President Cassis, President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Shmyhal open URC2022

Bern, 04.07.2022 - On Monday, 4 July, President Ignazio Cassis together with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, via video link from Kyiv, and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in person in Lugano, opened the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022) to launch the reconstruction process at the international level. The conference, which in addition to Switzerland and Ukraine, was attended by delegations from the European Union, 39 states and 16 international organisations, runs until Tuesday. In his opening speech, President Cassis outlined the objectives of URC2022.

President Cassis explained that it was crucial to set the framework for a long-term reconstruction process in Lugano: "A prerequisite for success is that the original conference idea (institutional reforms) and the current conference idea (targeted reconstruction) form a whole!"

Discussions at URC2022 will focus on Ukraine's reconstruction and development plan and the contributions of international partners, with particular attention given to the principles of reconstruction. The programme includes separate working sessions on Monday afternoon on requirements in the areas of the economy, social affairs, digitalisation, infrastructure and environmental protection.

In addition to reaching an understanding on principles, the aim in Lugano will also be to underline the broad support of international partners for the reconstruction process in Ukraine. At the end of the conference, President Cassis and Prime Minister Shmyhal want to present a Lugano Declaration setting out the most important results. The document is intended to serve as a framework for the political process of reconstruction and contains the Lugano Principles as common benchmarks for the future.

Further steps in the URC process were also defined in Lugano on Monday: UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced that the next conference in this framework will be organised by the UK together with Ukraine. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen presented the initiative for a reconstruction platform and declared the Lugano Principles to be the cornerstone for the next stages of the process.

Sustainable reconstruction

Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, the head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), will take part in talks on infrastructure reconstruction. In her remarks, she will highlight Ukraine's enormous achievement in managing to keep many important infrastructures up and running despite the war, and already taking steps to shape the future. Ms Sommaruga will also emphasise that reconstruction offers the opportunity to build infrastructure in a more sustainable way.

Federal Councillor Sommaruga and Ukrainian Environment Minister Ruslan Strilets signed a climate agreement before the start of the conference in Lugano. The agreement mobilises funds beyond those available for international cooperation, and enables climate protection measures that go beyond existing programmes, thereby reinforcing climate-friendly development in Ukraine.

President Cassis and Federal Councillor Sommaruga will take advantage of the opportunity to hold bilateral talks with their counterparts.

Side events and cultural programme

Several side events will take place on the fringes of the conference. On Monday, the programme included events for civil society and parliamentarians. The aim of each was to discuss the conditions for inclusive reconstruction. An event for representatives of the business community will take place on Tuesday following the main political segment of URC2022.

The diversity of Ukrainian culture will also be on display to the people of Lugano on Monday. The cultural programme included a classical concert at the LAC cultural centre with pianist Oleksiy Botvinov and an open-air concert in the Piazza Alessandro Manzoni with a performance by a Ukrainian folk band and a DJ.


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General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC
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