Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will meet with Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Thomas Gremiger, a Swiss national appointed to the post in 2018, to discuss the challenges facing the OSCE. Other key OSCE posts are also held by Swiss nationals. Ambassador Heidi Grau, for example, was appointed Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group at the beginning of 2020. Ambassador Toni Frisch has also served as Coordinator of the Humanitarian Working Group within the Trilateral Contact Group since 2016. Mr Cassis had the opportunity to meet Ms Grau and Mr Frisch during a visit to Minsk in mid-February.
Meeting with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi
Mr Cassis will also have talks with Rafael Grossi, the newly appointed Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Switzerland has been a member of the IAEA since its inception. It is represented on key IAEA committees and has helped define safety and security standards for nuclear power plants and nuclear goods. Switzerland also supports the IAEA in relation to using nuclear technology to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Agreement to support UNIDO in Nicaragua
For the past 10 years Switzerland has been the third most important government partner to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), providing assistance for development projects. During his meeting with UNIDO Director General Li Yong, Mr Cassis will sign an agreement providing for a USD 2.85 million increase in Swiss funding for a project in Nicaragua, bringing the total amount to USD 4.85 million.
Since 2013, the SDC has been involved in a project, unique in Central America, which has reinforced the cocoa value chain and helped increase productivity and the quality of cocoa produced. The project has boosted producers' incomes and created jobs, improving the living standards of smallholder farmers and their commercial environment generally.
Data vital to the work of the UNODC
Mr Cassis also discussed the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Data, in particular, is crucial to the work performed by UNODC in fighting illicit drugs and international crime. Digitalisation is a key priority under the Swiss Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23. Data is also at the nexus of science and diplomacy and Switzerland is hosting the next United Nations World Data Forum (UNWDF) taking place in Bern this October.
This is the second time Mr Cassis will have visited 'multilateral Vienna'. Vienna is home to the UN's second office in Europe after Geneva.
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