Brussels 11.06.2022 The Ukraine Reform Conference scheduled to take place on 4 and 5 July has been renamed the Ukraine Recovery Conference to reflect the new focus of the gathering. The way to rebuild Ukraine is through a broad-based political and diplomatic process. Switzerland and Ukraine want to start this process in Lugano. Discussions will focus on Ukraine’s reconstruction and development programme and on contributions from international partners.
The conference is being co-organised by Ukraine and Switzerland and demonstrates Switzerland’s support for the only country on the European continent currently affected by armed conflict. Prior to Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022, Switzerland was the fifth largest bilateral donor in Ukraine, which is also one of the few countries where the Swiss international cooperation strategy is being implemented using all of its instruments (development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding).
Hosting the URC2022 in Switzerland gives us the opportunity to foster an inclusive approach to the reform agenda in Ukraine based on shared responsibility. The URC2022 conference will now go beyond reforms and is aimed at rebuilding Ukraine. Switzerland will be able to support Ukraine with its expertise, engagement and unique position as a non-EU and non-NATO European country.
URC2022 is expected to attract international delegations as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society. Details are not yet known. The participation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Shmyhal is confirmed, but in what form (physical or virtual) depends on how the situation evolves.
After the Euromaidan in 2013, Ukraine embarked on an ambitious reform programme. Since then, the authorities have effected more reforms than in the 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.