Statement in response to the Project Co-ordinator in Ukraina’s report

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 28 October 2021.

Madame chair,

I welcome Ambassador Villadsen back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his detailed briefing on the work of the Project Co-Ordinator in Ukraine.

We acknowledge the challenging circumstances that the Project Co-Ordinator is working under and take note of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected program activities across all dimensions. As the numbers of infected are on the rise also in Ukraine we ask you to continue with necessary precautions, as in the reporting period.

The PCU has an important task in assisting the Government’s reform effort, promoting a culture of dialogue and helping to mitigate the effects of the conflict. Norway appreciates the PCU’s good cooperation with Ukrainian authorities and their approval of 22 Unified Budget project proposals in the first half of this year. We encourage the Ukrainian authorities to make the best possible use of this assistance in order to make further progress on important reforms.

We are pleased to see that the PCU has managed to carry out most of its planned activities, achieving an implementation rate of 75%. This is quite impressive considering the challenges caused by COVID-19 and the late approval of UBP 2021. Nevertheless, a 20% decrease in the implementation rate since the last reporting might be considered a testimony to the need for early approval of the Unified Budget.

We appreciate the efforts by the PCU to assist the host country with its justice and legal reform agenda. In this regard, we would particularly like to emphasize the work done to support democratic control of the Armed Forces and to strengthen the understanding for equal rights and opportunities for women and men in the Ukrainian armed forces.

Norway strongly believes that integrating gender perspectives into the PCU’s projects and programs increases the value and effectiveness of the PCU’s activities. Thus, we support the emphasis on gender equality and on gender mainstreaming the PCU’s work.

We are also pleased to see a focus on youth, especially with regards to conflict prevention and on human rights education, as well as the practical approach to sensitizing children to the dangers of various types of explosive ordnance through risk education activities in schools.

The ongoing conflict in Donbas and Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea continue to severely affect the civilian population. The work done by the PCU to support those affected by the conflict, including former combatants and family members is crucial, as is also the work on humanitarian demining.

We appreciate the coordination and cooperation between the PCU and the SMM, whenever this is useful and within the respective mandates. The activities of the SMM and PCU, and their coordination, will be even more important following the closing of the BOM.

In conclusion, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Ambassador Villadsen and his professional team for their comprehensive assistance in supporting the Government of Ukraine’s efforts towards the effective implementation of reforms and to wish them all the success in their continuous work.

Thank you