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EU Support to the East of Ukraine: Recovery, Peacebuilding and Governance

Project Description
Title of the Action: EU Support to the East of Ukraine – Recovery, Peacebuilding and Governance (Decentralisation and Governance; Economic Recovery and MSME Development; Community Security and Social Cohesion; Sectoral Reforms, Capacity Building and Coordination of Recovery; Support to EIB Loan Implementation)

(€56.5 million of €90 million allocations for Action ENI/2017/040-554 implemented through indirect management by UNDP in partnership with UNFPA, FAO and UN Women)

Budget: €56.5 million
Implementation Period: August 2018 – December 2022

Sustainable Development Goals:
1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
3) Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation
10) Reduce inequality within and among countries
11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Partner Government: Government of Ukraine, Oblasts of Donetsk (Government Controlled Area - GCA), Luhansk (GCA), Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv. In addition to the above oblasts, Kharkiv, Poltava, Odesa and Kyiv are covered by Component 5 of the Action.

Government of Ukraine Priorities:
· Facilitating the country’s continued economic growth by creating favourable conditions for developing business and encouraging investment, reforming the energy sector, further upgrading the industry, and enhancing the infrastructure.
· Improving the efficiency of governance and the quality of public services by engaging new professional staff and introducing modern administration practices in government authorities' operations.
· Creating favourable conditions for human capital development by improving the quality of health care services and providing people with equal access to these services, adapting the education system to modern requirements, supporting Ukrainian culture and sports.
· Effectively supporting institutions designed to combat corruption and promote the rule of law, create the foundation for the genuine protection of private property, promote exceptional equality before the law.
· Assuring the security of every citizen, effectively protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state through the security and defence reform. Recovery and peacebuilding in eastern Ukraine involve the facilitation of socio-economic development of local communities to improve quality of life by strengthening their capacities and stability.

UN-Ukraine Partnership Framework 2018–2022 Outcomes:

· By 2022, women and men, girls and boys participate in decision-making and enjoy human rights, gender equality, effective, transparent and non-discriminatory public services;
· By 2022, women and men, girls and boys, equitably benefit from integrated social protection, universal health services and quality education;
· By 2022, all women and men, especially young people, equally benefit from an enabling environment that includes labour market, access to decent jobs and economic opportunities;
· By 2022, communities, including vulnerable people and IDPs, are more resilient and equitably benefit from greater social cohesion, quality services and recovery support.

European Union Strategic Documents (reference)

- EU Global Strategy, Council Conclusions, October 2016
- New European Consensus on Development - 'Our world, our dignity, our future', June 2017
- EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019)
Specific Objective
1) To enhance local capacity for gender-responsive decentralization and administrative reforms in GCAs of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to improve governance, local development, and services delivery. To alleviate the environmental pressure on the target regions through environmental protection service improvement (Component 1).
2) To address the consequences, on regional/local economies, of the economic lockdown imposed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulate medium and long-term employment and economic growth by assisting in micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development in Donetsk (GCA), Luhansk (GCA), Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts through demand-driven business development services, professional skills training and financial support (Component 2).
3) To enhance community security, social cohesion, confidence in state institutions and reconciliation through the promotion of civic initiatives and partnerships between communities and security and justice service providers in Donetsk (GCA), Luhansk (GCA), Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts. To strengthen young women and men empowerment and engagement in community development (Component 3).
4) To support education and health reforms in the GCAs of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts as well as to strengthen the capacities of national, regional and local authorities in coordination, monitoring and expertise building (Component 4) and in rehabilitation and improvement of critical public infrastructure (Component 5) to mitigate the direct impacts of the conflict.
Expected Results
COMPONENT 1 – DECENTRALIZATION AND GOVERNANCE

The successful completion of the first phase of EU-funded programming, the “Restoration of Governance and Reconciliation in Crisis-affected Communities of Ukraine” project, jointly implemented by UNDP and UN Women, will directly contribute to the good implementation of the upcoming next phase. The EU’s contribution focuses on fledgling local government reforms in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. In the difficult context of measures taken to fight the spread of the pandemic in the region, measures which have, among other things, limited freedom of movement and assembly and, generally, have slowed down public service delivery, the programme’s continued aim is to create sustainable local governments through amalgamation, developing the capacity of local authorities in the areas of local finances, gender-responsive evidence-based strategic planning and budgeting, community mobilization for empowerment initiatives and provision of services to the population. The positive momentum achieved before the pandemic needs to be regained, complemented and supported under the programme through activities included in Component 1, “Local governance and decentralisation”.

RPP has established a framework to align work plans and activities with LGDCs and the U-LEAD head office in Kyiv to avoid duplication or fragmentation. An MoU has been signed between UNDP Ukraine and U-LEAD (GIZ) to ensure coordination and share best practices in developing local governance capacity and implementing decentralization reform. The stated purpose of the MoU “is to facilitate and strengthen collaboration between the Parties, on a non-exclusive basis, in areas of common interest, providing comprehensive and unbiased information on the decentralisation reform agenda, increasing the awareness and the understanding of the objectives of the decentralisation reform and thus promoting ownership and responsibility for the reform among the Ukrainian public.” Activities under this Component to strengthen evidence-based planning at the regional and local level will be implemented by ACTED/IMPACT through a responsible party agreement in close coordination with the RPP.

In addition, the participating United Nations agencies, following on from the experience of the RPP donors board as a coordination mechanism, will support, as part of the project and Component 1, the coordination capacity of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts administrations, to ensure complementarity and strategic oversight of all interventions, supported by the international development partners. This capacity will provide an avenue for linking up donor interventions towards comprehensive implementation of the target regions’ development strategies, supporting an integrated and consistent approach to restoring the social and economic pillars of further sustainable development in the region.

The main goal of Component 1 is to support the recovery and stabilization of conflict-and pandemic-affected communities, mainly in Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts, contributing to meeting their needs, promoting the re-establishment of local services and supporting local governance actors. This will be achieved by enhancing local capacity for gender-responsive decentralisation and administrative reforms to improve governance, local development planning and implementation, and the delivery of services. Activities are aimed at achieving: nationwide decentralization reform processes; improved access to quality public services (administrative, social and environmental) adapted to the pandemic context; enhanced government capacity for participatory strategic planning and transparent implementation.

Result 1.1 The nationwide decentralisation reform process is fully implemented in newly established Amalgamated Territorial Communities (ATCs) in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts under the control of the Government.

The expected result is that aromatase elected and appointed officials will know human-rights-based and gender-responsive decentralisation; community administrations will be well structured and functioning; and community administrations will have sufficient qualified staff. The local authorities targeted are communities that are advancing and/or going through the amalgamation process.

This module is related to the creation of the initial capacity for the newly created communities. Therefore, the measures are directed towards the orientation of newly elected leaders and increasing their knowledge of decentralisation and the legal and institutional framework of local self-government, national policy and legal frameworks on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Expert assistance will be provided to create an effective gender-responsive administrative structure and optimal allocation of functions within local administrations. Training on organisational and crisis management skills for administration employees is also planned. A methodology used in target oblasts and communities will be developed to determine the number and functions of staff needed. A training event on gender equality in local government will provide opportunities to involve more women in government.

The Action will provide capacity development of local authorities for human rights-based and gender-responsive, participatory planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The capacity development of the local authorities to apply a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to local governance will be ensured through several actions aimed at promoting HRBA culture among engaged local administrations.

Result 1.1 will be achieved in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Result 1.2 - Better access to quality administrative, social and environmental services for all residents and displaced populations, including areas along the ‘contact line’ and at crossing points, for vulnerable groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The expected result is that territorial communities will pilot and apply effective models of Social Public Service Centres, of mobile administrative service provider for small and remote settlements and integrated services at crossing points, adapted to conditions of the pandemic; transport links will be enhanced to facilitate the accessibility of existing and new crossing points; civil servants at the local level will be given the knowledge and skills needed for effective service provision in the particular conflict and pandemic context. The digitalisation of services will be enhanced through the use of integrated electronic platforms.

The sub-component envisages measures to solve the problems and difficulties in structuring the social services system at the local level. The aim is to increase the number and diversity of social services, find new models of service provision, increase the number and capacity of institutions providing services at the local level, and actively involve consumers in planning, delivery, and evaluation of services. Models will be piloted to create social service centres, service standards, the implementation of mobile administrative offices for small settlements, and to examine opportunities for the provision of services by local NGOs. The training of employees of ASCs (Administrative Service Centres) will continue. Special focus will be placed on the development and further implementation of e-Governance tools.

The local and regional water supply monitoring will be enhanced in areas where the environmental situation has been particularly affected by the conflict (Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts) and Zaporizhzhia oblast. Groundwater levels and potential risks will be monitored, and climate-smart irrigation systems will be developed and piloted (Kherson oblast).

Assessment, mapping, forecasting of disaster risks in critical civil infrastructure will be improved. A unified register of mines to be closed in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts will be elaborated and maintained. Local authorities’ management capacity of hazardous sites will be enhanced. Confidence-building projects for disaster risk reduction will promote authority and communities cooperation.

Result 1.3 - Government authorities' capacity for participatory strategic planning, gender-responsive budgeting and policymaking, transparent project implementation and policy-making aimed at social cohesion at regional and local levels is enhanced to increase public and private investments and promote inclusive economic growth.

The expected result is that in amalgamated hromadas, local authorities from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts possess all the disaggregated data, analysis and tools needed to design development strategies based on evidence collected (including area-based assessments conducted by REACH) and to attract investors for local economic development.

This sub-component of the programme is related to strategic planning of communities’ future, stemming from available local resources. It involves identifying available resources and determining complementary development factors. Measures are envisaged to increase the availability of quality information on local development factors and trends, provide technical support to local authorities (LAs) on using evidence for planning, and help them elaborate their strategic planning documents. These measures will play an important role in developing the communities: attracting new investments and developing the necessary infrastructure, creating conditions for efficient land use, and helping resolve environmental challenges.

Improved access to quality information for local-level planning

Area-based assessments, taking into account the current epidemic context, will be implemented through a direct contract with ACTED and IMPACT, using a responsible party agreement modality, in 19 territorial units in several stages:
1) Stakeholder mobilisation and assessment design
2) Data collection to ensure that information is available to implement UN RPP and LA planning/decision-making. In consultation with stakeholders, data collection will be sequenced according to a) geographical area, b) method, c) UNRPP thematic component, or d) a mix of these criteria.
3) Data analysis and dissemination to identify the most important findings for each targeted community and the most appropriate and intuitive visualisation methods. This will inform the design and content of the online dashboard, where all data from the 20 assessments will be uploaded. Using this dashboard and leveraging the CVA toolbox, each LA will develop a local language analytical product.

Enhanced government capacities to generate and use evidence for planning and coordination

As per experience and evidence gathered through previous work, information flows already exist at the local level. Capitalizing on this work, under which ‘information management champions’ have also been identified in strategic departments at the oblast level, the Action will, jointly with oblast authorities, identify key data relevant to local administration performance in the targeted communities and corresponding indicators. Support will then be provided for the automatization and visualization of relevant, existing data flows to improve evidence-based planning and the effective communication of data.

COMPONENT 2 – ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND MSME DEVELOPMENT

The main objective under Component 2 of the action is to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy, MSMEs and individual livelihoods in the target regions in eastern Ukraine while fostering medium to long term economic revitalization of the target communities stimulating sustainable employment and economic growth. The activities will include assistance to develop Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) through demand-driven business development services and professional skills training and restoration and strengthening of the institutional and educational infrastructure needed for effective functioning of agriculture non-agricultural sectors of the regional economy.

MSMEs in Donetsk (GCA), Luhansk (GCA), Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts are at risk of losing market share because of attrition of market competitiveness due to the lack of active networks and associations to conduct advocacy, lobby business interests and facilitate joint procurement practices and product shipment, all available to competitors in other regions of Ukraine and competitors in external markets. Historically, this region has been dominated by heavy industry and large enterprises, independently lobbying their interests at the national and international levels. Therefore, the MSME sector does not have experience in coordinating joint efforts or implementing common projects. The conflict in eastern Ukraine, compounded by the economic lockdown put in place to deal with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, has further weakened links between MSMEs due to the loss of the consumer market in the Russian Federation and the decreased economic and operational capabilities of the companies relocated from the non-government-controlled areas.

To revitalize MSMEs and engage them in sustained development, the creation of business associations requires further support and effective coordination; their role in the region’s business community needs to be strengthened, trade links must be created. In addition, the development of their work/business plans and the implementation of their pilot initiatives require strong support and facilitation.

Based on a rapid assessment of COVID-19 impacted value chains, the Project will identify and prioritize the particular sub-sectors/value chains to be developed in the target regions. The appraisals/analyses of the selected sub-sectors/value chains will then be conducted to identify the root causes of value-chain underperformance (in terms of economic, social and environmental sustainability), binding constraints, leverage points along the value chains as well as the environment within which these value chains operate. Support programmes tailored to the need of the target population will be designed.

Result 2.1 - Effective and widely accessible network of advisory, machinery and other service providers established, and access to markets for agricultural and non-agricultural MSMEs improved.

The expected result is that an effective and widely accessible network of advisory, machinery and other service providers will be established, and access to markets for MSMEs in agriculture, business, and manufacturing will be improved. The network of supported institutions will provide consulting support to MSMEs on business development, which is a driver of recovery and economic growth of the region.

The lack of market of appropriate business services and training has been a sustained challenge in eastern Ukraine. The six years of armed conflict and the pandemic, which have affected the whole country, have led to serious disruptions in value chains and outward migration of skilled labour and know-how. In the past few years, private sector organisations have engaged in sustained consultation with entrepreneurs, local and international development partners, and a consensus has emerged on the need to urgently improve the access of agricultural and non-agricultural MSMEs to training and business services needed to promote the recovery of damaged value chains.

Therefore, the Project will strengthen the capacity of local public and private sector organisations to assist MSMEs in identifying new markets and expertise and developing and refining their products and services to access new revenue streams.

Trade links for MSMEs in prioritized value chains will be established or strengthened through participation in industry-specific fairs and exhibitions, B2B and business tours. Such actions will draw from the UN RPP’s experience in organising business promotion events and the already existing brand of East Expo. Local agricultural producers will be supported to participate in specialised agriculture business and investment fairs in other oblasts of Ukraine.

The Project will also raise awareness of the target beneficiaries on the requirements related to the legal registration of agricultural and non-agricultural businesses and contract-based farming and entrepreneurial activity. These activities will be implemented in close coordination with local authorities and the ongoing EU initiative at the national level for promoting farm registry. The establishment of effective mechanisms of cooperation between small producers, farmers and business associations will be a priority in several identified value chains. The project will organise an increased number of training pieces to promote cooperation among the relevant actors of the selected value chains and support newly established agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives, clusters, associations with access to machinery and financial resources.

Under this Component, the Project will also support small-scale businesses in improving food quality and safety standards, hygiene, good agricultural practices and safety of their production technologies in selected value chains, especially those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. MSMEs and other relevant actors will be trained on techniques and methodologies to increase safety standards for their products. Activities will include information campaigns to train rural animal breeders on techniques and technologies to increase milk quality and meet related sanitary requirements. According to EU requirements, the project will expand its support on food safety and quality standards through capacity building and awareness-raising activities.

The agricultural extension services system at regional and local levels will be strengthened to ensure access by MSME farmers to information, know-how, and pertinent advisory services. Local service providers will be supported by providing equipment and training about transportation, storage, packaging, marketing, food quality, contracts, legislation, incentives, etc.

Specific activities will also concentrate on addressing the poor situation of oblasts’ laboratory services in selected oblasts through the provision of minimum necessary equipment and training so that laboratories can comply with the activities of their competence according to the national legislation (e.g. inspection of agricultural inputs such as chemicals, veterinary tests, soil quality and food safety control, etc.

To cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial activities, e-commerce capacities among MSMEs will be developed.

Result 2.2 - Access to credit and financing for self-employment and MSME development in the region is improved and more flexible to complement a loan guarantee scheme implemented by KfW.

The MSMEs in eastern Ukraine are severely affected by a lack of financial resources for business development. The main cause of this is the status of conflict-affected territory and a limited number of loan tools that MSMEs could use to fund development activities.

The small grants programme implemented by UNDP in eastern Ukraine revealed the existence of successful business ideas for MSMEs which cannot be implemented because of the lack of loans for the purchasing of equipment and materials. An assessment of barriers to MSME development conducted by UNDP in 2016 highlighted the problem of access to financial resources: more than 50 per cent of respondents prioritized it. Generally, limited access to financial resources and credit is typical for the region’s economic sectors throughout the value-added chain. The practice of supporting MSMEs through a small grant programme will be continued within the current programme and will be expanded: a dedicated grant and training scheme for MSMEs and citizens impacted by the COVID-19COVID-19 epidemic will be established. Several selected MSMEs in prioritized value chains in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts will improve the quality of produced goods and services through organizational development and targeted investment in equipment innovations.

Awareness raising and outreach on the availability of investment support grants will be provided to the targeted population so that all possible beneficiaries of the grants have the opportunity to apply.

KfW will provide the grant funds for businesses in partnership with Ukrainian banks active in the target regions. SMEs’ access to finance in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts could be significantly improved by encouraging banks to extend loans in these regions and increasing SMEs' capacity and financial literacy. Technical assistance from UNDP and FAO will enable the KfW component to deliver more effectively: participating banks will be supported by the technical assistance mostly in the form of training of loan officers working in Donetsk(GCA), Luhansk (GCA), Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, which will be elaborated in close cooperation with UNDP and FAO.

Result 2.3 - Provision of technical and vocational training, including skill development for adults' re-deployment, is of increasing quality and adjusted to local labour market demands.

Since 2011 the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has transferred powers and funds for initial vocational training to the regional level. However, a mechanism to monitor the needs of the regional labour market has not been created in any oblast of Ukraine. Thus, vocational schools now provide training without information about the estimated number of workers in different professions required by regional employers. Research on employers’ needs (the regional labour market) is widely used in developed economies. Such studies can provide a validation base for allocating funds for training from the state (regional) budget.

In Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts, this problem has become even more critical due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, instability along the Azov coastline, the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the education system and the related severance of links between educational institutions and employers who are currently in the NGCAs. In addition, a significant number of educational institutions are also now “displaced” and are not equipped properly. Given changes in the industry structure in Donetsk (GCA), Luhansk (GCA), Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts, regional employers face a lack of qualified personnel. In turn, regional VET institutions cannot meet this need because of the shortage in foreseen demand on the labour market and capacity for its fulfilment.

Under this activity, methodological support will be provided to vocational education institutions to ensure that they can deliver revised education standards and corresponding courses in skills and competencies responding to local labour demands and to increase the quality of services provided by the state employment service at the national and local level to jobseekers.

At the same time, to put the VET development and investment plans in place, there is a need to build an efficient network of regional enterprises and MSMEs that will further provide employment opportunities for VET graduates. Such networks will enable the rapid exchange of new technologies and modern equipment that should be included in training programmes to make VET graduates competitive and wanted by employers. It is important to ensure on-the-job training under the VET programmes, using the facilities of the regional enterprises and MSMEs. The selection of types and equipment used during the training process should be discussed with the potential employers. Advanced training and development of Master of Vocational Training are also critical.

The Project will also support and cooperate with regional Offices of State Employment Services (OSES) (in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts), providing capacity development to local career counsellors for vulnerable groups, revamping the registration and referral procedures at the OSES. The Action will promote peer-learning programmes for the OSES offices in the East to learn best practices from the OSES offices in other parts of Ukraine and the CEE sub-region, including close coordination with employers on skills, demand. The project will also establish local employment partnerships (LEPs), bringing together local authorities, OSES, enterprises and technical VET institutions.

The Project will also enhance economic resilience through investments in the employability and economic independence of young people, women and representatives of vulnerable groups, including removing gender stereotypes in educational and employment/income generation choices.

The Project will create opportunities for youth in the targeted communities to be better equipped with practical soft skills, competencies and experience to increase their employability and boost their career development.

The Project will address the under-representation of women in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and overcome deeply rooted gender stereotypes limiting women's career and education choices.

Finally, the Project will introduce a Life Long Learning programme model for men and women at risk of multiple forms of discrimination and violence to support their rehabilitation and social adaptation, reduce vulnerability, and boost their ability to enrol in professional re-training and/or self/employment business development programmes.

COMPONENT 3 – COMMUNITY SECURITY & SOCIAL COHESION

The third component of the Project will concentrate on the following key transformations:

• Enhancing community and civil society contribution to local development with a focus on security and justice service provision, making sure that people in the conflict-affected areas (including IDPs) and those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic have capacities for and access to participatory decision-making and budgeting mechanisms for community security, social cohesion and access to justice at the local and oblast levels;
• Facilitating young women and men’s empowerment to take community development decisions; and
• Improved access to security and justice providers (including in a pandemic context), resulting in effective and streamlined services provided by capable institutions at the local, oblast and national levels.

UNDP and UN Women have invested in social cohesion, community security, and community mobilization in partnership with the EU and other donors by implementing the Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme in eastern Ukraine. Experience and feedback received during implementation that has been validated in various studies (e.g. the USE and Security and Justice surveys) have revealed the following factors that now largely define the approaches towards promoting social cohesion and community building programming in the region: a) poor incentives and a paucity of good practices to replicate, b) lack of availability and accessibility of information, c) need for streamlining and improving the effectiveness of mechanisms for citizen engagement, and d) lack of ‘safe space for dialogue.

Analysis and other empirical studies have shown that trust in local and social institutions is significantly higher than in central institutions. It also shows that improving service delivery requires a local approach, as the types of services in most needs of improvement differ considerably from one territorial cluster to another.

Women and men in communities in the conflict-affected areas still do not have full confidence in fair treatment and effective service by the police. Local authorities, police and service providers lack effective coordination and interaction and do not consistently engage and consult with women and men from the communities. The local authorities and law enforcement bodies do not apply human rights, and gender analysis in assessing community security concerns, and the local concerns of women and girls remain unaddressed.

The advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment is impeded by the patriarchal culture, discriminatory attitudes and gender norms, which impede the acceptance of women as legitimate and effective leaders. The needs and priorities of women and men, especially from vulnerable groups, are perceived as being neglected in decision-making processes related to community security and social cohesion. Regional and local decision-makers lack skills and knowledge for participatory design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the recovery, peace, and community security measures.

The women, peace and security agenda has not been localised in the conflict-affected regions. Regional and local planning and budgeting do not address women’s gender-specific, conflict and pandemic-related needs. GBV (including sexual harassment and violence in public spaces) and conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) are serious security concerns that have been on the rise since the onset of the crisis and, more recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic’s lockdown period. In eastern Ukraine, law enforcement and local authorities' awareness, skills, and knowledge to respond to GBV and CRSV are particularly low.

Local authorities in the target communities need to better understand and address veterans' challenges after returning from service to reintegrate into civilian life. Most of those who returned from service suffer bias and mistreatment in their daily lives because of their political opinions, native language, level of income, health status and disability, and level of education.

On the youth side, very low involvement of younger generations in political and social life was noted. There is 14 million youth in Ukraine (aged 14-35 years), making up 30 per cent of the population. Yet, their political participation at local, regional and national levels is lower than in other European countries. Young people are key drivers of social change. To ensure their participation in the future of their country, they must be empowered and given the ability to engage in governance processes at various levels actively, be politically literate, and make sound judgement and understand global issues. It is hard to underestimate the long-term effects of their political engagement, particularly given the large differences between the younger and older generations regarding their views on democracy, human rights, and peaceful co-existence.

Ukraine, with its protracted armed conflict, is in great need of peacebuilding and reconciliation. According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security, it is not possible to build long-lasting security and stability without protecting the lives and dignity of young people and meaningfully engaging them in issues of peace and security. To translate this approach into practice, this global policy framework provides a set of guidelines to create policies for youth that would positively contribute to peacebuilding efforts, including for their social and economic development. It also calls on all relevant actors to establish mechanisms to promote a culture of peace and discourage youth from all acts of violence.

Programming under this component addresses the issues of scarcity of universally available and widely accessible security and justice services that reflect people’s current needs, and especially those of vulnerable groups of women and men (hampered by limited democratic space to enable voices to be heard and to ensure the accountability of decision-makers).

Result 3.1 - A network of citizen groups is established and supported to promote social cohesion, community security and sustainable socio-economic development, with a special focus on poor people, women, youth, elderly, marginalized ethnic and societal groups, and persons affected by violence and deprivations related to the conflict.

This activity will effectively identify target voluntary communities (with emphasis placed on communities in the ‘grey zone’ closest to the ‘conflict line’ or most directly affected by the conflict and by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic) so that these communities can be comprehensively engaged by the implementers (especially UNDP, UN Women and UNFPA for this component). The project will analyse data collected from community security networks of citizens in areas close to the ‘contact line’ in Donetsk Oblast that was supported during the first phase. A roll-out plan (based on an initial data collection) for newly identified locations in Luhansk Oblast will be prepared as part of this activity. This plan may include, inter alia, the following actions: 1) full-fledged work on community security and social cohesion with local stakeholders, 2) long term support to specific stakeholders to accomplish specific tasks, and 3) short-term support to specific stakeholders to address specific urgent needs.

Centres for Safety and Security (CSS), a joint initiative by the police, emergency and firefighting services, will be created across Ukraine as part of the decentralisation process. The main objective of the CSS is to protect the population and territories from multiple hazards, emergencies and ensure public safety.

As of 2019, SES will need a wide range of support to enable the functioning of CSS, maritime safety and security and warning systems for the population living along the coastal line. This support is vital, given the past security challenges along the Azov coast. The Project will, thus, specifically support the existing and to-be-created CSS in locations along the Azov coastline, including training, capacity building and limited provision of sea rescue equipment, and piloting a coastline emergency warning system including environmental emergency aspects. In line with the law on the National Police, the new structure, placed under the Minister of Internal Affairs, is composed of Criminal Police, Patrol Police present in 33 cities, Police Security, Special Police Units. With this new law, the government intends to tackle corruption within the police force, incorporate principles of community policing, employ a greater number of women into the police force and improve public perceptions.

Accessible and flexible police services for the population (including vulnerable groups such as PWDs) remains a national priority. The improved infrastructure of police stations and community policing projects will positively impact the safety and security of citizens residing in the target regions, including locations along the Azov coastline, allowing the police to react more efficiently and provide better services to the population.

The Action will support a limited rehabilitation of the front offices of police stations in at least 10 locations in the target oblasts as well as build capacity for community policing, communication and evidence-based planning, providing training for police staff and community members and support for related new initiatives by the community police.

Intra- and inter-communal dialogue on peacebuilding and reconciliation will be further enhanced through an expansion to Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts of the conflict mapping, and resolution approaches already used in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and of the geo-information system of conflict resolution.

Psychological reintegration of veterans through the use of sport as therapy and rehabilitation approaches will be promoted and supported across Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts, including through the introduction of the Institute of Sports Ambassadors, involving veterans in reintegration programmes across the four regions.

The capacity of local authorities and security services providers will be strengthened to coordinate effectively in risk management (implementation of recommendations on international best practices of risk and threat management).

Community mobilization through Community Security Working Groups and self-help groups methodology (vulnerable groups empowerment) will be strengthened in target oblasts.

Border guards and other staff’s capacities to address human rights, gender, age, and other population vulnerabilities at the crossing points, considering health and epidemiological security aspects. Assistance (including mine risk education and management where relevant) will be provided to the population using the crossing points along the contact line. ICT solutions will be developed and implemented to ensure a more convenient and faster crossing of EECPs/administrative boundary lines.

A web-based platform will be developed for information/needs gathering and sharing (from civil society and vulnerable groups) in case of emergency, ensuring better coordination among key community stakeholders and streamlining access to international support. A digital hubs Network (remote/rural areas) will be developed as a tool for digital literacy, e-services and e-democracy promotion. A digital literacy programme will be launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Digital Transformation to boost civic activism in target communities.

Support will be provided to communities in establishing referral mechanisms to assist people affected by conflict and crisis-related trauma, including impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and building local capacity for prevention and response to violence and negative coping mechanisms.

Result 3.2. Young women and men, in particular from vulnerable and marginalised groups, are empowered

The Action will promote youth engagement in active citizenship through youth-driven cultural and other activities, identifying, supporting and mentoring regional cultural initiative groups. Innovative solutions for youth engagement in community development (based on innovation and start-up incubators, coworking and art spaces, Community Safari models, etc.) will be developed, including youth mobility programmes, strategic sessions and other tools on innovation creation. The project will develop targeted solutions for youth in bigger cities and small municipalities, and rural areas.

Practice-oriented training will be provided for young women and men with a focus on vulnerable groups, aimed at their active engagement in public and community life with further shadowing programmes of the best graduates in amalgamated hromadas in other oblasts of Ukraine, promoting youth mobility (“Skills Lab: Local Leaders” in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts).

The Project will support the establishment and operationalisation of a web platform to develop soft skills for young women and men with a focus on youth with disabilities in online format (“ProSkills” in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts). The Project will also build the capacities of teachers and youth workers in online education, online facilitation, and computer literacy.

The Implementation of the Youth Innovations Bank (YIB) programme aimed at engaging youth networks, youth centres and youth councils in promoting and leading the way for generating and implementing social innovative projects within their local communities (YIB in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts).

Result 3.3 Citizen groups' initiatives are financially supported.

Activities will seek to operationalize a grant support fund, set up in key thematic areas, as identified by the EU roadmap for engaging with CSOs in Ukraine. Areas may include community development and security initiatives, social cohesion, social integration, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, gender equality and GBV, promotion of participatory budgets, civil society peer-to-peer support programmes, CSO mentoring system, inter-municipal cooperation, support to women-led CSOs. Support will be provided, to target oblasts, with a particular focus on joint initiatives by local authorities and vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities (PWDs); women and girls facing multiple forms of discrimination, such as displaced women and women with disabilities; youth; older persons; internally displaced persons; and ex-combatants. Local working groups will guide the group at the hromada level and advisory councils at the oblast level.

Work to achieve this result will also boost the sustainability of community-based and civil society organizations at the local level, as those are still heavily dependent on continuous external financial support. At the same time, financial sustainability depends not only on the diversification of funding sources but also on the quality of work provided by CBOs). CBOs and CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) are required to use reliable M & M&E and management frameworks for quality assurance, which will ensure that their services remain in demand.

Selected CBOs will be supported to prioritize and develop their own strategies based on strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, availability of resources and so on. By improving the quality of proposals, through better advocacy strategies and increased outreach, CBOs will be supported to gain resources from local budgets, national foundations and local businesses, but also to generate income (eco-tourism, micro-businesses, fundraising events and so on), mobilise volunteers and build partnership and networks with other similar organizations.

COMPONENT 4 – SECTORAL REFORMS, CAPACITY BUILDING AND COORDINATION OF RECOVERY

A. Sector: Healthcare

The Public Healthcare Reform

On 19 October 2017, Ukraine’s Parliament approved Law 6327, “On state financial guarantees for the provision of medical services and medicines,” which initiated the important and long-awaited health reform process in Ukraine. The law introduces changes to the entire financing model of the healthcare system, switching to payments for services provided by individual doctors or medical facilities and replacing the old, input-based financing system (for infrastructure, number of beds and so on). It also aims to provide higher quality care for patients, a stronger emphasis on prevention and primary care rather than specialized treatment, and adequate salaries for doctors and nurses.

The first task of Ukraine’s NHS under the health financing reform is to sign contracts with primary healthcare facilities or individual doctors (registered as private entrepreneurs) to purchase services at a fixed rate per patient. As a result, the annual payment from NHS for services provided will depend on the number of patients that have signed declarations with individual doctors (with minimum and a maximum number of patients per doctor being fixed through secondary legislation). This financing model will provide opportunities for those who work more, provide quality service, and manage their own or institutions’ activities to earn more. In addition, Ukrainians will have the opportunity to choose their family doctor irrespective of their official place of residence.

The success of healthcare reform depends largely on the preparation and initiative of oblast and medical facilities' administrations, which are directly responsible for implementing new national policies, regulations and by-laws at the regional level. Implementation of several important elements of the new financing model will require new knowledge and capacity to ensure proper healthcare system functioning and service delivery. One of those elements, important already for the first stage of reform, will be implementing the e-Health system strategy, a completely new way of collecting and handling medical information.

A transparent and clear communication campaign to explain the meaning and advantages of the reform will be crucial to overcoming resistance and distrust from both medical professionals and patients who are used to the old routine. Improved quality and accessibility of services, especially in rural and disadvantaged areas, will require diligent planning, preparation and practical support to ensure the successful rollout of this reform.

Implementing health system reform in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts

The healthcare financing reform adopted in 2017 brings new challenges and opportunities to Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

This region suffers from generally low access to all types of public healthcare services, an outdated governance system and high levels of corruption, and minimal access to specialized treatment and care (tertiary healthcare), damaged medical infrastructure, and shortages of medical personnel caused by the ongoing conflict. The forced relocation of hospitals rendered significant volumes of medical equipment and specialists inaccessible, as the vast majority of highly specialized healthcare facilities remained in the NGCAs. As a result, often, patients have to seek certain healthcare services outside the region. In addition, a large inflow of internally displaced persons, whose public expenses for healthcare are not properly accounted for in the regional budgets, is stretching the already very scarce resources available through the old financing system.

A significant shortage of medical staff is being reported among specialists and at the primary care level. For example, there are only 523 family doctors in Donetsk Oblast (65 per cent of the number of doctors reportedly needed) and 160 family doctors in Luhansk Oblast (33 per cent of those reportedly needed). This suggests a need for specific measures to motivate other physicians (paediatric doctors or internal medicine doctors) to fill the current gap. In fact, there are 243 internal medicine doctors and 72 paediatricians in Luhansk Oblast and 243 internal medicine doctors and 190 paediatricians in Donetsk Oblast who potentially could be (re)trained as family doctors.

Detailed implementation steps of healthcare sector reform lack an effective communication strategy for reaching out to physicians, health officials and civil society in the regions, especially in eastern Ukraine, where resistance to proposed changes is noted among the local administrators and medical community. A 2016 Public Expenditure Tracking Survey revealed that 64 per cent of rayon/city officials and over a third (38 per cent) of physician-managers could not answer questions about the planned reforms in the health care sector. However, with more information and official notes on reform coming out of the Ministry of Health, the situation improves.

The healthcare financing reform is a fundamental sectoral reform in the successfully progressing decentralization process. Newly created and empowered local communities are expected to decide on certain aspects of healthcare service provision and accessibility at the community level, so their active engagement in better understanding and supporting the roll-out of the secondary care reform is desirable.

Reform of public procurement of medicines and healthcare products, including establishing a new Central Procurement Agency (CPA) for medicines, is another important and urgent task for the Government of Ukraine to address. An earlier Public Expenditure Tracking Survey in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts noted that currently, local hospitals are directly responsible for most medical procurement. Still, the scarce resources available are used ineffectively and the procedures applied are too rigid.

Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Reform

An additional element of healthcare reform is the reform of emergency medical services (EMS). In the current health crisis context, this has become one of the key reform priorities. Free provision of EMS is included in the guaranteed benefits package of medical services, introduced by the abovementioned Law in October 2017. The Law guarantees state financial coverage of EMS costs for all Ukrainian citizens, permanent residents and refugees. Currently, EMS is funded through two sources: pre-hospital services (dispatch centres and ambulances) are funded from oblast budgets. In-hospital emergency care is funded from local budgets (depending on the type of hospital). According to the newly adopted Law, from 2020, all EMS services will be purchased centrally by the NHS. In February 2018, the MoH proposed a draft EMS Reform Concept outlining how the provision of EMS could be fundamentally restructured in the context of the introduced healthcare reform. The reform aims to improve the cost-effectiveness and quality of EMS via better organization, smarter financial incentives and stronger links with primary and secondary healthcare.

EMS in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts

Emergency medicine in eastern Ukraine faces significant problems due to limited and outdated equipment and the lack of personnel, especially in the areas where the consequences of the armed conflict are visible every day. Ambulance personnel are negatively affected by the high stress and emotional load, often resulting in burnout. Capacity building and qualification improvement for healthcare professionals working in ambulances provided by the international community in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts could improve the quality of services delivered. At the same time, both oblasts have existing undergraduate and postgraduate educational systems for nurses and medical universities to train physicians (two universities have been displaced from the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk), which should be able to address some of the shortages of EMS staff (as well as family doctors).

UNDP expertise in health governance and reform promotion

Capacity-building activities are planned to support regional and local authorities in strategic planning and resource mobilization, as well as on transparency, integrity, anti-corruption and best procurement practices. In addition, a health promotion campaign will be carried out to tackle post-traumatic disorders and reduce risk factors of non-communicable diseases that influence life expectancy, especially of the most vulnerable.

Based on its experience and capacities, and at the request of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, UNDP has been mandated to conduct public procurement of medicines and medical products since 2015, applying the best practices in transparency, efficiency and accountability. Continuous support will be provided by UNDP to the Ministry of Health until 2019 when UNDP will progressively hand over the procurement of medicines to the Ministry of Health or the assigned state entity. The programme builds the capacity of government officials to support a transparent and cost-effective procurement system, which should also be rolled out to the local level. The lessons learned and the best international and national UNDP expertise and work models will be introduced locally. Workshops and webinars on transparency in public procurement, sustainable procurement, supply chain management and public procurement legislation will be provided within the project.

Building on its ongoing work in the region, UNDP will deploy and adopt the best international experience and practices to enhance the capacity of government officials. As a result, all the activities are directly targeted at improving the quality of life and reducing mortality rates in eastern Ukraine. The project will have a bottom-up approach to developing and piloting the new models of work, referral system and good governance in healthcare at the local level. It will be a pilot site for the ongoing transitions and newly developed policies and procedures of healthcare service decentralization. Close cooperation will be ensured with the Ministry of Health and oblast health authorities on healthcare reform promotion and rollout and other relevant international projects, medical and patient communities, and local counterparts.

The key results that the Project will aim at achieving are:

Result 4.1 The regional health care system in both oblasts is effectively functioning in line with national reforms. It addresses the specific needs of persons directly affected by the armed conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic, persons with disabilities and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The health referral system/emergency medicine/ambulance services have been reinforced, including those for other marginalised groups.

The expected result of this activity is to roll out, promote and scale up the use of recently introduced financial mechanisms and good governance in the implementation of healthcare system reform. The project will ensure that the methodologies and tools developed and approved by the MoH will be fully utilized during the rollout of healthcare reform in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts while avoiding duplication and strengthening collaboration with the ongoing projects of USAID, the EU, the World Bank and other organizations working in the two oblasts.

The project will also strengthen the capacity of local authorities for strategic planning and effective use of available resources; promote transparency, integrity and anti-corruption practices; and introduce the best international practice in public procurement.

Patients’ NGOs will play an important role in oversight and monitoring the quality and accessibility of health services after the reform starts officially in July 2018. Public monitoring of the availability and accessibility of the essential medicines and primary health services will play a significant role in good governance, support the rational use of medicines and improve access to treatment. The project will develop a tool kit on public monitoring from the beginning of the second year, rolled out nationwide.

Activities will also concentrate on strengthening the capacity of health care providers to improve health services at all levels (medical doctors, paramedics, nurses) through training to update their professional knowledge and improve and develop new skills required to implement the health care reforms. The focus is on strengthening capacity to deliver better pre-hospital and emergency health care services; establish an effective (modernized) patient referral system, and improve capacity to address mental health and psychosocial factors to improve the health system’s response to special needs, particularly of patients affected by the conflict. In addition, the project will seek to promote healthy lifestyles by raising awareness and introducing behavioural change communication among the most affected and vulnerable population, addressing prevention or early diagnosis of non-communicable diseases (cancer or diabetes).

Complementary Result 4.2 Re-enforcement of the quality of the education system, in particular in the universities and colleges displaced from NGCAs. This will be achieved through supporting the implementation of a competitive fund managed directly by the EU. UNDP will aim at helping displaced universities, which have already been awarded grants, implement their projects effectively by providing advisory and monitoring services, information, and capacity building. Support will also be provided to future applicant universities.

B. Coordination of recovery efforts in eastern Ukraine

Despite many political, humanitarian, and socio-economic measures made by the Government to solve problems related to the situation in the east, there is still a significant need to establish efficient means for monitoring and coordinating recovery efforts across central and local executive bodies and local authorities, civil society institutions.

The Action will aim to build the Ministry's capacity for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories (MinRToT) and regional and local authorities in monitoring and coordinating relevant government programmes, action plans, and studies to improve infrastructure and service delivery in eastern Ukraine. It will also contribute to building national expertise on conflict management, peacebuilding, mediation, IDP integration and social protection. It will improve stakeholders’ ability to respond quickly to acute crises, identify needs and priorities to carry out specific interventions, implement projects and minimize potential risks.

The Project's key results will aim to improve the capacity of national, regional and local authorities to monitor, coordinate, and build expertise on conflict and epidemic-related issues in eastern Ukraine.

The capacities of the Ministry for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories will be strengthened as well as those of regional and local authorities in monitoring and coordinating relevant government programmes, action plans and studies for improvement of infrastructure and service delivery in eastern Ukraine and in building national expertise on conflict management, peacebuilding, mediation, IDP integration and social protection.

Activities will include:

• Conduct a capacity gap assessment of the MinRToT and its regional offices to design and carry out an action plan on capacity building curriculum and technical assistance. Activities will include capacity building of MinRToT offices in Kyiv and the regions through needs-based training, mentoring and provision of ICT innovative solutions;
• Support the MinRToT and respective State regional administrations and local authorities in coordinating the implementation of studies for the rehabilitation and improvement of public infrastructure and service delivery in eastern Ukraine;
• Strengthening a humanitarian-development nexus (HDN) through supporting thematic and regional working groups in the framework of the Coordination Platform on Peacebuilding and Recovery under MinRToT leadership. Activities will also aim at providing support to the development of a common information products registry across humanitarian and development actors;
• Providing support to implement specific projects to alleviate the negative socio-economic impact caused by the conflict; improving conflict management, peacebuilding and mediation.
These activities will potentially be implemented through a Responsible Party Agreement with several stakeholders, including the Danish Refugee Council.

COMPONENT 5 - SUPPORT TO EIB LOAN IMPLEMENTATION

The purpose of this Component is to strengthen the EIB's Early Recovery Programme (ERP) implementation through capacity development of final beneficiaries, support for all phases of the construction/restoration project cycle (including but not limited to planning, pre-design and design engineering, procurement, implementation and monitoring).

It is expected that the technical assistance support will ensure effective management of the construction/restoration projects (“sub-projects”) to project design, procurement and construction work. The activities in this component will include a cross-cutting focus on improved governance, particularly aiming at preventing fraud and corruption.

Component 5 will be structured around the following main results:

1. Strengthened local governance capacity for project preparation and implementation
2. Improved project compliance, progress evaluation and monitoring for effectiveness and efficiency.
3. Improved financial management in project implementation.
4. Initial identification of investment needs to a follow-up phase of ERP.
5. Project ownership at the local level and facilitation of stakeholder engagement.
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PROJECT DETAILS
Ukraine
Priority Area:
Partnership that protects, Partnership that protects, Partnership that protects, Partnership that creates, Partnership that creates, Partnership that creates, Partnership that greens, Partnership that empowers, Partnership that empowers, Partnership that creates
Subsector:
Governance & public administration, Rule of law & human rights, Security & conflict response, Economy & trade, Employment and entrepreneurship, Agriculture and rural development, Environment & climate change, Civil society, Communication & support to media, Education, Research and Innovation
Topic:
Project Status:
Ongoing
Start Date:
01.08.2018
End Date:
31.12.2022
Implementing Organisation:
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
Funding by the EU:
€56 500 000
EU Project Number:
398-605

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