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Joint Declaration of Intent on Support for Social Recovery and Inclusion in Ukraine

Russia’s full-scale invasion has had an immense and devastating human impact in Ukraine. Ongoing Russian aggression has reversed 15 years of development gains – exacerbating poverty, deepening inequalities, and compounding social vulnerabilities. Ukraine has experienced a ‘demographic shock’ with over 4.9 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and another 6.5 million Ukrainians seeking safety abroad. Socio-economic consequences of the war are becoming more evident with growing poverty, a declining workforce, and widening inequities. An additional 7.1 million Ukrainians are living in poverty, with the poverty rate increasing from 5 percent in 2021 to more than 24 percent in 2022. Women, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, IDPs and marginalized groups have been disproportionately affected by the multi-sectoral impacts of war and face further reductions in resilience as the crisis protracts.

The full-scale invasion has had a devastating impact on human capital development, recognized as central to Ukraine’s economic and social recovery at URC 2023. The Government of Ukraine estimates that veterans and their family members could comprise more than 10% of the population, with a significant number of military and civilian casualties and rapidly increasing disability rates.  In addition to the immediate adverse effects of war, Ukraine risks losing out on its investments in a generation of children and young people with long-lasting impacts.

The Government and people of Ukraine have demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of the full-scale invasion.  With the support of international partners, the Government of Ukraine has continued to function effectively under extreme stress, maintaining the provision of social benefits and expanding the network of social service providers. Ukrainian society mobilised quickly and effectively, providing a wide array of support and services and demonstrating critical leadership from Ukrainian Civil Society Organisations, Women’s Rights Organisations and Organisations for Persons with Disabilities. However, Ukraine’s social systems are under extreme pressure with increasing demand for support and services, limited resources, and a narrowing humanitarian space.

The Government of Ukraine has recognised that investing in people and the social support and services they need will be critical for Ukraine’s long-term recovery, socio-economic future, and pathway to EU accession. The Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine is actively pursuing an ambitious social reform agenda and has committed to building a more holistic, inclusive and efficient social system that encompasses the support and services needed to overcome vulnerability and accelerate human capital accrual. This includes work to improve the targeting and impact of cash assistance benefits, expanding and introducing new social services to address the impacts of Russia’s full-scale invasion, improving protection of the rights of children and persons with disabilities, supporting implementation of the Barrier Free Strategy for Ukraine, and ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men.

The ’Social Recovery and Inclusion Partnership for Ukraine’

The Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the European Union, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Bank Group and Development Partners commit to work together as part of a multi-stakeholder partnership that supports Ukraine in an inclusive, rights-based recovery that puts people at its heart and leaves no one behind.

This ‘Declaration of Intent’ acknowledges the need to support investment, engagement, and collaboration with a ‘Social Recovery and Inclusion Partnership’ (hereafter ‘the Partnership’). Recognising the complex multi-sectoral challenges under the banner of ‘Social Recovery’, the Partnership will allow improved oversight, coordination and collaboration during this time of national crisis and beyond.

The Partnership will work closely with existing recovery architecture, including the Sectoral Working Groups, the Gender and Inclusive Recovery Dialogue Platform, the Barrier Free Council, and the new URC alliances. The partnership will through its activities for social recovery and inclusion, complement and support the government’s implementation of the Ukraine Plan and its human capital dimension.

Ukrainian civil society and representative groups, as well as Social Partners, will be essential partners in this initiative, ensuring ‘the Partnership’ supports their development and amplifies their rights, voice, choice and visibility across Ukraine’s recovery. As the Partnership develops, we will utilise existing coalitions to support the full, active, and meaningful participation, representation and leadership of Ukrainian Civil Society Organisations, Social Partners, Women’s Rights Organisations, Organisations for People with Disabilities, Child Rights Organisations, and other representative groups across decision-making processes for a more inclusive, participatory recovery.

Proposed activities under the ‘Social Recovery and Inclusion Partnership for Ukraine’:

The Partnership will support improved coordination, communication, and collaboration across stakeholders and sectors, as well as shared learning, advocacy, and mainstreaming of social recovery and inclusion across recovery policies, programmes and architecture in Ukraine. Activities will include but are not limited to:

  • Coordination between Government of Ukraine agencies, donors, multilaterals, IFIs, Civil Society, Social Partners, and other actors involved or related to social recovery and inclusion in Ukraine;
  • Support for development, implementation and monitoring of policies, programmes and services to ensure an inclusive, people-centered recovery in Ukraine that responds to demographic requirements;
  • Identification of mechanisms, means and potential opportunities for partnership on social recovery and inclusion in Ukraine;
  • Exchange and sharing of technical knowledge, skills, expertise and assistance to ensure best practice and evidence-based reform;
  • Participation in Partnership High-Level Steering Committee, Working Group(s) and Thematic Events.

The Partnership is underpinned by the following principles known as the ‘5 Rs’:

  1. Rights – Ensuring an intersectional, gender-and-child-responsive, age-and-disability inclusive recovery that respects, protects and fulfils the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Ukrainians across the life-cycle, including marginalised and under-represented groups.
  2. Resilience – Strengthening the social and economic resilience and capacities of state, communities and citizens, and development of human capital for inclusive growth and sustainable recovery.
  3. Reform – Laying foundations for efficient, accessible and inclusive social protection systems, including community and family-based support and services, that enable choice, autonomy, dignity and full participation in society for all.
  4. Research – Building a more comprehensive, inclusive and participatory evidence base to inform policies, programmes, and services that meet the needs and priorities of target groups.
  5. Resources – Fostering greater investment, engagement and coordination across stakeholders and sectors in support of Social Recovery and Inclusion in Ukraine.

Joint Declaration of Intent

The purpose of this Joint Declaration of Intent is to create a foundation for good faith cooperation in the field of social recovery and inclusion. While this Joint Declaration of Intent constitutes an expression of the partners’ good faith intent to engage in the collaboration described herein, it does not imply binding legal commitments for any partner.

This declaration has been signed by:

  • The Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • The European Union
  • The United Nations Children’s Fund
  • The World Bank Group

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