UN Development Chief concludes her four-day official visit to Ukraine

15 Dec 2010

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15 December 2010, Kyiv: During her four-day visit to Ukraine on 11-15 December UNDP Administrator Helen Clark discussed the challenges Ukraine is facing on its way to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and corresponding priorities in the next United Nations Partnership Framework that spells out cooperation between Ukraine and the United Nations in Ukraine for the 2012-2016 years with Ukrainian government representatives, donor community, academia and civil society organizations.

“In the course of my visit I witnessed that despite the economic downturn that affected Ukraine, Ukraine is well on its way to achieve or even exceed many of its self-set MDGs targets, - said Helen Clark. - Much remains to be done in reforming the health system and fighting HIV and TB epidemics, also reforming Ukraine’s governance structure to ensure the advancement of women/gender equality and environmental sustainability. The UN system in Ukraine is working closely with the Government to achieve these goals”. “Given Ukraine’s potential and strengths and the programme of reforms initiated by the Government I believe that Ukraine is working to improve its level of human development”,she added.

Helen Clark’s visit has started with the field trip to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on invitation of Viktor Baloga, Minister of Emergencies of Ukraine. “While significant progress has been achieved in giving these communities the lives they had before the Chernobyl disaster, there is still work to be done to realize full social and economic recovery, and the restoration of livelihoods,” said Helen Clark. "Personally I think there is an opportunity to tell a story here and of course the process of telling a story, even a sad story, is something that is positive in economic terms and positive in conveying very important messages," said Ms.Clark.

During a meeting with Sergei Tigipko, Vice-Prime-Minister, the Minister of Social Policy, UNDP Administrator emphasized that she had reminded donor community that Ukraine needs support, financial support for the construction of the sarcophagus for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Another field trip was organised to Crimean Autonomous Republic, where UNDP is present on the ground since 1995. During her stay in Crimea, Helen Clark met with representatives of the regional authorities, familiarised herself with the experience and results of projects implemented with UNDP’s support, and officially launched the UNDP Sub-Office in Crimea. “In the last 15 years we have seen the progress achieved by local communities, authorities and civil society in such areas as good governance, tolerance, local economic development, equal opportunities, and others. I am glad that UNDP has contributed to achieving these remarkable results through a number of projects implemented jointly with the people of Crimea,” said Helen Clark.

Another discussion which UNDP Administrator attended was organised by activists of the civil society women’s organizations. Participants of the meeting informed Helen Clark on gender gaps that still exist in Ukraine and cannot be eliminated by the legal provisions alone. Representatives of civil society organizations handed over a letter for Helen Clark in which they have outlined their assessment of the gender policy crisis.

Representatives of civil society prepared a letter for Helen Clark in which they have outlined their assessment of the gender policy crisis in Ukraine, and asking her to consider a possibility of raising these issues during official meetings at the highest level, which Ms. Administrator would have in Ukraine. In the letter participants outlined a desperate need of Ukraine for a central authority of executive power, specifically authorized to provide equal rights and opportunities for women and men, creation of a coordinating body under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, accepting a new State program for ensuring gender equality on 2011-2015, and other steps to ensure improvement of the gender issues in the country.

Helen Clark sees in Ukraine the potential of becoming an even stronger development partner and a donor.“Given that Ukraine is a middle income country, many traditional Western donors don’t operate here. European Commission is a very important partner and founder of our work, also Canadian International Development Agency CIDA. I think going forward with the middle-income countries like Ukraine, as the donor interest diminishes we will be looking for the partnership with Ukraine and more cost-sharing. This way we’ve gone with many middle-income countries, who value the expertise and knowledge, which UNDP and other agencies bring”, - she said.