Path to reconstruction passes through Lugano – President Cassis presents plans for URC2022

Bellinzona, 20.06.2022 - On Monday, 20 June, at their traditional meeting, President Ignazio Cassis and the government of Ticino held discussions on preparations for the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022). High-level delegations from around 40 countries and 20 international organisations have been invited to attend the conference, which will take place in Lugano on 4 and 5 July. President Cassis briefed the media today in Bellinzona together with Ticino Cantonal Councillor Norman Gobbi, Police Commander Matteo Cocchi and representatives from the armed forces and fedpol.

President Cassis thanked the Ticino authorities for their support in the run-up to URC2022 and expressed confidence that the people of the city of Lugano would show understanding for the restrictions in place around the conference venue in early July. “The outpouring of sympathy among the people of Switzerland and in Ticino due to the war in Ukraine can be seen in the great solidarity shown for the refugees. The path to reconstruction leads through a broad-based political and diplomatic process. Switzerland and Ukraine want to launch this process in Lugano together with international partners,” said Mr Cassis.

International delegations from over 40 countries and around 20 international organisations have been invited to attend URC2022. In addition to the European Union, international organisations such as the OECD and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will be represented at the highest level and several prime ministers and foreign ministers have confirmed their attendance. Registrations are still coming in and the composition of the delegations will be subject to change until the last minute. Ukraine will be represented in Lugano by several ministers. The participation of President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal is confirmed, but in what form (in person or virtually) depends on developments in Ukraine. Representatives from the private sector and civil society are also expected to attend.

As decided by the Federal Council at its meeting on 10 June, the federal government will contribute 80 percent of the security costs incurred by the Canton of Ticino. The authorities of the Canton of Ticino, in particular the cantonal police, are responsible for the overall management of the operation. The security concept will be continuously adapted to the situation. Its aim “will be to ensure a high level of security while keeping the inconvenience to the public and disruption to commercial activity in the city centre to a minimum,” explained Matteo Cocchi, Chief of the Cantonal Police.

The Federal Council has also approved the subsidiary deployment of up to 1,600 Armed Forces personnel as partners in the Swiss Security Network, as well as a temporary restriction on the use of airspace. In cooperation with Italy, the Swiss Air Force will reinforce its air police service with combat aircraft and ground-based air defence assets.

Conference to close with Lugano Declaration

The conference will address the current proposals for Ukraine's reconstruction and the contribution that can be made by international partners. The agenda includes in particular the priorities, methods and principles of reconstruction. The conference in Lugano is not a donor conference. It does, however, aim to underline the broad support of international partners for the reconstruction process in Ukraine. This support can take various forms, and it is up to the participating states and organisations to decide how this is expressed.

At the end of the two-day event, a declaration outlining the most important outcomes of the conference is to be presented. Switzerland was asked to host URC2022 as a long-standing partner of Ukraine in politics, business and culture. On Monday, President Cassis paid tribute to the longstanding contacts between the two countries, and in particular to the good cooperation in the run-up to the conference.

Tradition of rich cultural relations

During URC2022, there will be an accompanying cultural programme in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and with refugees. This will also be an opportunity to showcase the diversity and richness of Ukrainian culture. In the coming weeks, posters will be displayed around Lugano showing historic buildings in Odessa designed by architects from Ticino as an example of the cultural links between the two countries. On 4 July, a classical concert is planned at the cultural centre LAC 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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