Kyiv, 18 November 2019 – Concluding a four-day visit to Ukraine, including visits to UNDP projects in the eastern part of the country, the Regional Director of UNDP in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, today pledged UNDP’s strong support for the Government of Ukraine’s ambitious and wide-ranging reform agenda.
“The country’s current pro-reform environment provides an opportunity for progress on a number of fronts – among them the fight against corruption, human rights issues, climate action, good governance and recovery,” said Mirjana Spoljaric.
“Ukraine has already made significant efforts to move forward on its sustainable development agenda, and UNDP would like that to intensify,” the Regional Director added.
UNDP is the largest UN agency operational in Ukraine. UNDP also coordinates the US$80 million United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme in Ukraine, helping to restore critical infrastructure and social services, boost the economy and promote resilience and peacebuilding in conflict-affected regions. The initiative is supported by 11 international donors and implemented by four UN agencies.
In Eastern Ukraine, where violence continues to cause casualties and displacement, and to disrupt key sectors of the economy, UNDP is empowering local institutions, creating markets, rebuilding infrastructure, and boosting public services and social cohesion.
“The conflict must lead the authorities in Ukraine to rethink the way development is achieved. This isn’t just about rebuilding after the violence. It is about helping to achieve systemic change, empowering local administrations, eliminating corruption, scaling up development financing and encouraging development partners to align their efforts in support of long-term goals,” said Mirjana Spoljaric.
UNDP is providing basic social services to 170,000 residents of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the majority of them women.
UNDP is also working with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to rehabilitate critical infrastructure and improve access to healthcare, education and social services for IDPs and the communities generously hosting them in conflict-affected areas. Over 4 million people, including 600,000 IDPs and persons from other vulnerable groups, have already benefitted or will soon benefit from rehabilitated infrastructure facilities under the EIB-funded programme.
Other signature projects completed by UNDP in Ukraine include helping develop Ukraine’s e-asset declaration system, which now contains information about the assets of 1 million Ukrainian public officials. An electronic verification module, also developed by UNDP, has automatically checked 4.1 million declarations, and prompted investigation of some $16 million in declared assets.
UNDP has also helped expand the regional network of the office of the Ombudsperson for Human Rights into all 24 regions of Ukraine. Over 3,200 men and women were able to address human rights violations through the network in 2019, and 16,200 have received assistance via the network since 2014.
Mirjana Spoljaric also spoke at an expert discussion on women’s participation in politics and decision-making ahead of local elections.
While noting that progress has been made in this issue in Ukraine, with women’s representation in Ukraine’s parliament at an all-time high of about 21 percent, she noted that practical and inclusive plans were needed to tackle patriarchal culture and deeply-rooted gender stereotypes. She also stressed that political and economic empowerment of women had to go hand in hand to yield tangible results.
Regional Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, since October 2018, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger leads UNDP’s work and teams in 17 countries and one territory, spanning Central Asia, the Western CIS and South Caucasus, and Western Balkans. Ms. Spoljaric previously served as Head of the United Nations and International Organisations Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
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