The COVID-19 crisis and the imposed quarantine and lockdown caused a reduction in output, household spending and trade in Ukraine. The economic contraction resulted in decreased employment and and increase in returning migrants, which reduced incomes and inflows of remittances. As in many countries, the quarantine restrictions have overwhelmingly affected urban MSMEs and those owned by women. MSMEs provide about 60% of employment and 20% of GDP in Ukraine. The effect was significant as high informal unemployment means there has been hardly any protection of labor rights for this demographic and has been a barrier for the affected population to access government support. There is also a large share of low skilled workers (up to 20%) who have not been able to telecommute, as reported by two thirds of rural and half of urban businesses. Finally, the National Social Security system was under pressure due to rising unemployment coupled with generally low savings across the population, resulting in limited sound coping strategies.

Subnational Human Development Index

COVID-19 socio-economic response 2021

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Results from the UN75 One-minute Survey

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Socio-economic impact assessment​


Two surveys were conducted, covering 974 owners of MSMEs and 1,022 households. The surveys took place between 20 May and 3 June 2020 addressing such issues as impact on businesses, employment, living conditions, and livelihoods. Both surveys had national coverage: the sampling for households was based on a random stratified sample, while the sampling of businesses was done by snowballing with soft quotas (types of businesses, ownership and type of registration). The analysis was led jointly by UNDP, UN Women and FAO.


  • COVID-19 response actions should focus first on vulnerable groups such as women, older persons, and people living with chronic health conditions and disabilities.
  • Create fiscal space through strategic efforts related to international financing, progressive taxes, increased government efficiency and transparency, and anti-corruption.
  • Maintain essential services and treat COVID-19 at the primary health care level as much as possible.
  • Scale up spending on health and continue reforms to the public health system.
  • Make remote learning available to all students and train teachers in online learning tools.
  • Promote a sustainable, inclusive “green” recovery and remove remaining direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies.

Early UNDP actions in response to COVID-19 in Ukraine

Together with the Government, UNDP set up Crisis Coordination Management Units under the Prime-Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with technical coordination by the Vice-Prime-Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

UNDP launched a campaign to encourage solidarity and kindness during the coronavirus pandemic, and a joint initiative with the independent internet publication to help young women and men aged 14 to 22 to cope with self-isolation, social distancing and quarantine restrictions while staying at home, via the monthly Instagram challenge #bemyquarantine_UA.

UNDP organized a hackathon called the #HackCorona Challenge in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation to identify the best tech-based solutions for mitigating and addressing the challenges caused by COVID-19.

UNDP helped launch online stores selling products for a number of businesses from conflict-affected eastern Ukraine

Supported a Chatbot developed in partnership with the Ukraine Chamber of Commerce to automatically respond to user queries about ways for MSMEs to mitigate negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This chatbot can also produce pre-filled force majeure certificates and forms to present to landlords and banks.

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The COVID-19 Data Futures Platform is a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP works to eradicate poverty while protecting the planet. We help countries develop strong policies, skills, partnerships and institutions so they can sustain their progress.


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