Scaling up support to the people of Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is inflicting immense human suffering and devastating communities. UNDP teams are on the ground, working in partnership with the Government of Ukraine to save lives and support relief efforts.

But the needs are rapidly increasing.

The government says at least US$100 billion of buildings, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools have been destroyed. The war has caused half the country’s businesses to shut completely, while the other half are struggling.

UNDP’s initial estimates suggest that a prolonged conflict would push nine out of 10 of Ukrainians into poverty or near poverty and put almost two decades of development gains at risk. The deep social and economic scars will endure for generations.

“In parallel with critical humanitarian support, development must be prioritized even in the midst of war… Targeted assistance will help prevent millions from falling into poverty at a time when at least half of all Ukrainian businesses have been forced to close. We’re working with Ukraine to help to halt a looming development catastrophe.” — Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

The government estimates at least US$100 billion of infrastructure has been destroyed. Koshytsia Street, Kyiv, 25 February 2022.

Photo: Oleksandr Ratushniak / UNDP Ukraine

The government estimates at least US$100 billion of infrastructure has been destroyed. Koshytsia Street, Kyiv, 25 February 2022.

Photo: Oleksandr Ratushniak / UNDP Ukraine

Stay and deliver

UNDP has supported development in Ukraine for 30 years and our commitment to the people of Ukraine is absolute. Using early socio-economic assessments, we launched a new programme focused on supporting the government’s emergency response, its commitment to public services and to keeping the economy running.

Our programme taps into Ukrainians’ inspiring levels of resourcefulness—which they have repeatedly demonstrated. And we are working with institutions and civil society to maintain the social fabric, uphold human rights, and ensure the inclusion, protection and empowerment of all people.

Women and girls first

It is vital to meet the needs of the most vulnerable first. For women and girls that also means providing ways to support their families through developing skills, business support and enabling them to tap into finance networks and markets.

Sexual violence is a predictable part of war’s brutality and inhumanity, and UNDP has prioritized support through local institutions and civil society.

Photo: Алесь Усцінаў

Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable first includes providing job skills and other programmes to ensure that they can support themselves. Two girls walking around a village in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine. April 2022.

The groundwork is laid

UNDP’s direct outreach is quick and effective because we can rely on longstanding partnerships with existing local networks.

We’ve re-purposed more than $20 million of existing flexible funds, in line with what the Ukrainian government has agreed are the most pressing priorities.

This goes from tracking displaced people and developing new digital services, to creating job opportunities for the most vulnerable, including women and the displaced.

It means we can provide food and other essentials such as medication and first aid kits and support the Health Ministry with tests for the tens of thousands of wounded civilians who need blood transfusions.

Valued partners step up

In eastern Ukraine, our strong partnership with the Government of Canada helped repurpose $8 million to respond to the urgent needs of people fleeing violence.

Japan contributed $4.5 million to clear explosive ordnance and remove debris, ensuring safe human mobility and access to essential goods and services for humanitarian support.

With funding from the European Union, the Swedish International Development Agency, the Netherlands and Canada, UNDP is also providing displacement shelters with food and medical supplies, as well as equipment for emergency services and hospitals.

Sweden is supporting our efforts to provide digital services which allow the displaced to register and get access to state services and support. In the western districts we’re supporting community policing, and in Zakarpattia, we are backing police patrols as they maintain order in displacement hosting areas.

Experts have been deployed to work on crisis governance, mine action, debris management and environmental hazards.

Help for those on the move

As fighting rages on, many remain cut off and people cannot leave their homes. At the same time millions are on the move in what is the largest and fastest displacement of people since WWII.

It’s critical to ensure they can get online support no matter where they are without having to travel to official offices which may have been destroyed, or into dangerous conflict areas.

“No one should have to live through this, but the Ukrainians have shown the highest level of resilience. The Ukrainian people need to regain their control over their lives and livelihoods as they have always done. They’re responding and finding solutions; but we need to continue supporting them, and peace needs to prevail as soon as possible.” —Manal Fouani, UNDP interim Resident Representative in Ukraine.
Photo: Oleksandr Ratushniak / UNDP Ukraine

Online support has become critical for Ukrainians as they flee their homes often with little more than the clothes on their backs. People are fleeing violence, Bucha, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, 4 March 2022.

Thought leadership as a trigger for action

We have learned from our extensive experience working in crises, that action must follow careful consideration.

In Ukraine, our work is informed by socio-economic analysis. We’re meeting immediate needs and laying the ground for recovery by making the most of Ukraine’s own resources: their economic capacities, natural resources, and human capital.