Latvia targets 2 million euro for reconstruction efforts in Chernihiv Oblast

September 7, 2023

Latvian Ambassador Ilgvars Kļava (left) and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Christophoros Politis (right).

Photo: Chernihiv Oblast Administration

Chernihiv, Ukraine, 7 September 2023 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced the launch of the "Latvia for Chernihiv: Reconstruction of Social Infrastructure" project, generously funded by a €2 million contribution from the Republic of Latvia. The timely initiative seeks to address the urgent restoration needs of Chernihiv Oblast, one of the regions most severely affected by the ongoing Russian military invasion.

Based on the UNDP damage assessment using drone footage and satellite imagery across 44 settlements in Chernihiv Oblast, it has been determined that nearly 10 percent of the region's infrastructure has been damaged or completely destroyed as a result of the Russian invasion. This includes over 300 social infrastructure facilities such as hospitals, schools, social protection facilities, culture, and sports facilities.

Latvian Ambassador Ilgvars Kļava said his country stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine during these challenging times. “Our contribution is a testament to our unwavering commitment to support the Ukrainian people and aid in the reconstruction of vital infrastructure,” he said. “Through the combined efforts of UNDP, the Republic of Latvia, and local authorities, the project promises to play a pivotal role in the region's recovery and revitalization, providing stability through solidarity with the communities of Chernihiv Oblast.”

The funds will be used to restore at least five major education and healthcare infrastructure facilities. Stakeholder consultations will be conducted throughout the reconstruction process to identify needs and consider suggestions and proposals from local communities. The project's restoration will be guided by the "Build Back Better" framework to help ensure the facilities and infrastructure are rebuilt with greater resilience, are more sustainable and meet elevated standards for safety and accessibility.

Deputy Minister for Restoration Anna Yurchenko said Latvia's generous contribution underscores the fact that the restoration of Ukraine is not just a national endeavour, “but a testament to the solidarity and shared vision of a united Europe that includes Ukraine,” adding that “these actions of solidarity will bring reciprocal benefits to all Europeans for many years to come.”

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Christophoros Politis said Latvia's financial contributions and partnership with Ukraine's Ministry for Recovery and Chernihiv Oblast would support the recovery of the education and healthcare sectors – an essential ecosystem for returnees. He added, "Thanks to Latvia's contribution, we can now promptly address the critical needs of Chernihiv Oblast. Together, we will ensure that local communities regain access to vital services, contributing to the restoration of the social fabric and the strengthening of the region's resilience."

Head of Chernihiv Oblast Administration Viacheslav Chaus said the project symbolizes hope and solidarity.  “We are immensely thankful to both UNDP and Latvia for recognizing the urgent needs of our region and for making concrete contributions to our recovery,” he said.  “This initiative will catalyze the broader recovery of the area, promoting economic revitalization, and reinforcing the local social fabric. The support will benefit local communities by restoring social infrastructure and re-establishing access to essential services in the education and healthcare sectors.

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