Resilience, recovery and reconstruction: Council of Europe adopts new Action Plan for Ukraine

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has adopted a record €50 million Action Plan for Ukraine for 2023-2026.

“The Action Plan “Resilience, Recover and Reconstruction” (2023-2026) has been developed in close consultation with the Ukrainian authorities. It is part of our Organisation’s contribution to the rebuilding process and recovery of the country, faced with the brutal aggression of the Russian Federation and immense destruction. The new Action Plan aims to heighten the resilience of public institutions through strengthening democratic governance and the rule of law, and protecting citizens’ human rights”, said Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić.

“The Council of Europe remains fully committed to supporting and assisting Ukraine in these difficult times. This assistance and support will figure high on the agenda of the forthcoming summit of the Heads of State and Government to be held in Reykjavík in May next year,“ she added.

In addition to providing continued support to the country’s efforts to honor its obligations as a Council of Europe member State, the Action Plan aims to support Ukraine’s European perspective reform agenda, following the decision by the European Council on 23 June 2022 to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine.

The overall budget for the four-year co-operation framework is estimated at €50 million. This is the largest ever budget of a Council of Europe Action Plan for a country.

The Council of Europe will work with Ukrainian authorities to address their urgent needs and priorities including by supporting the implementation of the steps outlined in the European Commission’s opinion on Ukraine’s membership application, notably in the areas of constitutional justice, combatting corruption and money-laundering; developing an independent, effective and trusted justice; promoting freedom of expression and freedom of media,  strengthening protection of the rights of national minorities.

The actions under the Plan will moreover support the process of documenting gross human rights violations and promote, inter alia, in co-operation with local authorities and civil society organisations, better protection of the rights of internally displaced persons, returnees and people whose housing was destroyed or damaged as a result of the war.

Protecting the rights of children during the war and in a post-war context, helping to ensure decent social protection for war-affected population, are among the objectives of the Action Plan. Further important areas include the promotion of gender equality and combatting violence against women and girls, including displaced persons and returnees, following the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by Ukraine earlier this year, as well as to enhancing democratic governance, including access to public services, and youth participation.

This support under the Action Plan will come along with significant activities by the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). The CEB will provide a relevant contribution by part-financing investment projects in Ukraine with high social added value, aimed at improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable groups. The CEB will be able to operate directly in the country as soon as the final phase of the ongoing process for Ukraine to become a member of the Bank is completed. To date, the CEB has   deployed loans and grants in support of its member countries hosting refugees fleeing the war.

The Council of Europe action will closely co-ordinate with other actors, in particular the EU, UN and OSCE, as well as bilateral donors, to ensure complementarity of actions.