Statement by the United Nations at the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Berlin, Germany 12 June 2024

Delivered by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner on behalf of the UN Secretary-General

June 12, 2024

As prepared for delivery


Your Excellency, President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy,

Your Excellency, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Olaf Scholz,

Your Excellency, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, Svenja Schulze,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, it is a privilege to join this event co-hosted by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and Ukraine.

In the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine -- launched in violation of the UN Charter and international law -- intensifying attacks continue to cause civilian deaths and damage to critical civilian infrastructure including homes, hospitals, energy systems and the water supply.

While the UN and its partners continue to deliver critical humanitarian assistance in Ukraine -- with a focus on communities in frontline areas -- there is growing concern about the decrease in humanitarian funding amidst the significant scale of need. 

Everyone across the country is impacted and support is needed now more than ever. 

Active in every part of Ukraine, 24 UN entities and 3,000 personnel are working alongside state authorities and local communities to address immediate humanitarian needs and, in tandem, pave the way to recovery, reconstruction, and development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.

Where the security situation allows, the UN has significantly scaled up its recovery efforts, implementing $1.1 billion of recovery and development programming in 2022 and 2023 and expecting to invest another $1 billion in 2024 -- promoting a gender-responsive, inclusive, and green recovery.

Four Dimensions of the Ukraine Recovery Conference: The UN Family’s Support

Today, I would like to outline how the UN’s recovery efforts -- led by our Resident Coordinator -- are advancing the four dimensions of the Ukraine Recovery Conference.

First, given that small businesses are the backbone of Ukraine’s economy -- and a key driver of the recovery -- the UN has supported over 2,000 SMEs in 2023 alone.

The UN, through the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) new Economic Recovery Offer, aims to assist at least 100,000 entrepreneurs -- including women, veterans, and returnees -- while improving the economic conditions of at least five million people by 2027. 

Yet we are seeing an acute need for the increased involvement of Ukrainian experts and entities and increased international capital inflow to ensure lasting progress.

Second, we are investing in human development to ensure that all people can contribute to, and benefit from the recovery. 

For instance, that includes supporting the reconstruction of the energy grid: efforts that have benefited some six million people to date.

Third, the UN is prioritizing a comprehensive model of recovery planning which includes assessing the damage and equipping local authorities with the resources they need.

In 2023, the UN Country Team supported recovery planning & implementation in more than 400 hromadas affected by the war, directly informed by communities’ needs. 

Such efforts encompass removing landmines & pieces of unexploded ordnance so that people can return home and millions of square metres of land can be farmed again.

Finally, given Ukraine’s national priority of accession to the European Union, the UN continues to respond to the Government’s request for technical assistance.

Consequently, we are seeing how progress on the SDGs will provide Ukraine with a stronger negotiating position for its future, as the SDG targets underpin the Cluster 1 Fundamentals including human rights and the rule of law.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

With generous support from our donors, the UN continues to focus on immediate humanitarian needs.

We are also advancing the Government’s recovery priorities, which include working alongside key partners like International Financial Institutions to leverage critical financing for development.

This is part of the UN’s strategic, science-based, and holistic approach to recovery & reconstruction with a key focus on women -- aiming to drive a generational shift in Ukraine’s economy exemplified by the new Green Recovery Platform. 

This approach will accelerate resilience, green growth, decent jobs as well as more effective and accountable public institutions that deliver essential public services. 

Yet the only sustainable solution to this war remains in achieving a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace anchored in the principles of the UN Charter and international law: ensuring that the drums of war and destruction fall silent -- and the thrum of creativity, hope and recovery can resonate across every corner of Ukraine.