Ukraine Reform Conference from 4–5 July 2022 in Lugano (URC2022)
Switzerland is hosting the fifth Ukraine Reform Conference (URC2022) in Lugano from 4–5 July 2022. The international event, which is being co-organised with Ukraine, falls squarely under the priorities of Switzerland's foreign policy strategy (peace and security, prosperity, sustainability and digitalisation).
The conference demonstrates Switzerland's support for the only country on the European continent currently affected by armed conflict. We are the fifth largest bilateral donor in Ukraine, which is also one of the few countries where the Swiss international cooperation strategy is implemented using all of its instruments (development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding).
URC2022 gives us the opportunity to foster an inclusive approach to the reform agenda in Ukraine based on shared responsibility. Switzerland will be able to support Ukraine with its expertise, engagement and unique position as a non-EU and non-NATO European country. Conference participants will include Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, 20 other ministers, and representatives from the private sector and civil society.
In the run-up to the ministerial conference, a number of events have been planned in and outside Ukraine under the banner 'On the road to Lugano'. The theme of the conference in Switzerland, which is entitled 'Reforms for all, all for reforms', underscores that the long-term success of the reforms in Ukraine depends on inclusiveness and shared responsibility among the central, regional and local authorities, the private sector, academia, civil society and the citizens themselves.
Key points of the Ukraine Reform Conference process
- After the Euromaidan in 2013–14, Ukraine embarked on an ambitious reform programme. The authorities have effected more reforms in the last seven years than in the previous two decades since Ukraine's independence in 1991. Euromaidan crystallised the Ukrainian people's aspirations for a more European direction and closer alignment with European values for their social contract and international orientation. Although the revolution proved to be a great source of inspiration and a driver of Ukraine's reforms, it was the association agreement and free trade agreement with the EU as well as visa liberalisation that actually anchored the country's reform agenda. To date, Ukraine has undergone landmark reforms in banking, decentralisation and digital transformation.
- The Ukraine Reform Conference (URC) takes place once a year and provides an annual overview of developments. It was launched in London in 2017 (2018 Copenhagen, 2019 Toronto and, due to COVID-19, only again in 2021 in Vilnius). The goal of the URC is for Ukraine to present the progress it has made, for international partners to express support, and for all stakeholders to examine what steps to take next to advance the reform process. Each URC is co-organised by the foreign ministers of the host country and Ukraine.
- The conferences have been attended by a number of prominent people from Europe and North America representing politics, business and civil society. In view of how important the reform agenda is for Ukraine, after his election in 2019 President Zelensky also decided to attend the URC conferences. In addition to state representatives, major organisations such as the IMF, World Bank, NATO, EBRD, EIB, EU, OECD, UNDP and Council of Europe are also invited.
On 7–8 July 2021, Lithuania and Ukraine will co-host the Ukraine Reform Conference in Vilnius (URC2021), the fourth edition after London (2017), Copenhagen (2018) and Toronto (2019). The URC is an opportunity for Ukraine to present the concrete progress it has made as well as its political objectives post-2021.
The Ukraine Reform Conference is an important annual event focusing on the progress of reforms in Ukraine. The third edition took place on 2–4 July 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The URC is key to bringing together Ukrainian authorities and international partners in order to assess the democratic transformation and reforms that have been taking place in the country since 2014.
On 6 July 2017, the UK and Ukraine co-hosted the first major international Ukraine Reform Conference in London. The reform programme that had been launched in 2014 was the most comprehensive and ambitious since Ukraine's independence. However, there is still a long way to go, and the commitment of the Ukrainian government as well as continued international support remains crucial. URC2017 brought together Ukraine and its international partners in order to step up support for the country's reforms.