Swiss cooperation office in Kyiv will also be provided with additional staff and its budget will be substantially increased from CHF 57 million for the 2011–2014 period to almost CHF 100 million for 2015–2018. SECO remains the largest contributor to Switzerland's cooperation programme in Ukraine.

Support for the most vulnerable groups

Switzerland's involvement will be neutral and impartial and will be strengthened in those regions directly affected by the conflict and/or those with a large number of displaced persons. It will aim to support the development of the country, including the poor, the most disadvantaged and minority groups.

Difficult context

Switzerland's new strategy on cooperation with Ukraine for 2015–2018 has been developed in the context of the current turbulent socio-political and geostrategic context. The annexation of Crimea in violation of international law in spring 2014 and the outbreak of armed conflict in the Donbass region are two factors behind the internal and international tensions. Large numbers of people have been forced to find refuge in other parts of the country. Ukrainian society has polarised and poverty is increasing. 

This is all taking place against the backdrop of a major economic crisis involving a dramatic fall-off in industrial production and the devaluation of the national currency, which has lost half its value in one year.  These are just two indicators of the extent of the economic collapse under way.

Urgent reform needed

The armed conflict and its economic consequences, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other agencies have provided massive financial support to overcome, have made clear the urgent need for the country to restore its finances and carry out radical and rapid structural reforms. 

Under pressure from western creditors and the domestic reformist movement the Kyiv government has undertaken first steps to reorganise the power structure, the economy and the workings of the state. 

Building a new system

This situation has presented Ukraine with an enormous challenge but also an opportunity to make major decisions on the direction of a new, more modern and efficient system, one based on the principles of the rule of law and market economics, democracy and transparency that will put an end to corruption which is one of the main problems of contemporary Ukrainian society. For the lenders, this necessary reorientation offers an opportunity to contribute to the development of the country through supporting its strategic priorities. 

 

Current projects

Object 13 – 16 of 16

Supporting the Medical Education Reform in Ukraine

01.05.2017 - 30.11.2022


A profound health reform is underway in Ukraine. The currently ill-prepared medical education system is a fundamental component of it. Training curricula are outdated and teaching staff lack essentials skills, capacities and motivation. This project supports the reform of the medical education system for family doctors and nurses, and the strengthening of competencies of healthcare managers. As a result, significant quality improvements of health care delivered to the population are expected.


Support Reforms and Good Governance in the Health System in Ukraine

01.12.2016 - 30.11.2020

SDC supports the ongoing health reform aiming at tackling the root causes of the poor health status of Ukrainian population. This project leverages and strengthens the impact of a World Bank loan which intends to improve the quality and efficiency of health care services in selected regions.


Multi-Country Investment Climate Program

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2024

The Multi-Country Investment Climate Program (MCICP) supports investment climate reform advisory in a total of 20 SECO partner countries. It is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a globally recognized leader in this field.


Crop Receipts Project Ukraine

01.06.2015 - 30.06.2020

The Crop Receipt project facilitates access to finance for small and midsize agri-businesses in Ukraine. Crop receipts essentially are loan agreements between a farmer and a creditor, where the loan is repaid by the future harvest or the proceeds from its sale. Given the vast untapped agriculture potential and its importance for agrarian SME development, the Crop Receipt project is key to facilitate economic inclusion of small and midsize farmers through the provision of growth capital. The project is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and was launched in 2015.

Object 13 – 16 of 16