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Sida's work in Ukraine

Although Ukraine has been an independent nation since 1991, the country’s development remains intertwined with its relationship to Russia. Sida’s reform cooperation with Ukraine is intended to strengthen respect for human rights, reduce the country’s environmental impact and promote democracy and sustainable economic development.

Sida's support to Ukraine 2020

Progress has been made

Legislation on gender equality

Although gender equality is lacking in Ukraine, important steps have been taken in the form of significant improvements to legislation, including the abolishment of restrictions on women practising certain professions.

A modernised energy sector

Ukraine’s inefficient energy sector is currently in a period of transition, with one of the goals being to reduce the country’s high greenhouse gas emissions. Although the pace of change is slow, there are high hopes for long-term improvements over the coming years.

Decentralisation

In only five years, the map of Ukraine has been redrawn with an entirely new division into municipalities and districts. The country is well on the way to decentralising and delegating the most important societal functions to the new municipalities.

Challenges remain

Inequality and weak growth 

Although recent years have seen poverty decline, economic growth remains weak and inequitably distributed and a large percentage of the population finds itself in a precarious financial position. The percentage of the population living in poverty is expected to increase in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Widespread corruption 

Corruption is endemic in Ukrainian society, including in the education sector, judiciary and law enforcement. Ukraine is ranked 120th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

Journalists under threat

The independent media remains weak. The media landscape is dominated by oligarch-owned channels and independent journalists, members of civil society organisations and human rights lawyers face regular threats and attacks.

Development cooperation in Ukraine

Economic development

Since the 2014 revolution, successive governments have prioritised economic stability and keeping inflation under control; however, significant reform is still required. The stabilisation of the banking sector continues and it is becoming easier to start and run a business, but interest from foreign investors remains limited and the privatisation of state-owned companies is slow-moving.

An improved climate for small businesses

Many Ukrainians are employed in the informal sector. Through the United Nations International Trade Centre, Sida supports initiatives to simplify rules in the business sector, reduce corruption and strengthen growth for small and medium-sized enterprises.

International Trade Centers web page

 

Reforming the banking sector

 The country’s banking system functions poorly for many reasons, including inadequate legislation. Through the World Bank, Sida contributes to reforming the bank sector, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship and improving legislation.

World bank web page

Training the next generation of IT specialists

 Ukraine lacks broad and specialised competence in the growing IT sector. By supporting the Swedish-Ukrainian collaboration Beetroot Academy, Sida contributes to training the next generation of IT specialists and improving conditions for Ukraine’s IT sector.

Beetroot Academys web page

Human rights and democracy

The war in eastern Ukraine has hampered efforts to strengthen respect for human rights and the situation of minorities such as Crimean Tatars and Roma has deteriorated. The country’s LGBTQI community still lives in highly vulnerable circumstances. Civil society organisations and think tanks play an active role in society and in shaping and monitoring government policy.

Civil society is a driving force for human rights

There is a lack of respect for human rights in Ukraine, especially in the east of the country in conjunction with Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Sida’s support for the Center for Civil Liberties 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 

 A survey conducted in 2019 revealed that only 12% of Ukrainians have confidence in the country’s judiciary. 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.

CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! web page

Decentralisation equals better service

There is a pressing need to improve citizens’ access to vital services such as company registration, pensions, financial assistance and the population register. The country’s decentralisation reform is very much a part of this process, with responsibility being handed over to 1,469 newly formed municipal authorities – work that Sida is contributing to through U-LEAD with Europe in collaboration with over 500 Ukrainian municipalities. At national level, Sida, U-LEAD and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) are also contributing to strengthening legislation and policy development for decentralisation.

The environment and climate

Ukraine is lagging behind in terms of environmental policy and capacity at the country’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources is low. That said, demands from international donors and an agreement with the EU have resulted in a number of improvements in the environmental field. Development is being held up by the considerable influence exerted by oligarchal corporations operating in areas such as the energy sector. Ongoing reforms of the inefficient energy sector will reduce Ukraine’s greenhouse gas emissions significantly.

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.

Reinforcing environmental organisations

 Civil society plays a vital role, demanding accountability from politicians, influencing policy and increasing public awareness of environmental issues. By supporting the Environmental Policy and Advocacy Initiative for Ukraine (EPAIU), Sida reinforces the work of organisations driving the discourse on environmental and climate issues in Ukraine.

About Environment CSO Development Initiative on International Renaissance Foundations web page

Making cities greener 

Environmental work in Ukrainian cities is lagging behind. Through the EBRD’s Green Cities project, Sida supports municipalities in integrating sustainability measures into urban planning.

About Green Cities at EBRD:s web page

Governance of Sida's development cooperation with Ukraine

Sida’s development cooperation with Ukraine is governed by a regional strategy for the period 2014-2020.

Results strategy for Sweden’s reform cooperation with Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey 2014-2020 on the Swedish government website

 

Updated: 28 April 2021