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Energy efficiency investment rises, but falls short of needs

18 Jul 2017

image A worker measures the heat loss from a residential apartment block in Kyiv. Work to stimulate investment into making such buildings energy efficient across the country is being undertaken by the government with support from international development agencies. According to official figures, some $90 billion is needed for residential and municipal sectors – 90 percent of the nation’s annual gross domestic product. (Ukrafoto)

Originally published in KyivPost on July 14, 2017  Millions of Ukrainians could slash their energy bills by as much as 40 percent, on average, with the right efficiency-boosting measures. But a lack of expertise and investment capital are slowing progress, according to civil society groups and non-governmental organizations. The United Nations Development Program and the American government’s development agency, the U. S. Agency for International Development, are working to address the shortcomings. Their programs tie into goals that Ukraine has set for itself at the national level, with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman saying on July 12 that Ukraine should seek to become energy independent by 2020. Boosting energy generated from renewable sources and making better use of already existing resources are both key parts of that strategy. But the challenges to advancing energy efficiency in Ukraine are more than just practical. There is also a cultural element, with awareness and understanding of the issue growing but still “in its infancy,” according to Janthomas Hiemstra, country director at the United Nations Development Program. “Ukraine is missing the boat in some ways,” Hiemstra told the Kyiv Post. “The culture and the thinking here is just from a different planet and some of the more  Read More

Shaking up the employment services in Ukraine to leave no one behind

12 Jun 2017

image Ukraine’s employment services are changing the way they design and deliver services.

By Olena Ivanova, Sheila Marnie and Vesna Dzuteska-Bisheva Decent work is a key priority for Ukrainians, and a serious challenge for individuals and state institutions alike. Not only Ukraine is undergoing a process of economic transformation, but the armed conflict in the East contributed to seriously disturb its labour market. One of four employed people in Ukraine work in the informal sector. The education and vocational training system does not produce the skill sets demanded by employers; youth has very limited opportunities to get a first work experience. Mobility of the labour force is low. In rural areas and small towns hardly any new jobs are created. Compared to other countries in the region, Ukraine’s unemployment rate is only moderately high, at 9.3% (it was 7.3% in 2013); but behind these figures there are a full 1.6 million unemployed people. Out of those, one of three is a long-term unemployed – someone who has been out of work for more than 6 months. This puts a large burden on the government-funded social welfare system. At UNDP, we focus on how to remove barriers to employment, which particularly impact women and vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, women with small children,  Read More

Revisiting Sustainable Development

07 Jun 2017

image It is important to understand that the Sustainable Development Strategy for Ukraine does not only mean the fulfilment of international obligations; it is primarily an opportunity to get rid of inefficient obsolete practices that pull the country down, to move to a conceptually different development model, the key point of which is the triangle of economic, social and environmental aspects that must be mutually taken into account and mutually adjusted. This will also promote finding alternative solutions that will do no harm to both the environment and the interests of the local communities.

Originally published in Day newspaper on May 16, 2017 By Hennady Marushevsky, Tetiana Tymochko, Leonid Rudenko Ukraine needs a Ministry (or Agency) responsible for ensuring the integration of the economic, social and environmental policies... The term “sustainable development” has long been a part of our vocabulary, but how well do we understand what it is about and why it is important for Ukraine? If we consider the classic definition of sustainable development, formulated back in 1987, it is the “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs .” It means planning for the future; the planning that takes into account the best interests of the country and its citizens. This spring the International Mother Earth Day was marked. On the occasion, out of force of habit and tradition, the active young people organize to collect litter, plant trees, participate in the themed flash mobs. Those are very important local events, a certain support to the ecological condition of the environment and the formation of people's environmental awareness and behaviour. However, the critical condition of the ecological properties of the nature components, which has been recognized by the international community,  Read More

Parliaments: bastions of democracy or power elites’ hangouts?

12 May 2017

image The British prime minister Winston Churchill once famously said that ‘democracy is the worst of all systems of government, except for all of the others’. Parliamentary openness is a key way to demonstrate that although we can never all be happy about the decisions that are made that affect us, that democracy needs not only to be done, but also has to be seen to be done.

It’s a busy couple of weeks for Ukraine. The country is presenting the glittery finale of the Eurovision song contest on May 13. And, on May 19 and 20, in Kyiv, Ukraine’s Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, is hosting the 2nd global conference on open parliaments. Not as many sequins, perhaps, but a fascinating and important event, coordinated by the EU-UNDP Rada for Europe Project in conjunction with the global Open Government Partnership (OGP) and partnered by a host of international and national democracy-supporting organizations. The Global Legislative Openness Conference brings together more than 200 delegates from over 50 countries, including parliamentary speakers, parliamentarians, civil society activists, and parliamentary staff to explore international experiences and opportunities in making parliamentary work more open, more transparent, and better respond to the needs and demands of citizens around the world. Topics being discussed include making national and parliamentary budget processes more open, combatting fake news with transparency, using digital technologies to expand debate and citizen inclusion, and using openness as a tool to rebuild trust in democratic institutions. The role of parliaments is at the heart of many of today’s highly-charged debates about how democracy should function. Parliaments are at the centre of democratic societies,  Read More

When Information Gives Power: an open data platform helps patients get medicine

28 Apr 2017

image Photo Credit: Daniel Sone, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Now, for the first time, patients in Rivne and Odessa oblasts can check the availability of medicines and medical supplies in two clicks on the E-Liky website, or through mobile applications. These solutions, successfully piloted by UNDP, oblast administrations and patients’ organizations in the two oblasts, can now be further rolled out in other oblasts.

Originally published in Ekonomichna Pravda on 27 April 2017 Olga is a 24-year-old Ukrainian mother from the Rivne Oblast. It was time for her child to get vaccinated, but you can imagine Olga’s disappointment when, at the hospital, she was told there were no vaccines in stock. But Olga did not want to give up. Back home, she started browsing the internet and found the eliky.in.ua website, with detailed information about medicine availability in public hospitals. The website showed that indeed vaccines were available in the hospital she had just visited. She called the Eliky hotline which confirmed that the information shown was correct, and that she had the right to ask for her child to be vaccinated at no cost. When Olga went back to the hospital armed with this information, the doctor had to admit that free vaccines were in stock, and Olga’s child finally got his vaccines. Olga’s experience is the same as that of many other women and men in Ukraine, who are often denied opportunities to receive medical supplies for themselves and their children.  The main excuse they are provided is that the medicines are out of stock. Until recently, Ukrainian patients had no way to  Read More