The governments of Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland have announced they will pledge some $14 million over the next three years to a UN project to promote social cohesion and strengthen regional governance in eastern Ukraine.
More than 10,300 people have died since fighting erupted in April 2014 in eastern Ukraine between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces. Thousands have been wounded and more than 1.5 million people have been internally displaced.
In a press release on February 8 to announce the new initiative, the three states said the “breakdown in trust” in the conflict-hit region “can only be overcome by job creation, poverty alleviation, anti-corruption measures, law enforcement and judicial reform, and the promotion of human rights.”
"The trust of citizens in conflict-affected areas in governmental institutions will improve and they will feel safer if administrative, law enforcement, and security capacity are strengthened, and it becomes easier for them to access justice and environmental protection. This project will help to support these changes,” said Victor Munteanu, the manager of the UN’s Recovery and Peacebuilding Program (RPP).
According to the press release, Denmark has pledged to contribute more than $9 million; Sweden $3 million; Switzerland $2 million.
RPP has addressed priority needs in eastern Ukraine since the armed conflict erupted in the spring of 2014 after Russia seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
According to the UN, the RPP is aimed at strengthening community security and social cohesion, supporting the economic recovery of conflict-affected communities. It also works to further decentralize and reform the health-care system in government-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The RPP is being implemented by four United Nations agencies and is supported by the European Union, the European Investment Bank and the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Japan. Its total budget for 2019-2022 is over $50 million.