Delegations from almost 40 countries will discuss the reconstruction of Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday in Lugano, Switzerland.

At the conference, a kind of Marshall plan for the war-torn country is to be drafted.

The conference

Planning for the conference had started before the start of the Russian war of aggression.

The meeting was originally intended to discuss reforms and the fight against corruption in Ukraine.

But the Russian invasion has changed the agenda: the conference in Kyiv will now give the government the opportunity to present its reconstruction plan and to discuss with its allies how the enormous challenges can best be met.

"Lugano will be one of the first, if not the first, platform where the reconstruction of Ukraine, concrete steps and a plan will be discussed," said Ukrainian Ambassador to Switzerland Artem Rybchenko.

At the end of the conference, a joint declaration is to be adopted.

The participants

Originally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj was supposed to travel to Lugano and chair the conference alongside his Swiss colleague Ignazio Cassis.

Because of the war in Ukraine, Zelenskyy will only take part in the deliberations virtually.

He will be represented in Lugano by Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal, who will be accompanied, among others, by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and other ministers and several MPs.

High-ranking delegations from 37 other countries, representatives from 14 international organizations and hundreds of business representatives and representatives of civil society are also expected to attend the conference.

Among others, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania have confirmed their participation.

"Compass" for reconstruction

The aim of the conference is to draft a strategy based on the Marshall Plan, which helped to rebuild Europe after World War II.

Rebuilding Ukraine, which has suffered devastation just four months into the war, is expected to cost hundreds of billions of euros.

However, Lugano will not be a donor conference.

Rather, the meeting should serve as a "compass" for the upcoming tasks, says the Swiss conference officer Simon Pidoux.

The reconstruction of Ukraine will "take years, if not decades".

call for reforms

Ukraine will also face calls for sweeping reforms in Lugano, particularly in the fight against corruption.

The former Soviet state has long been ranked by Transparency International as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

In Europe, only Russia and Azerbaijan fare worse.

Zelenskyy also wants to use the conference to present his vision for a "smart recovery" for Ukraine and his plans to transform the country into a fully digital democracy.

In the view of the Federal Government, a sustainable reconstruction of the war-ravaged Ukraine should be tackled now.

The course for a reform-oriented reconstruction, which strengthens Ukraine's course towards the European Union, must be set now, said Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) before the start of the Ukraine reconstruction conference this Monday in Lugano, Switzerland.

The goals are a modern administration, effective fight against corruption, sustainable infrastructure and energy security.

“Rebuilding Ukraine will be an immense task that will take decades and cost hundreds of billions of euros.

That's exactly why we have to talk about reconstruction now," said Schulze, who is taking part in the two-day conference in Lugano, the German Press Agency.

"For this major task we need us as governments, but also a crisis-proof economy, a lively civil society, the strong voice of girls and women, free media and all levels of administration up to the municipalities," said Schulze. Your ministry has in Berlin is organizing a meeting of the German-Ukrainian municipal partnership network for next Wednesday.

77 partnerships already exist and 35 other German municipalities have expressed an interest.

Strict safety precautions

Lugano is one of the three major financial centers in Switzerland.

Located on the lake of the same name, the city is both a popular vacation spot and travel destination for wealthy Russians.

Lugano is also said to be very popular with the former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, who is considered a long-standing partner of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin.

According to the Swiss authorities, strict security precautions were taken for the conference.

1,600 soldiers are to be sent to Lugano to support the local police forces, and airspace restrictions also apply.