Kyiv, 20 May 2020 – The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, along with the preventive measures designed to slow its spread, are putting great stress on Ukraine’s economy, and affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the country. To determine the exact social and economic consequences of the crisis, the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine (UNDP), with the support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), is conducting an extensive survey of households and small and medium enterprises in all 24 oblasts.
Dafina Gercheva, UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, said the survey is designed to measure the impact of the pandemic on the people of Ukraine, their businesses, and the local economy and will be used to conceive policy options and response measures for Government’s consideration. “ This survey also will feed into the development of an overarching and integrated support package of all UN agencies, funds and programmes in Ukraine,” she said, “to address the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations who are living under the duress of the pandemic, to protect their rights and to ensure no one is left behind.”
Dominika Stojanoska, acting UN Women Representative in Ukraine, said the survey will help to assess how the crisis is impacting men and women differently. “The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health issue,” she said, “it is causing profound shocks to our societies and our economies, and the Rapid Gender Assessment of COVID-19 already shows the pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities. We need this survey to investigate the disproportionate impact on women and men, and in particular the most vulnerable, and tailor a gender-oriented response and recovery accordingly.”
Mara Lopes, FAO Head of Office, said the survey will help to monitor the impacts of market shocks and uncertainty on food security in order to inform efforts to ensure sufficient food stocks. “This should allow us to analyse changes in workforce capacity, crop diversification and access to agricultural land and to help agricultural businesses to overcome possible risks by developing appropriate coping mechanisms.”
To overcome the challenges posed by the quarantine and social distancing, UNDP has mobilized 80 staff volunteers and provided specialized training to support the survey. “We plan to contact a thousand families and a thousand small and medium businesses across the country using online and telephone interviews,” said Gercheva. “many of our colleagues are dedicating their time to this survey in addition to their daily work to advance Ukraine’s development priorities.”
Measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid overloading the health system have had a dramatic impact on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that about 700,000 small and medium enterprises in the service sector and educational institutions which employ 3.5 to 4 million people have closed. The SMEs most impacted by the quarantine restrictions are those in hospitality, tourism, retail, entertainment, creative industries, and hairdressing and beauty salons. These industries all have a high proportion of women-led micro-enterprises and female employees.
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