Delegation from the Embassy of Japan to Ukraine visits UNICEF and UNDP programme sites in Luhansk region

Nov 16, 2017

Photo credit: Vitaliy Shevelev / UNDP in Ukraine

Severodonetsk, 14 November 2017 – A Delegation from the Embassy of Japan has visited conflict-affected areas in eastern Ukraine to assess programmes implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the financial support from the Government of Japan. Since 2014, the Government of Japan has been supporting initiatives implemented by UNICEF and UNDP in Ukraine in response to the humanitarian crisis in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

To support the well-being of conflict-affected children and their families, the Government of Japan has made available to UNICEF over 8.6 million dollars in 2014-2017. These funds allowed UNICEF to improve access to safe water and sanitation for over 1.5 million people in conflict-affected regions. UNICEF provided hygiene supplies to 25,000 internally displaced people to ensure better sanitation conditions and to prevent water-borne diseases. Additionally, UNICEF reached 25,000 people with information about basic hygiene practices and 50,000 children – with mine risk education.

Thanks to the support of the Government of Japan, UNICEF improved access to safe learning environment for at least 150,000 children. Forty-five schools and kindergartens were rehabilitated in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and more than 50 education facilities received learning materials, equipment and furniture. Through the implementation of these programmes, conflict-affected children returned to schools and were re-engaged into the educational process.

In 2015-2017, the Government of Japan allocated to UNDP over USD 19 million for restoration of critical infrastructure and support for employment and entrepreneurship among the conflict-affected residents of eastern Ukraine. Over these years, UNDP has restored 37 critical infrastructure objects in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, benefitting over 4.5 million people. The rehabilitated infrastructure includes bridges, medical facilities, social services and rehabilitation centres, and other important facilities. The restoration of essential infrastructure damaged due to the conflict not only revives the local economy and creates new jobs, but also re-builds trust and invisible bridges among communities and people’s hearts.

Under projects funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by UNDP in Ukraine, about 370 micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises were provided with financial support and, as result, more than 2,000 new jobs for people affected by conflict were created over 2015-2017.

As a part of the official visit, the Delegation visited Novoaydar secondary school-gymnasium where they planted Sakura trees as a symbol of a genuine and long-lasting Ukrainian-Japanese friendship. “UNICEF is grateful to the Government and people of Japan for their critical support of children living in the conflict areas in Ukraine as a result of this long-standing partnership,” highlighted Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Ukraine Representative.

The Delegation also visited Rubizhne, where they opened two important medical and social infrastructure facilities rehabilitated by UNDP and the Government of Japan: The City Hospital Infectious Diseases Department and the Centre for Social Rehabilitation of Children with Disabilities. The infectious diseases department of the city hospital serves a population of some 55,000 people, including IDPs, while the centre provides rehabilitation care aimed at development and the correction of disorders of children with disabilities, and their integration into society. Both facilities were renovated, including restoration of water supply, electricity, heating, and ventilation systems, and the replacement of roofs, windows and doors.

“Supporting the socio-economic recovery of the regions affected by conflict in eastern Ukraine are among the top priorities for the UNDP in Ukraine, said Mustafa Sait-Ametov, the coordinator of UNDP’s Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme in eastern Ukraine.

“Residents, and especially children from these areas, including many IDPs, desperately need unhindered access to basic services. In that regard, I would also like to underline the important contributions made by our international development partners, particularly the Government of Japan, and support from Luhansk Regional Administration and Rubizhne city authorities. Thanks to our joint efforts, starting today, the residents of this conflict-hit town and their children will enjoy reliable access to critical medical and social rehabilitation services,” he said.

“I am impressed to see the resilience and commitment of people in Luhansk and Donetsk regions despite of the challenging situation. The Japan’s assistance is the gift from the people of Japan, to show the long-lasting diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Japan. So please, kindly use them with care for our long-lasting friendship. I hope that Japan’s assistance will contribute to the peace and stabilization of the regions, coordinating with UNDP and UNICEF programmes,” said Mr. Michio Harada, Deputy Head of Mission/Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine.

“Japan will continue standing by the Ukrainian people and children, especially in the most vulnerable and conflict-affected Eastern Ukraine. Sakura trees that we planted together in Slovyansk and Novoaydar will be a symbol for the peace and growth of the two regions and also friendship between Japan and Ukraine. Hopefully I can come back here again in ten or twenty years later, to see again the people in Donetsk and Luhansk regions with cherry blossoms in full bloom – as their dreams come true,” added Mr. Michio Harada.

 

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For more information, please contact:
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