Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, calls for a renewed focus by the international community on early recovery ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London this week.
UNDP Administrator concludes his visit to Ukraine with strong commitment towards recovery and reconstruction
June 19, 2023
KYIV, 19 June 2023 – The Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Achim Steiner, concluded a three-day mission to Ukraine where he committed to scaling up the organization’s support to the country’s recovery including key areas like restoring critical energy, housing and social infrastructure, demining, and supporting the millions of men and women whose small and medium scale enterprises make up the backbone of Ukraine’s economy.
“The deep scars of war are everywhere, but I’ve also witnessed the impressive resilience and determination of Ukrainians -- we must combine this unbreakable spirit with the support they need to invest, rebuild and regain control over their lives and create the opportunities that they need for the future,” Steiner underlined ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference to be held in London, United Kingdom, on 21-22 June 2023.
Steiner’s mission to Ukraine included visiting the city of Irpin, which was heavily damaged by shelling. There, he met with residents, including 28-year-old Sofia Krotyk, her husband and her two-year old son, who had to flee Irpin following the full-fledged invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. They barely escaped before their house was destroyed. “There was a piano and above it hung a picture of our family, and here too were beautiful wooden stairs leading upstairs to where my parents, little sisters and brother lived. Unfortunately, all that remains is the sky,” said Sofia.
Across Ukraine, it is estimated that the war has damaged nearly 1.5 million homes, and thousands of schools and hospitals. UNDP has supported the removal of some 80,000m3 (equivalent to 8,000 truckloads) of rubble in Kyiv Oblast, a vital step in the rebuilding process, which has already started.
In Irpin, Steiner also launched the rehabilitation process of a multi-story apartment building, jointly with the Ministry for Restoration of Ukraine, the Kyiv Regional State Administration. The project, part of a broader effort to restore 18 multi-story buildings in Kyiv Oblast, which will allow 4,000 people to have a home again was financed through the UNITED24 crowdsourcing platform that is helping to raise much-needed funds to rebuild.
“Together, we are supporting families to put a roof over their head, a vital first step to allow people to regain a semblance of normality,” said Steiner. “It is a demonstration that reconstruction is something that is happening now and not being put on hold until the war ends.”
Ukraine has also become one of the world’s largest minefields with some one-third of its territory potentially affected. In Irpin, Steiner met with representatives of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine as UNDP continues to support their dedicated efforts to clear landmines and unexploded ordinance. The mine action efforts of UNDP and other partners have already helped Ukrainian teams to remove 500,000 items of unexploded ordnance, has allowed 3.8 million people to live in more safety. “By removing these deadly remnants of war, it means that farmers can work their land safely and earn a living; children can go to school; and roads and markets and local amenities can open once again,” emphasized Steiner.
This recovery process also includes supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs), which represent the lifeblood of Ukraine’s economy. In Lviv, Steiner inaugurated a new centre that will support businesses that have had to relocate to Western Ukraine. It is already home to businesses that provide vital prosthetics and rehabilitation equipment to people injured as a result of war. “This is part of our efforts to create a support ecosystem for businesses that relocated, relaunched and adapted -- based on a conviction that recovery efforts cannot wait,” said Steiner.
In Kyiv, Steiner participated in a roundtable discussion with 13 civil society organizations, including Vox Ukraine and ZMINA-Human Rights Centre where he underlined the need to combine communities’ determination to recover with the tangible support that NGOs can bring to driving a green, equitable and transparent recovery.
Steiner’s visit ended with meetings with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other government officials, where he reiterated UNDP’s commitment to rapidly support early recovery and reconstruction in priority areas, including energy, demining, restoring critical and social infrastructure, and supporting the private sector.
Steiner affirmed that decision-making processes should be inclusive, and the voices of civil society and vulnerable individuals and communities must be heard. The path to recovery lies not only in reconstructing what was lost but in strengthening Ukrainian society from the grassroots level to the highest echelons of governance.
About UNDP: UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.undp.org
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