HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON UKRAINE: COORDINATING AND IMPLEMENTING THE INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
On 8 July 2014, the European Union (EU), Member States, Ukraine, other donor countries – United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Switzerland –, international organisations – CoE, OSCE, UNDP, OECD – and International Financial Institutions –EBRD, EIB, IMF (observer), WBG, AFD, KfW – and civil society; held a coordination meeting on the international support to Ukraine. The meeting was opened by the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, and Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman.
The international community is committed to support Ukraine's economic and political stabilisation and reform, notably in the framework of Ukraine's political association and economic integration with the European Union. The signing and implementation of the Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area on 27 June 2014 will importantly contribute to this process.
To achieve this goal, Ukraine will require significant donors' assistance. It is essential that this assistance be carefully coordinated to ensure cost-effective implementation of Ukraine's stabilisation and reform priorities. In this vein, the European Council on 27 May welcomed the establishment of the European Union led international donors coordinating platform and the intention to hold, before the summer, a high-level coordination meeting in Brussels. On 5 June in Brussels, the G7 also expressed its support for an international donor coordinating platform to ensure the effective delivery of economic assistance and it welcomed the EU's intention to hold a high-level coordination meeting in Brussels.
This high-level coordination meeting was an important opportunity to exchange views and discuss the key short and medium term priorities for Ukraine, the current plans of donors, including the EU, for assistance to Ukraine, and the most appropriate mechanisms for coordinating donors' assistance to support Ukraine's reform process. The participants also discussed the possibility of a future Donors' and Investors' Conference to further support these efforts.
The Ukrainian side expressed its intentions to present at the Conference, the Economic Recovery and Growth Agenda for 2014-2016 which will include an assessment of needs for post conflict reconstruction and key priorities of economic stabilisation and growth recovery.
The high level coordination meeting has provided an important opportunity for the international donors' community to further demonstrate its support for Ukraine in this crucial transition period following the events of last February and to reiterate its full support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Donors and international organisations recognised the importance of the recently signed Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA), which constitutes the new basis for EU-Ukraine relations aiming at fostering political association and economic integration with the EU as well as the Association Agenda, as the instrument to prepare for and facilitate the entry into force of the Association Agreement.
The Ukrainian government set out their plans for a central authority to oversee the implementation of the AA/DCFTA and to ensure effective donor coordination as well as coherence and sustainability of their reform agenda.
The Ukrainian side presented its current needs in terms of financial and technical assistance, including urgent measures for the stabilisation process in the South-East of Ukraine. Such measures, in particular, would include:
strengthening the state border;
ensuring addressing the urgent needs of internally displaced persons;
elaboration of a special post-conflict rehabilitation programme for Donbas region;
establishment of a Guarantee Fund.
Participants welcomed the growing international support for Ukraine, and recognised the need for stronger donor coordination of external financial and technical assistance based on Ukraine's economic and democratic stabilisation and reform priorities, starting from this stage of preparation to a Conference, as well as concerted efforts to address the challenges ahead, including the special needs in the Donbas region of Ukraine. An international coordinating platform for assistance to Ukraine will guide the efforts of donors, both in Ukraine, as well as in capitals. The Support Group for Ukraine in the European Commission will play an important role in facilitating strategic coordination among the respective headquarters with a view to ensuring maximum consistency and efficiency of international support efforts.
The European Union highlighted the European Agenda for Reform as a key planning tool for assisting Ukraine to implement its commitments under the Association Agreement in the short and medium term. Donors presented their contributions in the light of the Government of Ukraine's reform agenda, based on the European Agenda for Reform and supported by the IMF and WB programmes, supporting economic, social and political reform in Ukraine. Donors also provided indications on future support in these and other areas of cooperation.They discussed the positive role that blending of donor's grants with loans from International Financial Institutions can play in stimulating investment.
Donors acknowledged the important role that the private sector can play in the process towards economic stabilisation and transition to inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Donors will welcome the participation of private investors, including banks, to the process, as this could broaden the scope of a Donors and Investors Conference intended to be held in autumn 2014 based on thorough preparation of a Ukrainian reform strategy. The Ukrainian side presented its views on key sectors of economic growth attractive for investments, paying special attention to the agricultural and energy security development programmes, including implementation of energy efficiency technologies, Ukrainian gas transport system modernisation and ensuring reverse gas supplies.
In accordance with the Paris Declarationon aid effectiveness, the Ukrainian side and donors agreed to use development assistance database (DAD Ukraine) and to promote mutual accountability and transparency.
Donors discussed a roadmap towards a possible Donors' and Investors' Conference, including the creation of a joint preparatory committee. In addition to the Association Agreement, the European Agenda for Reform and the GoU reform package agreed with the IMF, donors will assist Ukraine in preparing an Economic Recovery and Growth Agenda for 2014-2016 including potential sources of funding. In this regard, the Ukrainian Government will invite donors to jointly estimate the funds necessary to complete the priority tasks.