Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the International Ukraine Support Conference, delivered by Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), in Kyiv today:
I am pleased to convey my greetings to all those gathered for the International Ukraine Support Conference.
The people of Ukraine have been severely tested since November 2013. They have demonstrated their perseverance and courage in building a stable and prosperous country. A durable and sustainable ceasefire, as well as a negotiated, political solution to the conflict — in line with the 12 February “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” — is critical. Citizens also want to see serious attention given to the multiple, deep-rooted political, social and economic challenges facing the country.
The international community must continue to help the Government and the people of Ukraine build on last year’s historic political change, when early presidential and parliamentary polls resulted in a reform-oriented, responsive leadership and greater prospects for consolidating a democratic system of governance.
Ukraine’s citizens, who have for years advocated for change, eagerly await the implementation of key reforms which the authorities have committed to implement, particularly given the severe economic challenges and despite the debilitating conflict in the east of the country.
The United Nations will continue to support the people and Government of Ukraine in their quest towards a more transparent and inclusive political and democratic culture. In a coordinated and strategic manner, the 16 United Nations funds, programs and specialized agencies working in Ukraine are working to provide technical assistance for human development as well as humanitarian support to those in need.
The UN humanitarian agencies have — with national and international partners — prioritized assistance to the 3.2 million considered most vulnerable: children, the elderly, women, people living with disabilities and special needs. In 2014, 2.6 million people received health kits, 100,000 received food parcels or vouchers or access to safe drinking water. So far this year, some 400,000 conflict-affected people have received food, shelter, access to health services, water and sanitation and education.
However, this is not enough, and we need to intensify efforts to save as many lives as possible, provide the most vulnerable with basic services and do that while promoting their dignity and ensuring their protection. Upon request from the Government of Ukraine, the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union conducted the first phase of a Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment (RPA). The assessment identified an initial $1.5 billion in needs for rehabilitation of infrastructure and service delivery, restoration of economic development and livelihood opportunities and rebuilding social cohesion and community security. This response goes well beyond the scope of the humanitarian response.
The RPA provides an analytical and programmatic baseline and a framework for Ukraine’s transition from crisis to sustainable development. The UN will be there to help in this transition. The people of Ukraine can count on the United Nations as a friend and partner to overcome the crisis and build a peaceful and prosperous future for their country.
For information media. Not an official record.