Welcome remarks by Dafina Gercheva, UNDP Resident Representative to Ukraine. Presentation and Discussion on SDG Progress in Ukraine at the Subnational Level, 17 June 2021

June 17, 2021

Distinguished Delegates and Colleagues,

It is indeed a great honour and a profound privilege to welcome you to today’s discussions on measuring and monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Ukraine at the subnational Level.  This online event was made possible through a close collaboration with the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, a department within the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade; VoxUkraine, an NGO, and my organization, the United Nations Development Programme.

This meeting could not be more timely, coming as it does in the 2nd year of the Decade of Action, and at a time when we are emerging from the worst pandemic in a generation. In launching the Decade of Action UN Secretary-General called on all sectors of society to mobilize for action on three levels: global action to secure greater leadership, more resources and smarter solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals; local action embedding the needed transitions in the policies, budgets, institutions and regulatory frameworks of governments, cities and local authorities; and people action, including by youth, civil society, the media, the private sector, unions, academia and other stakeholders.

Those of us gathered here today cover all three of these areas for the benefit of SDG achievement at the subnational level: experts from other European countries will discuss their experience in measuring SDGs on a subnational level and provide recommendations for Ukraine.  We have with us representatives from relevant line ministries who be able to transform global good practices into the local context because we know very well that when it comes to development challenges one size does not fit all. And we have representatives of civil society because without people action, the rhetoric will never become reality.

As you are all well aware, Ukraine has been committed to the SDG framework since it was first launched at the United Nations in 2015.  In December 2020, President Zelensky issued a Decree setting the SDGs as a benchmark for programming, and has called for the Global Goals to be integrated into state policy on a ‘leave no one behind’ basis.  To make this happen, the Government of Ukraine developed a national SDG monitoring system consisting of 86 national targets with 183 indicators. It also established an Inter-Agency Working Group on SDGs that has produced 162 Governmental regulatory legal acts with 4,300 planned actions.  

In the years before the pandemic, Ukraine was moving in the right direction and rapidly building momentum. Its 2020 comprehensive Voluntary National Review report documented progress on 15 out of 17 of the SDGs, highlighting higher national assessment capacity and increased public awareness of the SDGs.  Our meeting here today will in part contribute to putting Ukraine back on track and building forward even better towards 2030 and beyond.

Dear Colleagues and friends,

I very much look forward to the presentation today from Statistics Ukraine and VoxUkraine on SDG progress at the subnational level.  We know that monitoring and evaluating progress within the SDGs poses several challenges for local and subnational governments, as there are many possible differences between cities, including geographical, socio-economical and governmental, which make it difficult to select globally applicable and meaningful indicators.  The challenges being encountered, confronted and overcome in Ukraine are similar to those facing local governments around the world, and it will be interesting to see what others can learn from what we are doing here in Ukraine.

It is clear that high-quality, timely and reliable statistical data are needed – especially at the subnational levels where real transformative action needs to happen if we are to be where we want to be with the SDGs in 2030. I am confident the results of this assessment will bring us closer to understanding where we stand on the path to achieving the SDGs and will help Ukraine make informed decisions to build forward better.

In closing, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine and to Vox Ukraine for their commitment, cooperation and collaboration in this very important endeavour.  I would also like to recognize and thank the Government of Denmark for its generous support of the UNDP project “Civil Society for Enhanced Democracy and Human Rights in Ukraine” within which this event was organized.