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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2023 Annual Allocation to WFP Country Strategic Plans - Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2023

Against historic levels of food security due to conflicts, climate change and COVID-19, Switzerland supports annually in 28 SDC priority countries operations of the World Food Programme to provide humanitarian and development assistance. It funds indistinctively Country Strategic Plans, incorporating all WFP programmes or projects, based on affected population needs and potential synergies with other local partners, especially national governments and civil society.

WFP, Hurrican Ian Response, Cuba

01.12.2022 - 31.05.2024

Hurricane Ian has caused significant losses in the agricultural and fishing sector limiting the availability and access to food and affecting the livelihoods of the population in the provinces Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Mayabeque and Isla de la Juventud. With its contribution to the World Food Programme through the United Nations Plan of Action, SDC helps providing food assistance and restore food production and livelihoods to meet the needs of 798’000 severely affected people in those provinces.

PROFET – Programme for Strengthening Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in Cuba

31.10.2022 - 31.05.2024

PROFET contributes to improve the integration of young people, especially women and disadvantaged groups, into the labour market by assessing demand in the productive sector, improving training quality in priority specialties for the economy of the country, promoting cooperation between educational institutions and the productive public and private sectors, and providing local counselling services for young people looking for jobs.

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 - 30.06.2024

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 - 31.12.2023

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.

Support for cooperative management in the agricultural sector in Cuba (APOCOOP)

01.08.2019 - 31.03.2024

APOCOOP contributes to food security in 17 municipalities by improving the management of agricultural cooperatives, strengthening tools and enhancing the capacities and conditions of cooperative members and other actors. It promotes models of inter-cooperation between agricultural cooperatives, with gender equity, resilience and economic, social and environmental sustainability, and to socialize results and methods in spaces of influence on land policies in Cuba.

PADIT - Programa Plataforma Articulada para el Desarrollo Integral de los Territorios

06.12.2017 - 31.12.2023

PADIT apoya el fortalecimiento del desarrollo local en Cuba, genera herramientas de gestión descentralizada basadas en la articulación y cooperación entre niveles de decisión (nacional, provincial, municipal e intermunicipal) y entre el sector público y el privado y cooperativo para crear servicios y actividades productivas y mejorar opciones de empleo e ingresos, con énfasis en mujeres y jóvenes. A la vez, PADIT moviliza la participación ciudadana en las decisiones locales.

Programa de apoyo a la Equidad y Participación local - PYE

01.06.2017 - 31.12.2021

En el contexto de la descentralización del desarrollo en curso en Cuba, la Cooperación Suiza apoya a los gobiernos locales, las comunidades y actores de la sociedad civil en la disminución de brechas de equidad. Mediante nueve organizaciones (cuatro ONG nacionales, tres proyectos comunitarios, una agencia de prensa y un centro académico) con experticia en género, medio ambiente, cultura, racialidad y vulnerabilidad, este proyecto promueve el desarrollo equitativo y la inclusión social.

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