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Ukraine: Fertile Ground for Millennium Campaign Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Olexi, Ukraine Feb 27, 2005
Child & Youth Rights   Short Stories


Ukraine: Fertile Ground for Millennium Campaign When I proposed a report about the UN-organized All-Ukrainian Youth Summit to the “Young Ukraine” newsletter in July 2004, I received a sharp, growling reply, saying “Why on Earth, should we cover a UN youth-oriented PR action, when the mature UN officials are inept, connive at US operations in Iraq and limited to help Ukraine monitoring yearly summits and HIV/AIDS marathons? This is not the sort of role model that we would set for our readers….”

As discouraging and inadequate as it was, this answer is a snapshot of how little older Ukrainians know about the UN, and of how much is expected. Yet, looking at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Ukrainians definitely know where they want to be.

Ukraine. As Eastern in Europe as it gets

Slightly smaller than Texas, located in southeastern Europe this 48-million neighborhood is a country in transition and constantly in trouble. For 14 years now, Ukraine’s political life has been distanced from what formed a day-to-day survival algorithm for most of Ukraine’s citizens: if government ignores you – set a democratic example for it. In the long-term perspective this strategy proved right. After a decade of crawling progress and speed-of-light corruption, Ukraine is in the international focus due to the notorious Orange Revolution. No matter how high the expectations are now set in and outside of Ukraine, it is still an exemplary victim of a 3Ps trinity troubling the whole Eastern European Region: Past, Poverty and de-Population.

Youth movements seem to have remedies to all three. “Non-governmental organizations embrace the most active, young and vibrant part of the population in this country. NGOs reach out to youth, HIV/AIDS infected and the poor – all those, the state would prefer to drop out and whom the MEDIA ignores. This is indeed - civil society in action.” This was a recent reply of a known present-day Russian political dissident, writer and public leader Edward Limonov to a claim that the whole concept of Civil Society is inappropriate for Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Inertia of apprehension is a malady of yesterday that youth are obviously immune to. The youth movement in Eastern Europe and the CIS has been by far defining the reform of this region and is the driving force for changes shaking the region. Progress has its cost and those left outside are often underage.

Each year since 1999, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS has reported that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is growing faster in the countries of the former Soviet Union than anywhere else in the world. In seven years the epidemic has grown so quickly that there are now more than a million people living with HIV in the former Soviet Union – more than in all of North America.

In Ukraine, where fewer than a hundred cases were registered between 1989 and 1994, an estimated 300, 000 are now living with HIV. Registered infections are nearly doubling each year. HIV/AIDS is a phenomenon at the crossroads of poverty, ignorance, discrimination and crime. Youth in Ukraine are equally challenging all four and need protection from them.

MDG Youth Generation.

Not surprisingly youth constituted the incredible two-thirds of Ukrainians that supported fair presidential elections. How many of them campaigned for the MDGs? Very likely most of them have and even more continue.

Young people will be beneficiaries if the MDGs are achieved; they aim to live in a highly developed European society.

The MDGs have already been incorporated into many policy documents of Ukraine on national and provincial levels. For example, the “Strategy for Economic and Social Development of Ukraine until 2011” is based on the MDGs.

Since 2002 when the first all-Ukrainian MDG Youth Summit took place, Ukraine’s youth has proactively begun nationwide discussions. As a result of the Youth Summits, specific recommendations were developed for the Government on what needs to be done to achieve the Goals. One of the Youth Summit’s 2003 participants from Central Ukraine, Yuri Kravchenko, said “We, young people, have the energy and goodwill; the older generations have wisdom, based on experience. Together we can achieve the MDGs.”

The Millennium Campaign's approach to unite under a single banner existing organizations, networks, and movements focusing on education, health, women's rights, HIV/AIDS and the environment, has every chance of gaining a firm support in Ukraine.

Ukraine, like the whole region, sets ambitious goals for its development.



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Ukrainian student, journalist and a planetary citizen. I invite you to take a look at Central's Europe largest state- Ukraine through Olexi-tinted spectacles. Somewhat approaching unbiased subjectivity :)

Ukraine?! What happened?
Antony Felix O. O. Simbowo | May 4th, 2005
Ukraine has been a sleeping giant in Eastern Europe for too long. The youth should lead the country if the old guards are still procrastinating on development issues. The country has great potential.

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