Socioeconomic Impact and Needs Assessment - Donetsk and Lugansk regions - Ukraine, 2017

Executive summary

Affirmation

This report was prepared on behalf of FAO Ukraine by a team consisting of Dragan Angelovski (author), Yana Voitovska and Farrukh,
Toirov (Editors).

Our thanks for the excellent collaboration go especially to Elena Prorochenko, Yuriy Nesterov and Andriy Volkov, whose support and contribution was crucial for the successful realization of the research.

A very special thank you goes to the respondents who were willing to share their experience and to openly discuss the barriers and obstacles they face in their daily lives.

Background

The political crisis that resulted in unrest in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine evolved into a war between the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government and pro-Russian insurgents.

The agricultural sector in the two oblasts has suffered enormous losses due to the conflict and ensuing instability. Prices for basic foods have increased dramatically due to the disruption of trade links and a significant reduction in local production.

Needs in the agricultural sector have been presented and the Humanitarian Response Plan needs to be adjusted based on an accurate evaluation of the situation, including the needs of the conflict-affected population.

Conceptual framework

This report presents an analysis of social and economic vulnerability in the conflict-affected Donetsk and Lugansk regions region of Ukraine, with a particular focus on rural people living along the engagement line. The study measures the economic and social vulnerability of 662 933 residents (229 696 households), investigating their level of exposure to shocks and prevalent coping strategies.

Methodology and data

Based on the conceptual framework, assessment vulnerability indicators were defined (i.e. household resources, use of resources, exposure to risk, and coping strategies) and adapted to the specific situation.

A total sample for the assessment consisted of 648 interviews, of which half were conducted in Donetsk and half in Lugansk region. The level of reliability is valid for the heavy weapon exclusion zone, the Government Control area, and the Non-Government Control area.

The actual sampling was executed in several different steps, starting at the administrative level of each area and ending at the smallest unit, in this case households.

Before commencing the interviews, FAO designed, pre-tested and adjusted the questionnaires, based on feedback and recommendations. Trained interviewers visited the targeted communities at different times of day. No age limitwas applied to the respondents, although minors were excluded.
The period of data collection for the assessment was April 2017. Data collection was carried out using the KoBoToolbox software. Quality control of the field work and data entry was ensured by FAO controlling the processes and cleaning the database prior to the analysis. Data analysis and reporting was conducted by FAO experts.

Main results

The availability of resources is an important aspect for determining the resilience of households against shocks, and as such their economic and social vulnerability. Household resources include financial, physical, human and social resources. Each resource dimension protects the household in different ways.

The availability of sufficient financial and physical resources allows households to smooth consumption over time, and reduce the risk of falling into monetary poverty in the event of a shock.
The availability of human resources determines the current and future earning power of a household.

Social resources are important for social inclusion and participation in family and community life. Access to a broad social network in the event of a shock can facilitate food security, finding work, gaining access to informal financial support, or simply accessing information.

The average size of the conflict affected households is very small, averaging less than three persons per household. There has been an approximate 10 percent decrease in the average number of household members in the last 18 months. This was noted in all areas.

More than a third of the population has reached retirement age, and the share of women in the population is slightly more than half. Compared to the 2015 assessment the number of minors has somewhat decreased. This is especially notable in the exclusion zones. The share of the population over 60 years of age has increased by 6.2 percent on average while the working age population has decreased by 8.6 percent.

A small share (1.7 percent) of households hosts IDPs, representing an overall reduction by half compared to the 2015 findings. Sixty three percent of the households housing IDPs are in the Government Control areas.

There has been an increase (approximately 10 percent) in the average number of cash earners, mainly in the Non-Government Control areas. On average the share of households with one and two income sources has risen, on account of the households with multiple income sources.

The current average household monthly income is calculated at USD 144.1, representing a USD 65.4 increase compared to 2015. However, this is still considerably less than the monthly income before the conflict (USD 390). Incomes in Non-Government Control areas recorded in 2015 have improved on average for a smaller share of the population, but decreased for most. Incomes in the Government Control areas have decreased on average and more considerably for a small share of the population, while they have increased slightly for the majority of the population.