Ukraine, the second-largest country in Europe, with a population of more than 45 million, has close and longstanding ties to Canada. Ongoing efforts, highlighted here and in Canada’s Response to the Situation in Ukraine, include development commitments that will help establish a more promising future for Ukrainians.
Ukraine achieved independence in August 1991 upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, almost a quarter century later, Ukraine is still struggling to consolidate democracy and lay the foundations for economic prosperity. After several years of democratic and economic deterioration, which led to the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” of 2013–2014, Ukraine now has an historic opportunity to transform itself from a centralized, often inefficient economy struggling with significant corruption issues to a European-style country governed by democratic values and the rule of law.
On March 21, 2014, Ukraine's interim government and the European Union signed the political sections of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. On May 25, 2014, despite significant difficulties in parts of the east and south of the country, Ukrainians came out in large numbers to elect their president, Petro Poroshenko. Ukraine's government has committed to implementing democratic and economic reforms in line with its European aspirations, including, inter alia: constitutional reform in conformity with European standards, including local self-government reform and decentralization; judicial and legal reform, including implementation of genuine anti-corruption efforts; public sector reform, with a focus on public administration and public financial management; macroeconomic management reform, including banking sector reform; energy sector reform; electoral reform; and education reform.
Canada is among the strongest international supporters of Ukraine's European aspirations and its democratic and economic reform processes. Prime Minister Harper was the first G-7 leader to visit Ukraine after the Euromaidan protests, and the first foreign leader to meet bilaterally with President Poroshenko following his inauguration on June 7, 2014. Canada is providing significant support to help Ukraine implement needed economic reforms and to promote democratic and social development.
In 2014, Ukraine was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada's international development efforts.
The goal of Canada's international development program in Ukraine is to improve economic opportunities for Ukrainians in a strengthened democracy. Canada worked with Ukraine to establish a central voter registry to improve election laws and to improve the capacity of the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine to administer the electoral process. An independent judiciary and active opposition are vital components of an effective democracy and Canada will continue to support Ukrainian efforts towards a free, democratic and prosperous society.
Canada is working with the Government of Ukraine to assist with the reforms needed to realize the country's full economic potential and build a sound public institutional and legal environment for closer integration with Europe.
Canada has increased its support for democracy and rule of law in Ukraine since 2013, in response to recommendations by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and to the changing country context, while continuing to support sustainable economic growth in Ukraine.
Canada supports efforts to stabilize the Ukraine economy, creating the circumstances for continued reform and growth by helping to improve the business-enabling environment. Technical assistance to strengthen financial institutions and increase the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises will help restore confidence in the economic foundation of the country. Canada’s economic development efforts include a focus on agricultural projects to meet the needs of rural Ukrainians by introducing more modern farming techniques to help farmers access greater markets.
Key anticipated results
- improved regulatory reform for increased trade and investment opportunities, particularly in key sectors of growth such as small businesses and oil and gas
- more modern and environmentally sustainable management practices among small and medium enterprises and farms, including those led by women
- improved local business environment for small and medium enterprises and farms, including those led by women
Canada supports Ukraine's efforts to enhance the integrity of its democratic institutions and practices, placing an emphasis on reforming public institutions and the judicial system, as well as supporting civil society organizations and the media, to ensure effective, accountable and transparent decision-making. Particular attention is given to promoting free and fair elections, and to supporting reform of the legal framework.
Key anticipated results
- increased equitable access to justice for women and men, particularly those from marginalized groups
- improved participation of citizens, particularly women, in public life and decision-making
Progress on aid effectiveness
Canada is a leading bilateral donor in Ukraine. Canada will continue to build Ukraine's capacity to engage in donor coordination by encouraging joint monitoring of projects and playing an active role in several donor working groups.
- contributed to enhanced independence and governance at the National Bank of Ukraine, including technical assistance to draft legal amendments and continue the reforms of the monetary and exchange rate framework
- worked with the Association of Ukrainian Cities to improve the local economy by partnering 13 Canadian cities with local municipalities, supporting the production of 12 strategic economic development plans and implementation of 20 local economic development projects that involved public, private and non-governmental organizations
- introduced modern farming techniques through support for a grain producer cooperative that helped US$12 million financing reach 280 farmers and launched five farm management services delivered by agricultural input distributors, suppliers, and banks
- supported the deployment of nearly 300 elections observers to each of the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014, contributing to successful elections that generally respected international standards for freedom and fairness
- trained more than 58,000 election commissioners on elections management and more than 220 grassroots activists and journalists on election procedures
- initiated media projects that resulted in the production of 101 investigative stories, reaching more than 6.7 million viewers across Ukraine and causing the removal of corrupt high-level ranking officials due to the exposure
2012-2013 CIDA disbursements in Ukraine
Total: $31.11 million
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