14 December 2010, Simferopol: The UNDP Administrator, Head of the United Nations Development Programme and third-highest ranked official of the United Nations system, Ms Helen Clark visited the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on the 14 December as part of her first official visit to Ukraine.

 

Simferopol, 14 December 2010: The UNDP Administrator, Head of the United Nations Development Programme and third-highest ranked official of the United Nations system, Ms Helen Clark visited the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on the 14 December as part of her first official visit to Ukraine.

During her stay in Crimea, Ms Clark met with representatives of the regional authorities, familiarised herself with the experience and results of projects implemented with UNDP’s support, and officially launched the work of the UNDP Sub-Office in Crimea.

The visit of the UNDP Administrator to the peninsula highlights the recognition of the strategic importance of Crimea for stability and promotion of sustainable human development in Ukraine and the Black Sea Region in general. Present on the ground since 1995, UNDP is highly committed to further support development efforts in the Autonomous Republic.

“In the last 15 years we have seen the progress achieved by local communities, authorities and civil society in such areas as good governance, tolerance, local economic development, equal opportunities, and others. I am glad that UNDP has contributed to achieving these remarkable results through a number of projects implemented jointly with the people of Crimea,” said Helen Clark.

UNDP Administrator reminded that, together with the Crimean society, UNDP-led projects evolved over time. They started from the emergency response to drastic demographic and economic transformation in the early nineties and evolved through the social mobilization of local communities to an integrated approach aiming at structural and policy change.

“UNDP acknowledges the fact that, despite some difficulties, the Ukrainian State is now able to assume responsibilities in those areas where international assistance was required earlier to avoid social collapse. However, it is still necessary to secure the irreversibility of the positive change, to sustain the partnerships involving civil society, state authorities and private sector. It is also vital to help attract continuous private investment into the region to lay a sustainable basis for its socio-economic and human development,” she added.

In order to further build local analytical, expert and legal capacity, the UNDP-supported projects focus on such areas as human security and development monitoring and analysis, regional development and investment promotion, and elaboration and institutionalisation of local development models. In addition, work continues with municipal and rural communities, youth and women’s organisations.

As part of her visit, Ms Clark met the community of Lesnovka village (Saksky district, ARC) where a number of UNDP-supported projects took place since 2004. In particular, these projects encompassed the improvement of water supply and management and the creation of a school-based enabling environment for tolerance promotion. The most recent project – that of the agricultural services cooperative setup – was aimed at expanding economic opportunities of small farmers in order to contribute to the overall local economic development.

“Individually small farmers have difficulty to make both ends meet. Uniting into a cooperative helped us make cattle breeding and grain cultivation profitable. And I think that for most small producers who face production and marketing difficulties, service cooperative are the only way to survive today,” said Erkin Beituraev, head of the Niyet cooperative.

In order to permit the progress at grassroots level it is still necessary to create an enabling environment by bringing in best local and international practices and institutionalising them as part of regional, or national, structures and policies. The meetings held by Helen Clark with senior Crimean officials showed that the regional authorities understand the importance of strategic, highly professional and concerted action, and are ready to cooperate at all levels, in particular to bring investment and innovation to Crimea.

“We appreciate both the expertise and financial input made by UNDP and its international partners throughout all these years. And we are particularly grateful for the support to the setup of the Agency for Regional Development from the United Nations Development Programme, in partnership with the European Union,” said Pavel Burlakov, the ARC First Deputy Prime Minister, during his meeting with the UNDP Administrator.

The representatives of the government also came to confirm their commitment at the ceremony of the official launch of the UNDP Sub-Office in Crimea. Created in 2010, it is fully equipped to support and facilitate the implementation of UNDP-led projects in Crimea. Moreover, it sends a strong signal to local, national and international development stakeholders that UNDP is highly committed to continue its work on accompanying the multi-ethnic Crimea society on its road to competitive, sustainable and human-oriented society and economy.

“Globally, the number of Sub-Offices is small. And I am particularly happy to open one in Crimea today,” Helen Clark said, unveiling the plaque. “The role of this Sub-Office is really to ensure effective joint planning and work with regional partners as well as to coordinate actions for better and long term results”.

 

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For further detail please contact Vyacheslav Toporov, UNDP Sub-Office Communications Services Manager, at +38 06622 77220 or toporov@undp.crimea.ua