UNDP and Yokohama partner to restore social infrastructure in Odesa

The City of Yokohama and the UNDP have signed an agreement to collaborate for recovery of social infrastructure such as reconstruct a kindergarten in the city of Odesa that was damaged during the full-scale war

July 1, 2024

An archival photo of Kindergarten No. 141 in Odesa after a missile attack on 20 July 2023.

Photo: Kindergarten No. 141

Yokohama, Japan, 1 July 2024 — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the city of Yokohama in Japan have partnered to address growing local needs for recovery and reconstruction assistance in Ukraine, particularly in Odesa and its neighbouring areas.

This partnership also aims to strengthen the bond between Yokohama, Odesa, and the people of Japan and Ukraine. The city of Yokohama and the UNDP in Ukraine will initiate their cooperation by supporting the restoration of Kindergarten No. 141, which was damaged in a Russian missile attack.

The initiative focuses on rebuilding the kindergarten’s three key buildings: the main building, which is designated a cultural heritage site; the two-story childcare block and its dormitory, and a newer building requiring repairs. The goal is to create safe educational environments for children in Odesa, facilitated through the partnership between UNDP, Yokohama, and local authorities.

The UNDP, through a Japan-funded project, will support the reconstruction of three kindergarten buildings. The newly established partners will then collaborate to ensure that these buildings are fully equipped with all necessary equipment and educational materials for the children.

Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, underscored the significance of this partnership, stating, "This is a pioneering collaboration where UNDP partners with a municipality outside Ukraine to aid in local reconstruction efforts." He continued, "By pooling our resources and solidarity with Yokohama City, we aim to catalyze recovery in Odesa and support the children in the city."

Hideko Hadzialic, UNDP Director in Japan, underscored the rich history of collaboration and trust between the cities of Yokohama and Odesa over the past 59 years. "Today, we’re building on the strong connection of these sister cities," she said. "Supporting local governments was a key priority highlighted at the Ukraine Conference in Berlin this June, and the UNDP is committed to promoting human security and resilience in these communities in the face of threats and risks."

Yokohama Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka expressed his solidarity with the Ukrainian people, who continue to face increasingly difficult circumstances more than two years after the Russian invasion began. He stated, "To date, we have made every effort to support the people of Odesa and Ukraine, as well as those who have evacuated to Yokohama, willing to offer all possible ways of support. Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with UNDP to aid in the recovery and reconstruction of Odesa and to contribute to peace and development in the international community."

Gennadiy Trukhanov, Mayor of Odesa, expressed gratitude for the partners’ support, stating, "The signing of this agreement affirms the multilateral cooperation between Odesa, Yokohama, and the UNDP. Together, we will be able to give children back an important part of their childhood."

Background: UNDP in Ukraine has been supporting the critical infrastructure facilities in Odesa City and its population. Since the full-scale invasion, it has assisted in restoring damaged public buildings, including schools and hospitals, established air-raid shelters, provided emergency power supply equipment, and supported the city’s economic recovery by aiding local entrepreneurs. 

This effort aligns with the long-standing partnership between Yokohama and Odesa, which have maintained a robust relationship through exchanges in administration, culture, and medicine since establishing sister-city ties in 1965. Following the invasion by the Russian Federation, Yokohama provided emergency humanitarian assistance, including mobile water purification equipment and cold protection supplies. In March 2023, Yokohama further strengthened its commitment by signing a memorandum of understanding to support the recovery and reconstruction of urban infrastructure and sustainable development in Odesa and neighbouring cities, promoting technical cooperation.

Media inquiries: Yuliia Samus, Communications Team Leader, UNDP in Ukraine; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org