The Strategic Approach of IOM Ukraine for 2020-2023 focuses on three priorities for ensuring an efficient crisis response and recovery, long-term development while contributing to efforts to leave no one behind and to reach those furthest behind first. These priorities include: i) sustainable recovery of conflict-affected communities through multi-sectoral integrated programming; ii) strengthening communities’ resilience through inclusive dialogue initiatives; and iii) further advancing Ukrainian society through long-term and people-centred sustainable development initiatives. The Crisis Response Plan reflects these priorities throughout the proposed activities, which aim to respond to the needs of conflict-affected communities as well as to the drivers and impact of crises and displacement in recovery, taking into consideration the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2014, Ukraine has undergone a profound transformation as a result of the Maidan protests, annexation of Crimea, and ongoing conflict in Donbass, which have all had a political, economic, and social impact on its society. Seven years on, Ukraine is slowly recovering but remains vulnerable to internal and external shocks (e.g. COVID-19, climate change, ongoing conflict in the East, economic crisis, etc.) which have the potential to destabilize the country. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent economic slowdown caused a surge in returning migrant workers to Ukraine and diminished revenues of foreign migrants working in Ukraine. This additional shock is creating new hardships, particularly for conflict-affected communities and populations.
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy (MoSP), approximately 1.46 million persons are registered as displaced, with over half residing in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (51%). In line with the latest IOM National Monitoring System (NMS) findings, 82% internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been staying at their current place of residence for over three years, thus the internal displacement can be considered protracted. According to the NMS, 35% of surveyed IDP households in the government-controlled areas (GCA) have ‘only enough funds for food’ and 10% have to ‘limit expenses even for food’. The average IDP household monthly income per person reported to be UAH 3,350, while in non-governmental controlled areas (NGGA), 19% of returnee households had a monthly income lower than UAH 3,000 as of June 2020. On top of the hard financial situations, the damage to or destruction of water pipelines as well as homes and social institutions further increases the vulnerability of entire social segments of conflict-affected communities by limiting their access to adequate heating, hygiene facilities and clean drinking water.