"I thank Canada and Ukraine for inviting the United Nations to participate in this important conference. I speak for the United Nations, and in particular, the UN agencies working in Ukraine in support of humanitarian and recovery efforts in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine, as well in support of sustainable development throughout the country.

The United Nations is fully behind the reforms discussed at this conference. With support from our donors, many present here, UN agencies have over the past years been a strong partner and contributor, in their areas of expertise and comparative advantage, to progress in important reform areas, including decentralization, combatting corruption, health, education, environment and energy efficiency, among others. Gender equality and human rights are stand-alone priorities for us as well as ensuring they are embedded in all reforms, as are the principles of inclusion, participation, transparency and accountability.

The UN welcomes President Zelenskiy’s expressed commitment to reach out to all Ukrainians where-ever they may reside – be it Donetsk, Luhansk, Sevastopol, Lviv, or the Ukrainian diaspora worldwide. We stand ready to support the Ukrainian leadership in fulfilling this commitment to reach out to all citizens of Ukraine, leaving no one behind.

As mentioned by others at this conference, for reforms to succeed they need to be people centered. After all – they are about fulfilling the aspirations of every Ukrainian for peace, justice, prosperity, decent jobs, clean environment, fundamental human rights, equality, strong institutions that deliver quality services, social protection, uphold rule of law and justice for all.

Ukraine, alongside all other countries (many sitting here) signed up to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The reforms we are discussing are part and parcel of Ukraine’s SDG agenda. Useful work has been undertaken led by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to develop a national baseline for the SDGs and ensure a whole-of-government approach to monitoring progress of their implementation. Through UN presence in all 24 Oblasts we are helping to localize development planning so that local authorities, but also women’s groups (some present here – please listen to them at the Ukraine House!), other civil society, business, youth, academia, feel connected to Kyiv; so that all citizens can contribute to shaping policies and monitoring their implementation, including by examining whether they are backed by appropriate budgets. The UN proposes that elevating the SDG agenda to the Presidential level. as many other countries have done, would also give impetus to the reform agenda. On 24-25 September, world leaders will convene at the UN for the SDG Summit to present plans and ideas on how to accelerate progress to achieve the SDGs. With only 10 years left until 2030 there is a great opportunity to build ownership at all levels for the reforms being discussed at this conference to Ukraine’s SDG agenda, as a strategy to make sustainable development, peace, prosperity and stability in Ukraine a reality".