All 38 projects were successfully completed by June 2017. The initial objectives have been achieved and in some projects even surpassed.
Results in the Czech Republic
An overview of the results:
91 Czech doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers took part in a fixed-term research residency at a Swiss university thanks to a SCIEX fellowship. The programme helped the young researchers boost their careers (in 92% of cases) and expand their scientific network. It also intensified research partnerships between Swiss and Czech universities
Transparent financial reporting
Thanks to training courses (in total around 7,800 participant days) plus five study visits, authorities and associations have acquired expertise in the area of international standards for financial reporting and auditing. The exchange of experiences with the Federal Audit Oversight Authority, FINMA and Swiss Re facilitates practical application of the knowledge.
SME lending programme
46 innovative SMEs were awarded loans as part of this programme, creating 308 jobs.
Health and quality of life in old age
Ten retirement homes and care institutions were renovated as part of the Swiss contribution. The improvements and additional equipment have given the elderly people, some of whom have dementia, a better quality of life. For example, the ageing infrastructure of the Rožnov pod Radhoštěm retirement home in the east of the Czech Republic has been renovated to international standards, offering additional care options. In addition to a far more secure and comfortable home, residents enjoy access to new therapeutic methods such as music therapy. Finally, nursing staff and social workers have gained additional skills through further training.
Switzerland is funding measures to improve public transport in the Czech Republic. A 1.4 km tram line now connects a heavily populated neighbourhood of Olomouc to the city's tram network. Renovated tram stops in Ostrava have improved safety for passengers. In addition, the creation of a new interchange has made it possible to extend a tramline to replace an overcrowded bus line. A new trolleybus service has also filled a gap in the local transport network.. The bus stations in Uherský Brod and Beroun were moved close to the train stations, shortening connection times.
Small-scale environmental projects
A Swiss-backed fund supported 22 environmental projects put forward by different municipalities and organisations. For example, the town of Prachatice organised seminars and excursions on the theme of waste separation and composting. Another project breathed new life into the Negrelli Viaduct in Prague, inviting restaurants, shops and exhibitions to open under its arches. An architectural study, a study visit to Zurich's viaduct quarter and initial pilot projects under the Negrelli Viaduct arches were carried out as part of this project.
Switzerland is financing a project to modernise the Czech Republic’s judicial system through probation programmes, providing alternatives to prison for certain categories of offender such as young offenders and drink drivers. The project also includes measures to reintegrate young offenders into society and the job market. The results produced by PUNKT, an innovative pilot project aimed at young offenders, are particularly promising. The project has been awarded accreditation which will secure it the funding it needs to continue without Swiss support.
Managing natural disasters and emergency situations
The Czech Republic is not immune to major natural and human-made disasters that pose an increasing threat throughout the world. In 1997, Interpol recommended that all member states establish and assemble a disaster victim identification team to identify victims as rapidly as possible in the event of a disaster. Until a few years ago, the Czech Republic did not have such a team. Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU allowed it to acquire the necessary equipment and train specialists for this delicate task. Switzerland (Fedpol and the Swiss disaster victim identification team) worked in close collaboration with the Czech team to transfer the required knowledge. The members of the Czech team are now able to intervene in accordance with the norms established by Interpol in the event of natural disasters, road or rail accidents, aviation accidents and attacks.
This fund aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences between the institutions of new EU member states and their Swiss partners. Some of the 79 project partnerships will continue beyond the current support provided by Switzerland with the planning and implementation of new joint initiatives. A partnership to encourage non-motorised transport in the Czech Republic is one of 79 supported projects. The partnership gave a Czech delegation the opportunity to discover the services offered by the SwitzerlandMobility foundation and gain an insight into non-motorised transport in Switzerland.
Support funding for NGOs
Non-governmental organisations obtained support from a fund to promote and strengthen civil society participation in the economic and social development of the Czech Republic. In total, 72 projects were carried out thanks to this fund, including 35 environmental and 37 social services projects. Half of the NGOs participating in the programme have benefited from institutional capacity-building measures and over 60% of them report that the project supported under the programme has been instrumental in their growth. Some environmental projects have resulted in legislative adaptations. A significant number of new social services developed by NGOs now receive local government funding.