UNDP signs MOU with Ministry of Social Policy to enhance and expand partnership

UNDP to develop, deliver and digitalize solutions to evolving social challenges in Ukraine

October 19, 2022

Oksana Zholnovych, Ukraine’s Minister of Social Policy (left), and Interim UNDP Resident Representative Manal Fouani (right) during the signing ceremony.

Photo credit: Oleksandr Ratushniak / UNDP Ukraine

Kyiv, 19 October 2022 – The United Nations Development Programme today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine to strengthen and streamline the delivery of important social services to address the wide and evolving range of needs of the Ukrainian people. Within this partnership, UNDP agrees to help improve legislation and sectoral policy, strengthen expertise and technical support through the capacity development of public officials, and expand cooperation with social, rehabilitation and social-administrative service, including with civil society organizations.

Interim UNDP Resident Representative Manal Fouani said that in times of war, it is all too easy for the most vulnerable in society to fall through the cracks and be left behind. “We will work with the Ministry to make sure this does not happen,” she said. “Our experts bring the collective experience from nearly 170 countries, which combined with the ministry’s knowledge and expertise, will collaboratively design the best possible solutions for the current context in Ukraine.”

Under the agreement and with financial support from the governments of Germany and Korea, UNDP will provide immediate support to analyse and address current gaps in rehabilitation and social care service provision and develop new policies and programmes to ensure early recovery in the sector. The organization will work closely with the ministry to digitalize services in the social sphere and work to increase the level of awareness among targeted populations about the use of digital services. UNDP recently developed 14 new digitized social services solutions, through which displaced Ukrainians can register for benefits and apply for housing subsidies and pensions.

UNDP is currently working on 13 additional digital solutions, for example, for single parents applying for benefits, services for child adoption and applications for benefits for low-income families.

The Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, Oksana Zholnovych, noted the importance of strengthening cooperation between the ministry and UNDP under conditions of full-scale war, and setting out its goals formally in the Memorandum.

“The full-scale war has created extraordinary challenges for the existing system of social services and support,” Zholnovych said. “We, as a state, must provide for the needs of the most vulnerable sections of the population – people with disabilities, single elderly persons, and other categories that find it difficult to evacuate abroad, or who don’t want to. Internally displaced persons among these categories of people find it practically impossible to receive social services in their new communities.”

“That’s why we have to think of mechanisms that can give them the required help. So it’s important for us to secure technical and legislative support, and to employ the best world practices in reformatting the social support system. I’m confident that the conclusion of the Memorandum with UNDP will greatly strengthen this process.”

The minister also stressed that new digital models of support in the social sphere that will emerge as a result of cooperation between the Ministry of Social Policy and UNDP in Ukraine will provide convenient and effective services for people, and in the future could even become an example for other countries.

“To overcome difficult life circumstances, it is not enough to hand out money – it’s also very important to provide the required services,” Zholnovych said.

“But often local communities don’t have enough specialists and funds for this. So the Ministry of Social Policy wants to use the experience of the healthcare system and set up the central procurement of social services from various providers, thus creating competition that will improve the quality of these services. We also plan to purchase social services from the NGOs that have the necessary experience and specialists.”

“This will allow us to create a single network of social service providers across the entire country."

Background: At the start of the war, the Government of Ukraine was forced to make quick and drastic policy decisions in the social sector, to make sure that the people of Ukraine received support, even if, sometimes, such a decision was not supported by all the necessary enablers. UNDP stepped up and provided the necessary IT hardware and other necessary infrastructure, along with training and logistical support.

Media enquiries:  Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Communication; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org

UNDP signs MOU with Ministry of Social Policy to enhance and expand partnership