NewsHelping Ukrainian families return to their communities and homes: Denmark supports UN’s new Fund as First Mover

Ukraine press release picture Nov 2023

Even as humanitarian needs in Ukraine remain significant, the UN calls to look to the future

Today at the UN Headquarters in New York the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Ms. Denise Brown, briefed donors on efforts of the UN in Ukraine. The focus continues to be on meeting the humanitarian needs of a population entering the first weeks of a cold winter with almost daily attacks on energy infrastructure disrupting electricity, heating and water supply. At the same time, she highlighted the strong drive of people to return to their communities wherever possible, which requires an increased commitment from all partners to investments in housing reconstruction, energy, social infrastructure, humanitarian demining, and support to livelihoods and local economic development. These interventions have to be combined with targeted capacity strengthening of local authorities for essential service provision and community mobilization to create the conditions for people impacted by the war to recover and rebuild their lives.

This approach is implemented in full partnership with the Ministry for Restoration in Ukraine. At the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London this June, the UN Resident Coordinator and the Deputy Prime Minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, launched the concept of a joint Ukraine Community Recovery Fund chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator and the Vice Prime Minister, administered by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, and implemented jointly by relevant UN agencies on the ground with national partners. Today, at the briefing for donors held by the UNRC in New York, Denmark announced their contribution to the Fund as the first mover, catalyzing other donors.

“Denmark strongly believes in the importance of a community-focused approach to recovery,” said Dan Jørgensen, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy. “Since 2022, we have worked closely with the city of Mykolaiv and the Mykolaiv Oblast in the south of Ukraine, providing layers of assistance ranging from generators and drinking water systems early on to the comprehensive restoration of social infrastructure and entire residential neighborhoods now. Throughout this process, UN agencies have been our partners, and we are delighted to take on the important role of first mover and an advocate to other donors to support the Fund and the community recovery approach in Ukraine.”

"The restoration of every individual community will be the restoration of the whole of Ukraine," commented Oleksandr Kubrakov, Vice Prime Minister for Recovery of Ukraine. "Decentralization strengthened Ukrainian communities and gave them the capacity to manage their activities. Communities know what they need first. The pace of recovery depends on their leadership. It is symbolic that Denmark became the first donor of the new Fund. Denmark is demonstrating a great example of partnership with Mykolaiv and the Mykolaiv region in strengthening resilience. I am sure that this cooperation with the UN will be a successful practical tool for the further development of the Fund."

Community Recovery Approach in Action

At the donor briefing, the UN Resident Coordinator shared the illustrative example of the small city of Ivankiv in the Kyiv region. With a population of 30,000, Ivankiv was occupied by the Russian Federation and had over 2,370 buildings damaged or destroyed. Based on the UN’s consultations with the head of the district and community-based organizations, priorities were identified for the recovery and to support residents to return.

First, demining of residential areas and utilities by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine along with debris removal was supported so that reconstruction of housing could proceed. Prefabricated homes produced by a local business were installed for 18 families whose homes were completely destroyed, and 350 residences were repaired with new roofs, windows and doors.

Second, reconstruction is underway of the damaged Ivankiv municipal water supply grid which will restore the water network for one third of the city’s residents. Schools are being repaired to attract young families back.

Third, an administrative services center was established to ensure authorities could provide the returning population with services such as relevant subsidies, business and property registrations, birth certificates, and pension assistance.

Fourth, small businesses were provided with grants and equipment to replace the assets that had been destroyed so that they could restart operations.

“The humanitarian needs in Ukraine remain significant. The war rages on, and the situation of many people in Ukraine has not improved. Still, we must address community recovery needs where it is possible, to help Ukrainians reduce their dependence on humanitarian aid. People are very grateful for it, but, at the end of the day, they want to get back to their communities and be able to sustain themselves. We must move beyond only what’s happening today and also look to the future,” said Denise Brown, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

The new Ukraine Community Recovery Fund mirrors the success of the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund overseen by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. The UHF has received more than US$350 million in contributions from 31 donors since February 2022 and reaches millions of people with lifesaving humanitarian assistance. On the recovery side, the new Ukraine Community Recovery Fund will in parallel support communities ready for recovery to prevent and reduce humanitarian needs in future.

“Denmark’s contribution as First Mover is an important one – we expect it to catalyze further contributions to the new Community Recovery Fund and expand our reach so that we can support more Ukrainian families to go back to their communities and homes,” highlighted the UN Resident Coordinator.

The United Nations in Ukraine, the Kingdom of Denmark and the Ministry for Restoration continue their strong partnership and will use the Fund to support people in returning to their communities and homes.

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