The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) training colleagues in Ukraine in radon measurement.
Photo: Olga German/SSM
Our work in Ukraine
Since 1995, the Swedish International Development Cooperation, Sida, is engaged in a development cooperation with Ukraine and is now concentrating aid on market development, democracy, human rights and the environment. Because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Sida also gives humanitarian aid to the country.
In 2014, Ukraine signed an Association Agreement with the EU and it is hoped that this will lead to both democratic and economic development. In order to be able to move closer to the EU, Ukraine must build up a more transparent and efficient public administration, at the same time as giving civil society a greater influence on social development. But the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and the difficult political and economic situations have hampered the reform process and delayed some projects.
Increased economic integration with the EU and market economic development is a new area for Sida's development work with Ukraine. Through the support of the OECD, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sida contributes to strengthening the Ukrainian ministries' capacity and in doing so encouraging the necessary reforms. The focus is mainly on promoting increased transparency, a favourable investment and business climate and improved prospects for small and medium-sized enterprises to conduct business.
Democracy and human rights
Over the last few years, political developments in Ukraine with the armed conflict in the East and Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea has resulted in a sharp deterioration in human rights. There are over one million internally displaced persons in the country, many of whom lack basic security. National minorities - primarily Crimean Tatars and the Roma population - as well as LGBT people have also become more vulnerable.
Sida supports human rights organisations including Charkiv Human Rights Group and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union who work with documentation, policy work and dialog with the government, and the Gay Alliance Ukraine who work to raise awareness of LGBT people's rights.
The Ukrainian society is highly male-dominated and few women have prominent positions within politics and business. Violence towards women in the home is widespread. Among other things, Sida supports the National Democratic Institute's work to increase the number of female political leaders. They also work to reform Ukrainian legislation and practices, with the goal that Ukraine approves and implements the Council of Europe's Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
A decentralised public sector
Many of the reforms that Ukraine is planning within the public sector will be implemented by the municipalities. However, today skills and resources are often lacking at a local level. This is why support for decentralisation is a key area. Sida supports the cooperation between the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) and the Ukrainian Ministry for regional development to promote decentralisation. Through expert advice, training, study visits and seminars Ukraine gets access to experience from Sweden as well as other EU countries.
To contribute to greater transparency and less corruption, Sida supports the efforts to develop a Ukrainian e-governance. The aim is to give citizens and entrepreneurs more transparent and more efficient public services among other things, with the help of web services. The project is run by the Estonian organisation e-Governance Academy, together with the Ukrainian authorities.
Ukraine faces huge challenges in the energy sector. The energy system is inefficient and there is no history of saving energy. Ukraine therefore uses three times as much energy per unit of GDP than the EU average. Through the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) and Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), Sida finances investments in energy saving at a local level. Sida also supports environmental organisations that work to improve energy efficiency.
Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent Russian aggressions in eastern Ukraine threw the country into an armed conflict. The situation has developed into a massive humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands of people displaced within the country. Because of this Sida is giving humanitarian assistance channelled through organisations including UNHCR, UNICEF, OCHA, ICRC and Save the Children, which aim to provide people with shelter, access to water and sanitation and psychosocial support, among other things.