The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) have played an active role in Ukraine since 1999 as part of cooperation with Eastern Europe. The new 2015-2018 cooperation strategy for Ukraine builds upon the strengths of the existing programme and focuses on the new requirements that have emerged since the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict. Two additional Swiss actors will be involved in the development and implementation of the strategy – the FDFA’s Human Security Division (HSD) and Swiss Humanitarian Aid.
As part of the new strategy and as a response to the conflict, Switzerland is providing support in both western and eastern Ukraine in four areas – governance and peacebuilding, health, energy and the economy. The annual budget for Swiss support in Ukraine will stand at between CHF 22 and 25 million over the coming years. Dialogue and participative processes will also be promoted in all existing priority sectors.
A large number of projects
Within the framework of the cooperation strategy SECO is supporting projects in Ukraine in the areas of energy efficiency, sustainable urban development and sustainable economic development. One of the projects (organic market development) aims to improve the competitiveness of the organic sector, helping to increase the quality and trade volumes of organic crops and organic dairy products. SECO is also supporting the development of small and medium-sized companies as part of the “Strengthening SME Membership Organisations” initiative. A coherent energy management system is being launched at municipal level through the “Energy Efficiency Vinnytsa” project to ensure maximum energy efficiency. This project also endeavours to raise awareness about energy efficiency and renewable energies.
Within the framework of its cooperation strategy, the SDC’s cooperation with Eastern Europe strengthens governance, decentralisation and healthcare facilities in Ukraine and contributes towards conflict transformation through broad-based dialogue with the government on legislative reforms. The Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralisation Support Project, for example, aims to optimise governance and to support efficient local development in the country. This also seeks to drive forward the democratisation process. The goal of a further project (Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Health Promotion) is to improve the health and well-being of the Ukrainian people by enhancing government capacities to monitor and counteract non-communicable diseases.
As far as Swiss Humanitarian Aid – which is a department of the SDC – is concerned, commitment has thus far focused on providing financial support and personnel for the multilateral organisations operating on both sides of the line of contact. This year Swiss Humanitarian Aid will concentrate on four bilateral lines of action (coordination of humanitarian aid on the ground, health, emergency aid and drinking water). Direct action concerning health and water supply has been undertaken since April 2015. One of the initiatives organised by Swiss Humanitarian Aid was an aid convoy on 15 May 2015 which transported chemical products for the treatment of drinking water to people in need in the Donetsk region.
The HSD is primarily focusing on the ending and transformation of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. The HSD is working in the fields of peacebuilding, human rights, international law and dealing with the past together with various national and international partners, such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Crimean Human Rights Field Mission and swisspeace. Its plans include closer involvement in the OSCE’s monitoring mission. Switzerland is also supporting a swisspeace project aiming to establish a relationship of trust in order to initiate dialogue amongst the population in Ukraine and Russia and, in particular, between the Ukrainian and Russian people along the border.
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