21 April 2023

On April 20, the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA) held a webinar to mark the conclusion of the first course of the Recovery Officers Training Program. The webinar was attended by more than 150 attendees, representing participants of the Program, and representatives of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, and the State Agency for Reconstruction and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine. The course participants discussed their experiences of the course, where they learned how to engage international experts and experience in Ukraine’s recovery.

Vasyl Melnychuk, state expert of the Directorate for Strategic Planning and European Integration of the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, noted that estimates so far of the damage caused by Russia’s shelling of Ukraine’s infrastructure amount to billions of US dollars. Vadym Nozdria, Head of the Implementation Group of the State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, spoke about the work of the Agency, which was established in January 2023, and is helping communities coordinate and prioritize their reconstruction efforts. Gulnara Roll, Secretary to the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management of UNECE spoke about the programs that were launched to help Ukraine rebuild its cities, including a program to develop master plans for Kharkiv and Mykolaiv.

Iryna Zapatrina, a professor and designer of the Training Program, highlighted the results achieved under the course so far. She noted that a total of 297 participants received access to training, while 237 from 16 regions of Ukraine, mostly from Luhansk, Donetsk, and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, completed the course. Only 62% of the trainees have had experience in developing sustainable development strategies, and only 17% of participants have paid attention to climate change issues in their practical activities. From February, when the program started, to April, four webinars were held to discuss the possibilities of applying the course materials in practice, and 32% of participants reported that their communities have started developing recovery strategies/plans. The knowledge gained from the course will therefore help to ensure that these strategies and plans are in line with international best practices.

Background: ERA launched the Recovery Officers Training Program in February 2023 with about 300 participants. Between then and July 2023, participants will take three online training courses covering sustainable development goals, green economy, and fundraising to study the experience of urban recovery in the postwar period and the possibilities of using it in Ukraine. Participants will gain theoretical knowledge and access to opportunities to raise money to rebuild infrastructure in their communities.