Today the United Nations celebrates 71 years of operation. Ukraine was a founding member state of the UN and has a proud history of support and service to the system, in keeping peace, in providing food for countries in crisis and in contributing to the development of norms that guide international conduct. Since the Revolution of Dignity, the United Nations has delivered massive support to Ukraine. General Assembly resolution 68/262 supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine. A Human Rights monitoring mission was deployed that has produced 15 reports, diligently putting forward human rights concerns in language everyone can understand. Humanitarian action has provided, literally, millions of Ukrainians in need with food, medicine, water, shelter and even psychological support. The Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment (RPA), carried out by UN, the World Bank and the European Union and endorsed at the Cabinet of Ministers, identifies $1.5 billion in investments in the government controlled areas of eastern Ukraine: infrastructure, social services, livelihoods and social cohesion. Many ideas identified in the RPA are already being implemented. UN also supports local communities and efforts to reform the Ukrainian state in a variety of ways. We don’t advertise too much the work we do. We are confident that, yes, we provide valuable support, but the results belong to Ukrainians, and to their government, not to the UN.
Please allow me to highlight the partnerships that reflect how the United Nations works. Our efforts would not be possible without funding from generous countries around the world. The taxpayers in those countries want to see Ukrainian reform succeed, this is why their governments can provide funding. We also deeply appreciate government leadership and partnership without which we would only be able to provide short-term humanitarian support, without hope for sustainable change. Last but not least, the Ukrainian people are a critical component of the partnership for results. The inspirational solidarity of you, the Ukrainian people, with those in need, your driving energy on reform and your work to achieve a sustainable future - this is what motivates us.
Of course, there is still much to be done. Over the past couple of years, the UN led the global process to create the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), which frame the responsibility of member states to their citizens. Ukrainian citizens participated massively and enthusiastically in the Secretary General’s campaign to hear from everyday people. President Poroshenko committed, in his speech before the UN General Assembly, to use the SDG’s as guidance in the formulation of national plans and budgets to improve the lives of Ukrainian people. With UN support national and local authorities have carried out 10 consultations across the country. The committed participation by every-day people in these consultations demonstrates the value of the SDG’s. Ukrainians may rest assured we are motivated to continue to work with the Government and civil society to help people in need, to support the creation of jobs, livelihoods, to improve social services and to help you build effective, accountable governing institutions. We look forward to the transformation of these clearly articulated objectives into action and results over the next few years.
On this day that is the United Nations day, I congratulate you, the Ukrainian people. Your spirit reflects the principles of the UN Charter that I am proud to uphold. Your commitment to action and your solidarity with those in need enables my UN Team in Ukraine to generate wider international support, funding and assistance for Ukraine. It is not always an easy process, sometimes it is two steps forward, one step back. Nevertheless, we can see results. The international community is proud to partner with you in achieving results, but make no mistake, they are your results. We seek to support your efforts and I am confident the results of that partnership, including strong support from the United Nations, will take Ukraine forward over these next years.
Neal Walker is the Resident Coordinator for the United Nations in Ukraine.