All four stakeholders in Switzerland's international cooperation are active in Ukraine

The joint commitment of SECO, the SDC (Cooperation with East and Humanitarian Aid) and the Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) helps implement effective, coherent and flexible support to Ukraine.

The Ukraine Maidan revolution from 2013 to 2014 united all levels of society against a Soviet-inspired socio-economic system people no longer accepted. Since gaining independence in 1991, Ukraine has fought constantly to end the oligarchy, corruption and financial instability that have plunged its people into poverty. The Maidan Revolution emerged in every region of the country and triggered a vast programme of structural reforms that aimed to improve the state’s institutions as well as social well-being.

Since then, the focus has been on initiating political, economic and social transitions in the country with the support of a host of national, international and multilateral actors. But the promised reforms have often faced formidable obstacles: an armed conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the energy and environmental transition have presented the Ukrainian authorities with further challenges. With so much work to do and so many actors involved, it gradually became clear to all that coordination would have to be reinforced (see next article).

Russia's military attack on Ukraine on 24 February poses a major challenge to the transition process. The priorities of the Ukrainian government are changing and reforms are being delayed. In the face of the fighting, the humanitarian situation is coming to the fore, and dialogue and reconciliation processes appear to have been suspended. The challenges in the areas of peace, economy and sustainable development will undoubtedly be even greater after the war.

Switzerland’s existing engagement will continue where possible under the strictest security measures. At the same time, resources will be shifted to meet Ukraine’s changing needs and planned with reconstruction in mind.

More than 25 years of Swiss engagement in Ukraine

Switzerland's international cooperation remains present in Ukraine. It has worked to support the country for more than 25 years; in just under two decades it has contributed the equivalent of CHF 27 million per year for aid work on the ground.

It works via the four stakeholders of its international cooperation: the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the SDC's Cooperation with Eastern Europe and Humanitarian Aid divisions, and the FDFA's PHRD. This makes Ukraine one of the few countries where Switzerland is deploying a cooperation programme using all of its available tools. This allows it to guarantee the coherence, complementarity and effectiveness of the Confederation's work in the country. The four stakeholders work transversally across several priority intervention areas, developing initiatives to support peace, prosperity, stability and digitalisation.

Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy and the 2030 Agenda

As part of its work in Ukraine, Switzerland is actively involved in the OSCE. Its support for reforms – whether they relate to decentralisation, the economy, health, or promoting respect for international humanitarian law and human rights – aims to provide the local population with adequate framework conditions and high-quality services.

These actions are all contained in the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24, which is itself an instrument of Switzerland's foreign policy. This increased commitment is also included in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Last update 20.06.2022

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