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Head of the State Agency for Donbas Renovation: “The consequences of the conflict will be felt in many years on”. Part 1

Head of the State Agency for Donbas Renovation: “The consequences of the conflict will be felt in many years on”. Part 1

$1.5 million is required to get rid of the consequences of the hostilities in the east of Ukraine. The figure reflected the situation which was 2 years ago, at the beginning of the conflict in the Donbas. How does the Department work, where to get the money to renew the infrastructure in the east, why is it necessary to restore the objects if there is still shelling? About it in the interview with Vadym Chernysh, Head of the State Agency for Donbas Renovation, given to Hromadske.Skhid.

The State Agency for Donbas Renovation started working in 2015. It was to become the key chain in the coordination of projects aimed at helping the territories damaged by the conflict in the east of Ukraine. The Agency coordinates budget money spending, credit resources, and the work of international humanitarian organizations in the Donbas. According to the joint plan of the Agency and international partners, 3.1 mln people in Ukraine require help in 2016. Out of them, only 2.5 mln will be able to get it. It will require $298 mln added to the help which Ukraine plans to allocate.

What does the Agency do? What are the tasks it is facing? What does it mean — “renovation of Donbas”?

We have the Agency Charter. However, what we are doing at the moment is beyond the Charter. The Agency comprises three components: humanitarian response to the crisis, our own renovation — “renaissance”, and conflict management. Speaking about international humanitarian response, it is what should be done during the acute phase of the conflict. If the crisis decreases or is prolonged, different mechanisms start working. These mechanisms are to help to create adequate conditions for the people who are displaced and change their life. These are complex measures which show what should be done for the people who suffered the conflict, to have decent life. We also are intermediaries in renovation of the objects in the zone of hostilities: water supply, electricity lines, and all the other objects of critical infrastructure. Some of the issues are the key ones to be discussed in Minsk.

You are attending the Minsk meetings. What do you talk about there?


There are four subgroups in Minsk. I won't speak about the political one as everyone considers Minsk meetings as the political component and criticizes what is going on. And social and economic as well as humanitarian issues are left beyond the attention. Humanitarian issues are not only the release of hostages. There are lots of other issues: hundreds of thousands of people in the ATO zone, in the grey zone, and on the occupied territory depend on water supplied by Popasnyanskiy district water supply agency. Its work is arranged by the Red Cross, and we coordinate it. Red Cross engineers together with local ones are renovating this object. In Minsk, we also touch upon issues of demining coordination, elimination of shelling, the work of repair teams, who is responsible for what, the territory accessible for the Red Cross.

How many people work for the Agency? How big is your budget? Who finances your activities?


Our budget is the state one. We get salaries. Our annual budget is 7.5 mln. That's it.

How much do you need for your plan?


Our plan requires $1.5 bln. This is what is in our plan of renovation. However, the figures are not the final ones; they reflect the situation 2 years ago. We have 7 mln for the Agency needs, and nothing for the projects. There is 500 mln for projects which was given at the beginning of the Agency work, but the money is being used by the Ministry of Regional Development, as it was registered like that in the contracts. But I would like to stress that it is credits, and the money should be given back. At the moment, 26 people work for the State Agency for the Donbas renovation. One third of them are experts; others — HR workers, clerical workers. We have announced recruitment of people; however, we still have vacancies.

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