Sida's work in Ukraine
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Sida closely monitors developments in Ukraine while taking ongoing measures in close contact with our partners. Sida's reform cooperation in Ukraine focuses on strengthening the respect for human rights, improving the conditions for peace, reducing the country's environmental impact and promoting democracy, gender equality and inclusive economic development.
Sida's support in Ukraine 2021
Important thematic areas in Ukraine
Progress has been made
Legislation on gender equality
Gender equality is lacking in Ukraine and the covid-19 pandemic and invasion further aggravate the situation. Women’s political participation is neglected. Gender-based violence is widespread. At the same time, the legislation regarding gender equality has been improved and the government has adopted a strategy for how to work long-term for increased gender equality.
Slow improvement in environment, climate and energy
Ukraine has increased its ambitions for the environment and climate. The energy sector is inefficient but is slowly being modernized. The restructuring of the energy sector is important to reduce dependence on Russian energy.
In recent years, Ukraine has redrawn its map with a completely new municipal and district division. The country has decentralised and delegated the most important societal functions to the municipalities, which has strengthened local democracy.
What consequences the Russian invasion will have for Ukraine and its population is uncertain. Attacks that hit infrastructure and civilian resources lead to millions of people losing access to water, health, education and heating. The humanitarian needs are extensive and will increase.
Increased poverty in the wake of the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased poverty. The consequences are both social and economic and hit hard on already vulnerable groups: internally displaced persons, elderly people, LGBTQI people, people with functional variations, ethnic minorities, people in rural areas, young people and children. Women are affected to a greater extent.
Corruption is endemic in Ukrainian society, including in the education sector, judiciary and law enforcement. Ukraine is ranked 122th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index for 2021.
Reform cooperation in Ukraine
Human rights, democracy, the rule of law and gender equality
There is a lack of respect for human rights in Ukraine. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for women to take part in decision-making. It has also contributed to increased gender-related violence and gender-disaggregated disinformation. Civil society organisations and think tanks play an active role in society and in influencing and monitoring government policy.
Strengthens independent media
“Support to Regionalization of Public Service Media” is a collaboration between Swedish Radio (SR) and Ukraine’s national public service (Suspilne). The purpose is to strengthen Susline’s opportunities to become an efficient and independent public service company to build democracy and increase freedom of expression. The work includes support for digitization and for the regional public service stations in the country.
Civil society is a driving force for human rights
Sida’s support for the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) and a number of other human rights advocates in Ukraine strengthens monitoring of the country’s commitment to human rights. Sida supports several projects in the field of gender equality, including via UN Women, which is working to ensure that women can exercise greater influence over policymaking.
Increasing the rule of law
By supporting the EU and initiatives such as CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! Sida contributes to increasing the rule of law and implementing necessary reforms to the Ukrainian justice system.
Decentralisation equals better service
Within the EU program U-LEAD, Sida has contributed to making state and local administrative services more accessible to citizens. Through citizens’ offices, the population receives help with various matters: social services, pensions, population registration and issuing passports.
The support for U-LEAD ended in December 2021 but continues in the PROSTO project together with Sweden’s Municipalities and Regions (SKR). At country level, Sida, together with U-LEAD and SKR, also contributes to strengthening legislation and developing policies for decentralisation in the education sector and in the tax area.
Involve fathers in gender equality
In the field of gender equality, Sida has recently entered into a collaboration with the UN Population Fund, UNFPA. The project “Equality Springboard: change of social norms and gender stereotypes elimination 2020–2023” addresses men. The goal is for women, men, girls and boys to be able to realize their full potential and rights, free from stereotypes and violence, at school, at work, at home and in society.
The work takes place in collaboration with partner municipalities that engage men in gender equality. In 2021, the demand for so-called father schools has increased in Ukraine. This part will be further developed. The project also wants to increase public awareness of gender stereotypes.
Peaceful and inclusive societies
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the invasion of the country pose difficult challenges for the citizens of Ukraine. Particularly vulnerable are those already living in poverty. Basic community services and the necessary protection are affected when local authorities are affected by the aggression.
Sida’s work for peaceful and inclusive societies focuses on the root causes of conflict. The work will contribute to conflict resolution and increase resilience. The inclusion and participation of women, young people and discriminated groups is particularly important, as is the contribution to reducing violence.
Support for conflict-affected communities
Sweden, together with several other countries, supports the Partnership Fund for Resilient Ukraine, which contributes financially to better community service, increased dialogue and inclusive development for the population in eastern Ukraine.
Sida also supports the UNDP’s Peace and Recovery Program in the eastern parts of the country. The aim is to strengthen security and social cohesion, support the economic recovery of conflict-affected communities and promote the implementation of decentralisation and health care reforms.
Monitors and reports from conflict areas
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) monitors and reports on human rights violations in Ukraine. Special focus is on conflict areas.
The environment and climate
The Ukrainian government has increased its ambitions in the climate field, although work has been neglected. The COP26 climate summit in November 2021 increased the pressure to phase out fossil fuels and switch to renewable sources.
Civil society plays an important role in the country’s environmental policy. Environmental organisations also make the public more aware of the environmental issue.
Sida’s work in the climate and environmental field will contribute to green transformation. We support renewable energy, reduced emissions, conservation of biodiversity and economic change. We also support projects that make community service more sustainable whwn it comes to water, sanitation, energy efficiency, waste and chemical management. Climate adaptation and contributing to a more sustainable urban and rural development are other parts.
A large share of energy use and emissions in Ukraine comes from heating up homes. Sida’s support to, among others, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), we contributes to energy efficiency in homes. The program reaches 43,000 homeowners and has resulted in reduced carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 28,000 tonnes per year.
Strengthens environmental organisations
Through the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), Sida supports environmental organisations in eastern Ukraine, among other places.
Sida also provides support to the World Widelife Fund (WWF), which is one of the few working for biodiversity in Ukraine. The work focuses on promoting nature-based solutions for climate adaptation in the political agenda. The projects include collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Adapting environmental legislation to EU requirements
Ukrainian environmental legislation is in need of reform. By supporting the UNDP, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), Sida contributes to adapting Ukrainian environmental regulations to the EU’s more stringent regulations.
Inclusive economic development
The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected Ukraine’s economy. GDP has declined and the manufacturing, retail and transport sectors are particularly affected. Ukraine has a large informal economy with low wages and poorer conditions for its employees. Unemployment is high.
After the revolution in 2014, the state has prioritized economic stability and reduced inflation, but the need for reforms is great. The banking sector continues to stabilize and it becomes easier to start and run business. The interest from foreign investors has been limited and the privatization of state-owned companies is slow.
Sida works to ensure that more people in Ukraine have a job with decent conditions. We prioritize particularly vulnerable groups. Another area is to strengthen the conditions for free, fair, sustainable and inclusive trade regionally and globally.
An improved climate for small businesses
Through the United Nations International Trade Centre, to enable small and medium-sized enterprises in the fruit and vegetable sector to increase their production and comply with market requirements. The purpose is to make it easier for companies to trade in new markets both within and outside the country.
Reforming the banking sector
The country’s banking system functions poorly for many reasons, including inadequate legislation. Through the World Bank, Sida contributes to strengthening the financial sector so that it can function as a driving force for economic growth. The support is also focused on including marginalized groups in the economy.
Increased employment and better working conditions
Sida has recently entered into a partnership with the International Labor Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve decent working conditions and increase employment.
Governance of Sida's reform cooperation in Ukraine
The Strategy for Sweden’s reform cooperation with Eastern Europe (2021 – 2027) is currently only available in Swedish.
Updated: March 3, 2022