Ukraine at heart of talks in Davos

The FDFA is taking part at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, where it is placing the spotlight on the situation in Ukraine. To this end, the fourth meeting of national security advisers on implementing President Zelenskyy's peace formula for Ukraine took place the day before the Forum's official start on 15 January 2024. Switzerland's commitment to peace was also reaffirmed during the Ukrainian president's visit to Bern. During his meetings in Davos, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis is also highlighting European security and the need to prioritise mine action in Ukraine.

Federal Councillor Cassis speaks alongside the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak.

In Davos, Switzerland provided the platform to discuss the Ukrainian President's peace formula with high-ranking representatives of numerous nations from all continents of the world. © World Economic Forum

The situation in Ukraine continues to be at the heart of the FDFA's concerns at this year's gathering in Davos. On 14 January 2024, the day before the World Economic Forum's official start, Switzerland and Ukraine organised the fourth meeting of national security advisers on implementing President Zelenskyy's peace formula. The conference, which was chaired by Mr Cassis and the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, closed with a series of technical talks on the principles of establishing lasting peace in Ukraine. "By organising this conference, Switzerland has made an important contribution to future talks on a just and lasting peace in Ukraine", said Cassis.

President Viola Amherd stands at a lectern to the right of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
At the media conference with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President Viola Amherd announces that Switzerland is willing to organise a high level meeting on the Ukrainian peace formula. © Keystone

But what exactly is the peace formula? The 10-point peace plan includes condemnation of Russia's military aggression, the need to protect human lives, and the restoration of Ukraine's security and territorial integrity. The current meeting of national security advisers in Davos follows on from editions in Copenhagen, Jeddah and Malta. Switzerland has welcomed President Zelenskyy's peace formula, as it does any initiative that could provide a basis for negotiating lasting peace. 

Peace formula: Federal Councillor Cassis chairs meeting of security advisors in Davos

Switzerland’s commitment remains centred on security for the Ukrainian population, a key issue the FDFA is underscoring at this year's World Economic Forum with a particular focus on humanitarian demining.

What is Switzerland doing for Ukraine? Nicolas Bideau, Head of Communications at the FDFA, sums up Switzerland's support for the civilian population, with a focus on humanitarian demining.

Mine action expertise

Switzerland does not only take part in multilateral discussions on the future of Ukraine. It is also providing concrete support to people on the ground affected by the war. To mark Geneva Day on 16 January 2024 at this year's World Economic Forum, the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in Geneva and the FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division are hosting an event on mine action, which will also be attended by President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd and Mr Cassis. Since the launch of Russia's military operations, up to one-third of Ukraine's territory is estimated to be contaminated by mines or other explosive devices.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the conference on humanitarian demining at the House of Switzerland in Davos.
President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis participated in a panel on humanitarian demining in Ukraine on the sidelines of the WEF. © Presence Switzerland

What does this have to do with Geneva Day? Switzerland has a longstanding humanitarian tradition in demining as well as a platform that brings together a wide range of mine action expertise – International Geneva, home to the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and the Fondation suisse de déminage (FSD), an organisation carrying out mine action projects in Ukraine.

Davos marks the start of the path towards a new stage in humanitarian demining, which will continue to take shape in International Geneva.

De Zagreb et Davos: «Road to Geneva»

The mine action meeting at this year's World Economic Forum is one of the stages on the FDFA's 'Road to Geneva' roadmap, which began at a donors' conference in October 2023 in Zagreb. At the conference, Mr Cassis reported the Federal Council's decision to allocate CHF 100 million for mine clearance in Ukraine's civilian areas. He also announced that Switzerland would be hosting an international conference on humanitarian demining on 17 and 18 October 2024 in Geneva. An additional stop on the roadmap is Switzerland's support in preparing a technical workshop in Kyiv planned for spring 2024, which is being organised by Ukraine and the GICHD.

Action contre les mines en Ukraine: Road to Geneva 2024

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the World Economic Forum

At Davos this year, the head of the FDFA is concentrating his activities on the situation in Ukraine, the conflict in the Middle East and the European dossier. A meeting with European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has also been scheduled in order to discuss Swiss-EU relations.

In addition to bilateral meetings and the mine action conference on 16 January, Mr Cassis will take part in a conference on science diplomacy organised by the FDFA. Topics to be addressed at the conference include Switzerland's efforts, together with other countries, to ensure that the technological advances being made in the field of quantum computing are accessible to all, and that they are used to drive forward the achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis' speeches at the World Economic Forum

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