Welcome remarks by Manal Fouani, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Ukraine

Illustration: UNDP Ukraine

Your excellency, dear partners and participants,

Welcome to this online meeting on strengthening disaster risk reduction and recovery in Ukraine. This is a critical topic to be tackled, in view of the ever-changing climate dynamics we are living in globally and in Ukraine. Just few weeks ago world leaders, activities and environmentalists met in Glasgow for COP26, to collectively try to address the topic of the hour – climate change and finding immediate measures to mitigate it and address its consequences. Global warming threatens ecosystems and increases the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, floods in particular. Today, three out of four humanitarian crises are directly associated with climate change.

With the increased number and frequency of climate-related natural disasters, including extreme weather events similar to those we witnessed here in Ukraine last year, identifying disaster risk reduction measures has become even more crucial for UNDP Ukraine’s programme.

Climate change is widely believed to be the cause of the growing frequency and severity of flooding, rising temperatures, the higher frequency of heat waves, and the expansion of the areas affected by drought and desertification. Facing these new realities, Ukraine and indeed the world are endeavouring to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the warming, and developing strategies for climate change adaptation at all levels.

While climate change and natural disasters affect all people, women and children are 14 times more likely than men to die during a disaster. In Ukraine, women are more vulnerable to disasters due to the pre-existing economic inequalities and the historical role played by women in the country, with the majority of women being responsible for taking care of the households and family, making the work on strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction even more vital to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  

UNDP Ukraine’s project on strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery in the western regions of Ukraine – the areas that suffered the most during the floods of 2020 – is a direct contributor to these efforts. We assessed the post-disaster needs in Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi regions to ensure a resilient recovery, integrating the Disaster Risk Reduction approach and “build forward better” principles. More details will be shared in the presentation today about the integrated recovery roadmap that we have developed together with the partners in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast and Chernivtsi Oblast. The roadmap focuses on emergency planning and early warning; community engagement; sustainable water and forest management; and management of compensations and insurance.

Allow me here to express my sincere gratitude to the local authorities of Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi regions for their support in conducting the PDNA in September 2021, and for organizing of the meetings and field visits to the most affected territories/communities, as well as providing the data required for the assessment of pending recovery needs and identifying the measures required to enhance resilience to future disasters – in particular flood-related ones.

At UNDP, we strongly believe that the findings of this Post-Disaster Needs Assessment will lay the ground for new initiatives aimed at strengthening resilience to natural disasters in Ukraine, in particular through improving the level of disaster preparedness and response capacities at the national and local levels, and enhancing the Flood Early Warning System in Ukraine.

These findings and recovery roadmap will be soon presented to national and international stakeholders in Ukraine to encourage further discussion and commitment to the country’s DRR and climate change adaptation agenda, and to identify partnership areas for UNDP’s future programming.

I wish a very productive and fruitful discussion, and now pass the floor to Mr. Ruslan Biloshytskyy, the Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

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