Ukraine Recovery Conference

Plenary 2 – Scale of Recovery Challenge

June 21, 2023

On 21 June 2023, Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, in his capacity as the Vice-Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, delivered the following remarks at the Ukraine Recovery Conference held in London, United Kingdom. 

As prepared for delivery.

Your Excellency, President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy,

Your Excellency, Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal,

The Right Honourable Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, James Cleverly,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have just returned from Ukraine, where the people I met with have had their lives and livelihoods shattered by war.

Yet they also possess an extraordinary determination to adapt, to recover, and to rebuild, which the United Nations (UN) is supporting across three key strands.

-First, from day one of the invasion, the UN in Ukraine has worked with the government, local authorities, and civil society to extend critical humanitarian assistance -- from food and shelter to cash assistance and protection services.

At the same time, the UN has developed a clear picture to inform a targeted recovery through a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment developed with our partners.

Our humanitarian support has already reached 5.4 million people across Ukraine in 2023.

The Ukraine Humanitarian Response Plan requires $3.9 billion yet it is just 26% funded as of 15 June 2023.

-Second, the UN remains focused on critical needs -- most recently the Kakhovka Dam disaster, with devastating humanitarian, economic and ecological consequences.

Despite security and access constraints, the UN and partners have provided humanitarian support to at least 200,000 people in Kherson and the surrounding regions including food, shelter, and drinking water.

We continue efforts to provide assistance to all of those in need including in areas currently under Russian control where humanitarian access is extremely limited.

To chart a way forward, the UN and our partners are also developing a damage assessment with a focus on agriculture and the environment.

-Third, in 2023, the UN scaled up its recovery efforts, implementing $1 billion of recovery and development programming in line with the Government’s priorities, driven by 24 UN entities and 3,000 personnel.

That includes supporting the restoration of the high-voltage energy grid to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity, water, and heating, directly benefitting six million people.

The UN has also assisted Ukraine’s emergency services to remove over half-a-million landmines and pieces of unexploded ordnance, aiding four million people, including to return home.

The UN is also supporting the domestic private sector, the lifeblood of Ukraine’s economy, already helping thousands of businesses and individuals to relaunch or relocate.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN’s pledge to stay and deliver in Ukraine is characterized by community-level recovery -- jointly planning, sequencing, and layering our humanitarian, development, and social cohesion support.

We are connecting Ukrainians’ resilience with the tools that people need today to invest and rebuild towards futures that are not defined by this war. 

Thank you.