The Sustainable Development Goals in Ukraine
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Ukraine:
15 February 2024
Remarks by the Head of the UN in Ukraine, Denise Brown, during the launch of the third Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment
I stood here in exact same spot last year when we launched the RDNA2, with the same actors, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the European Union and the World Bank. I was thinking this morning about what I said then, and I made the point that no one wants to live in a collective centre. People want to return home, be in their communities, send their kids to school, have easy access to health care, and walk down the street to the market. And mainly live without the fear and trauma that war creates. What I said one year ago is still true and we see it every day: Ukrainians are determined to return to their lives pre-war with their eyes on the future. That is a big challenge for the 4.5 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine and the 5.9 million people who fled across borders to seek safety and refuge in Europe. Missile strikes in communities along the front line and beyond, as we saw this morning, including here in Kyiv, almost every day, make that recovery a challenge. The reality is, and I see it all the time, that displacement and collective centres remain an unfortunate reality for millions of Ukrainians. Hospitals, schools, and ports continue to be attacked, damaged and destroyed. And, I think most horrifically, civilians killed, injured and maimed, including children, which is what we saw yesterday again in the Donetsk Region. I know the RDNA3 reports it – the UN contributed, there is a great partnership with the Government, the European Union and the World Bank – and I also have what I know from my missions throughout the country that, for the moment – and it is in the report but hasn’t been mentioned yet – humanitarian assistance and recovery are going to have to co-exist for quite some time. And our challenge is linking one to the other. Humanitarian assistance remains a lifeline for millions of Ukrainians who, because of the war, as I said many times already, can't yet go home or those who remain in their homes along the front-line communities because their life has no meaning anywhere else. And despite their daily struggles, what I heard so many times from those people is that their life has purpose and their life has dignity, no matter how difficult it is. I really want to emphasize that the Government, the United Nations, the international and national NGOs, local volunteers, the regional and local authorities, we have created a vast network that allow us to respond when a missile strikes a community, for the displaced to provide them with daily support, for the disabled… And in the report you will heart that the number of disabled in the country has grown over 7 per cent since we launched the RDNA 2. And the support for the elderly. So that network provides this assistance. In Bilozerka, where I was about 10 days ago, and in Kherson, where I was this past Monday, people continue to depend on that assistance. So, the reality is that, again, humanitarian assistance and recovery have to co-exist. And I really want to thank the donors because your support allowed us collectively to provide 11 million people with assistance in 2023. But what is that vital step beyond humanitarian assistance, where possible? For the UN, and in the report this year, you will really see the focus is community recovery. In Izium, in Mykolaiv, in Sumy, and outside of Kyiv in Ivankiv, the people and the authorities are now well positioned, the conditions are in place to move beyond humanitarian assistance, and take back their lives. Based on the leadership of local authorities, based on community-determined priorities, civil society engagement, the inclusion of women – not just inclusion of women but inclusion as decision-makers –, the disabled – again whose numbers have grown – and minority communities such as the Roma – I was in Uzhhorod last week and spent some time with them – so when the conditions are there, including security, recovery is taking place. Social services have been re-established; schools built with bunkers – we heard that 90 per cent of children are registered, not necessarily attending but registered for schools –; hospitals and clinics reconstructed; roads and bridges repaired; agricultural land and critical social infrastructure demined; and small businesses reopened, and many of those small ones are women-owned. This will have to happen community by community. And the numbers in the report, as you will hear and see when we have the presentation, those are very big numbers, a little bit overwhelming. But the restoring back is really going to take place in the communities. I was thinking about Mykolaiv. When I first was there in September 2022, there was no electricity, the water tasted like salt, and most of the people had left. I was there this past weekend, and it is a city that can be lived in now and people have returned. The RDNA 3 is the documentation of the damage and needs that drives national prioritization and the financial mechanisms. But this year, in that report, we are also focusing on recovery and the human capital. Behind the numbers is the critical need to ensure that Ukraine has the people with the right skills and capacity to take back their lives, and recover – across the country, not just in part of the country – what was lost. I just want to finish by saying that the war is fought by the people of Ukraine. The impact of the war is felt every single day by the people of Ukraine. And the recovery of the country will depend on the people of Ukraine, with our support. And while we are not pleased that we have to have another RDNA, as Gevorg said, at least we have a document that will drive the priorities, determine the financial requirements, and allow us, all the partners, to align behind the common objectives. Thank you very much.
For more information, refer to the Press Release.
For more information, refer to the Press Release.
1 of 5
15 January 2024
THE WAR IS NOT OVER. THE SUFFERING IS NOT OVER
I would like to take you to a place you have probably never heard of, a place which is called Hroza in the Kharkiv Region in eastern Ukraine. Hroza is a small community of 320 people, or was 320 people when on the 5 October, as people were sitting in their homes, a missile landed in the middle of that small town, killing outright 59 people and wiping out 20 per cent of the population in seconds. Absolutely devastating and happens almost every single day in Ukraine. So, when that happens, what do we do? What do we do together? The first thing we do – what we try and do for many of these incidents – is go to those locations. The very next day we were there. I was there, UNHCR, WHO, OCHA – we were all there. Why? Because, as the Deputy Prime Minister said, first of all, it is that demonstration of support that despite all of the other tragedies in the world right now, which look completely overwhelming, Ukraine is still important, a small community of 320 minus 59 people in seconds is still important. We go, first of all, to demonstrate that importance. Secondly, I would like to thank OHCHR who did an excellent report on that tragic incident. It was not a military installation. It was 59 people sitting in a cafe mourning the loss of a loved one. So that's the second reason why we go – we are part of a chain. What do we do in terms of assistance? We do just that, and it works. As the Deputy Prime Minister said, we've got a machine in place. The local authorities, local volunteers who do an outstanding job, national actors, international NGOs, UN agencies, the Government – we have got that piece set now. We respond to every one of these incidents. On day one, we are there. What are we doing? Bringing psychosocial support and immediate supplies to start those repairs, so people whose doors and windows have been completely destroyed by this massive explosion, where the destruction left behind and the damage by the wave that destroy everything around it was bigger than this room. So, psychosocial support, our presence, our witnessing what happens and supplies – that's days after. Weeks after, it's rebuilding the homes. In many locations, it is removing the rubble. In many locations, it is supporting small businesses because that little town depended on that little café. It was the only source of income that they had. So, all of this we can do, and it is now predictable thanks to your funding, thanks to our coordination, thanks to our network, thanks to our relationship with the authorities. But it's the years after – and as Martin said, we are moving to the third year. There's nothing left for us to repair and there's nothing left for me to get my hands on. What's left behind is much harder to deal with. How do you get over the fact that there was, and still is, the playground of that community right beside where that café was hit. Or the women – because I was there on Christmas Day – who tell me “I don't go to the center of town anymore. I can't”. Don't forget that missiles hit and there's immediate damage. We're responding, thank you so much for your support. But in the years to come that damage that we don't see has to be dealt with. And that's the phase we're moving into. My message is – the war is not over. The suffering is not over. We continue to require your support so that we can continue to do the job that we have been doing. And if the funding is not coming at the level that's required, you know from other locations, we will have to start dismantling the humanitarian system. And rebuilding that in Ukraine, certainly, it's not me who is going to be able to do that. So, all of these things we need to keep in mind as we move forward, but the fundamental message is – the war is not over.
1 of 5
16 January 2024
In Ukraine, Civilian Casualties Soar Amid Russian Attacks, Reversing a Downward Trend the UN Says
In a report released today, HRMMU notes a 26 per cent increase in verified civilian casualties in December compared with November, in an alarming reversal of a downward trend in casualties observed earlier in 2023. The actual increase is likely higher as some casualty reports are yet to be verified. The high number of civilian casualties observed in December continued into the first days of January. HRMMU said it was verifying reports of 86 killed and 416 injured. "Civilian casualties had been steadily decreasing in 2023 but the wave of attacks in late December and early January violently interrupted that trend,” said Danielle Bell who heads the UN’s monitoring mission. “These attacks sow death and destruction on Ukraine’s civilians who have endured profound losses from Russia’s full-scale invasion for almost two years now,” she added. The recent wave of attacks started on 29 December with missiles and drones hitting populated areas across Ukraine. While the most extensive attacks and the highest numbers of civilian casualties happened on that day and on 2 January, missile and drone attacks killed civilians across the country also on other days. On 6 January, for example, a Russian missile attack on the small town of Pokrovsk and nearby Rivne village, located a relatively short distance from the frontline, left two families – six adults and five children – buried in the rubble when their homes were struck. Despite a days-long rescue and recovery effort, some of the bodies are still missing. In a separate attack just two days later in Novomoskovsk, the blast wave from a Russian missile strike injured 31 civilians, including eight passengers of a minibus which was destroyed during the morning commute. The recent attacks came as temperatures across Ukraine dropped sharply with the arrival of extremely cold weather, making the already difficult situation even harder for vulnerable civilians. In Dnipro, an 81-year-old woman whose apartment was shattered by a Russian drone attack on 6 January told HRMMU she did not know how she would now survive the winter.
1 of 5
02 February 2024
As winter and war grip Ukraine, families on the frontlines find sustenance
On a cold and gloomy day in Veselianka village, in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, a few dozen people gather at a food distribution point where the World Food Programme (WFP) provides monthly food assistance. Hands tucked in their pockets to keep warm, the villagers’ chatter and jokes fill the windless air and cover the muted thud of shells falling in the distance. Not so long ago, Veselianka was home to nearly 1,000 people, many of whom harvested sunflower, wheat or oilseed rape from the region’s rich, dark soil. But when fighting reached its outskirts in March 2022, and the sounds of war grew louder and louder, almost half of its residents fled. ‘Our land was ready to be cultivated, but we could no longer stay – the house was completely unprotected from the wind and the cold’ In Ukraine, many continue to live near areas of intense fighting. (Still, “there is no place like home,” says Alla, who lives in Veselianka with her husband.) Attached to their land and their homes, or afraid of prolonged displacement, they remain despite the incredible dangers. Others are forced to return to their farms and livelihoods after running out of options to make ends meet while on the move. With support from the EU and other donors, WFP has been ramping up its assistance to these families and others across Ukraine, to reach 2.4 million people each month this winter with food or cash grants. Yet WFP’s Ukraine operations are only 54 percent funded, and require an additional US$180 million for the next six months. Food distributions, either of 30-day food boxes of a mix of staples, or of fresh bread and canned goods, focus on areas near the frontlines, like Veselianka. More than half-a-million people received such rations in January alone. The assistance is badly needed. The war continues to disrupt production and supply chains in Ukraine, making access to food unreliable in many eastern and southern areas. Around one in five Ukrainians is food insecure, with those near the frontlines facing particularly dire conditions. ‘There was a time we were without electricity for three to four days, shelling could be heard constantly. I only thought of my children and grandchildren’ “Life hasn’t gotten better or easier for Ukrainians this year – the war continues unabated, with strikes on civilian areas intensifying in recent weeks, continued damage to infrastructure, and more and more civilian casualties,” says Marianne Ward, WFP’s Country Director ad interim for Ukraine. “People living near the frontlines have faced the worst of it”, she adds, “and they count on the continued support of humanitarian organizations to make ends meet.” Home on the frontlines Early into the war, Alla and her husband considered joining the exodus from Veselianka as well, after initially wanting to stay. Their decision was hastened when a missile landed in their yard, destroying the windows and roof of their family home, and forcing them out. “We were in despair,” recalls Alla with tears in her eyes. “Our land was ready to be cultivated, but we could no longer stay - the house was completely unprotected from the wind and the cold.” The couple’s daughter hosted them for a while. But weeks later, they were back. “We could not stand being away for too long,” Alla says. With the conflict approaching its third year, the explosions have become background noise for Alla and her neighbours. They have adapted to life on the frontlines, stocking makeshift shelters with water, snacks, and warm clothing. Last winter was particularly harsh, with freezing temperatures, power outages, and soaring heating costs. Most of the nearby shops had empty shelves. The people of Veselianka did their best to prepare and withstand. “There was a time when we were without electricity for three to four days,” Alla recalls. “Shelling could be heard constantly. I only thought of my children and grandchildren. I called my daughter all the time, to make sure they were safe.” Another hard winter On this third winter of war and with prices continuing to rise, families like Alla’s are again struggling to afford food, heat and home repairs. Humanitarian assistance from WFP and others helps to fill the gaps. “The prices are rising all the time,” Alla says. “Our only income is our two pensions. How can we afford it all?” For her and many others on the frontlines, WFP’s food box – consisting of staple foods such as canned beans or meat, pasta, wheat flour, sunflower oil, buckwheat, sugar and salt – is a lifesaver, especially for elderly people living alone. “The canned meat and cereals – these are the basis for us,” Alla says. “At least we don’t have to worry about food.” In the mornings she bakes traditional pancakes, known as mlyntsi using WFP-supplied flour. “In the evening we sip on tea and we plan the future,” Alla says with a smile. “One must have plans – no matter what.” *** Thanks to the European Union and other partners, WFP continues to provide life-saving food and cash assistance to the most vulnerable Ukrainians, as well as support to the humanitarian response with common logistics and telecommunication services.
1 of 5
06 February 2024
In a rare video contest, Ukrainians of all ages tackle human rights in the middle of war
"I saw a contest, and I thought that we have this situation in Ukraine, and why not show Ukrainians in this situation? Every person has a right to life," says the 11-year-old from Chernivtsi in Western Ukraine. Andriy, who dreams of becoming a video game developer in the future, was among the five winners of a video contest organized earlier this year by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). “The video contest aimed to encourage film makers to show how the UDHR can advance its promise of freedom, equality and justice for all,” says Danielle Bell who heads the UN’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. Bell‘s previous experience in war-ravaged Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated how short films could be a powerful tool for digital storytelling. “The videos were powerful, conveying the intense emotions of people affected by the trauma and devastation of war, which profoundly impacts human rights,” she explains. The UN contest drew 51 participants of all ages from all over Ukraine. Participants included a colorful mix of primary schoolers, university students, lecturers and activists. The three main contest winners were chosen by a public vote on the UN Monitoring Mission’s Instagram page. Two more prizes were awarded by a panel of UN staff. The winners came from Mykolaiv, Rivne, Chernivtsi and Khmelnytskiy regions of Ukraine. Ruslana, a teacher at a media school for children in Rivne, says her students themselves decided on how best to approach the context. “It was really the kid’s idea,” she says, “they brainstormed on how to show human rights, they themselves came up with a script that focused on visiting places that they could no longer visit because of the war, and they also acted in it,” she says. The idea for the theme of the prize-winning video came from 13-year-old Vlad whose family had to flee the southern city of Kherson at the beginning of the war. Oleksandr, a police school cadet and a student in Kamianets Podilskiy in south-western Ukraine, says he and his classmates, who produced another prize-winning video, decided to focus on human rights violations and war crimes committed since Russia invaded Ukraine 22 months ago. He argues that the filming as such was not very challenging, but the editing process was. “Still, these are positive emotions that everyone warmly remembers,” he says, despite the video’s grim topic. Roman, a university lecturer and practicing journalist from Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, notes that the topic chosen by his students—overwork—is currently relevant for many Ukrainians. With over three years of experience working for a local TV channel, Roman has extensive experience in creating videos. He reflects, “I've had many projects, but none like this one. The collaborative process of group scriptwriting, direction, and filming ignited a desire in me and provided motivation for my students.” He adds that they are planning to create videos on human rights issues. “Students need it for professional growth, and the country needs it to increase awareness of its citizens' rights,” Roman added. “The topics highlighted in the videos address a wide range of human rights issues, such as the right to life, personal dignity, access to education, and more. Amid the suffering caused by this war, we hope that these narratives contribute to creating a more compassionate and informed global community,” says Bell noted. The short video produced by Ruslan, a law student at the Chernivtsi National University, one of Ukraine’s oldest schools, tackles loss during the war. “Reflecting on the past and present, peacetime and wartime is a painful topic for most Ukrainians, including children whose parents are now fighting in the East and losing their lives,” he says. “The moment your father has not returned is really painful,” says Ruslan. “It hasn’t happened to me, but I hear such stories all the time.” He explains that making a video for the contest was an inspiring and eye-opening experience. He says he now wants to set up an NGO to protect the human rights of servicepersons. Ruslana, the teacher from Rivne, says Ukraine’s soldiers serving on the frontline are also on her young students’ minds. She recalls that recently her students produced a video with a digital wish list for Santa Claus. They asked Santa to bring the fighters back safely, but in the meantime to make sure they had hot tea. ***
1 of 5
13 December 2023
1 / 11