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Yokohama and UNDP partner to support restoration of kindergarten in Odesa, Ukraine

by | Jul 8, 2024

Monday, July 1, 2024, Yokohama City and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an cooperation agreement for supporting reconstruction in Ukraine, centered on Odesa City and starting with rebuilding a kindergarten. The UNDP has been involved in many projects supporting Ukraine’s reconstruction, but this is the first time the agency has signed a cooperation agreement for Ukraine’s reconstruction support with a local government outside of Ukraine itself.


The signing of the agreement coincides with the anniversary of the longstanding sister city partnership between Yokohama, Japan and Odesa, Ukraine. Established in 1965, the sister city relationship between the two cities is nearing its 60th year, with this year marking its 59th anniversary. Although Odesa and Yokohama have shared many exchange programs over the years, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Yokohama has worked diligently to support its sister city through multiple projects, including donating water purification machines, winter clothing, and providing local support in Japan for Ukrainian refugees.


The agreement between Yokohama and the UNDP states that the two parties will collaborate through sharing information and other means to support the reconstruction and recovery of Ukraine, especially in and around Odesa, including through public relations activities to support and raise awareness of issues the area is facing and initiatives related to Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery.


Odesa Kindergarten 141 destroyed interior

The first initiative from this collaboration will be the reconstruction of Kindergarten No. 141 in Odesa, which was damaged by an explosion. This will include interior and exterior repairs of three damaged buildings and associated facilities, and using further funds raised through crowdfunding to supply equipment such as desks, chairs, playground equipment, and ground maintenance. Construction is planned to begin in September 2024, and is expected to be completed in 6 months.


Odesa Kindergarten 141 destroyed exterior

The agreement document was signed by Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine and Takeharu Yamanaka, Mayor of Yokohama City, and was publicized at a joint announcement ceremony.


Mayor Yamanaka commented, “To date, we have made every effort to support the people of Odesa and Ukraine, as well as those who have evacuated to Yokohama, willing to offer all possible ways of support. Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with UNDP to aid in the recovery and reconstruction of Odesa and to contribute to peace and development in the international community.”


Jaco Cilliers, who attended virtually, stated, “This is a pioneering collaboration where UNDP partners with a municipality outside Ukraine to aid in local reconstruction efforts.” He continued, “By pooling our resources and solidarity with Yokohama City, we aim to catalyze recovery in Odesa and support the children in the city.”


Gennadiy Trukhanov, Mayor of Odesa, added in a video message played at the announcement ceremony, “The signing of this agreement affirms the multilateral cooperation between Odesa, Yokohama, and the UNDP. Together, we will be able to give children back an important part of their childhood.”


Related Links:

UNDP Article: UNDP and Yokohama partner to restore social infrastructure in Odesa 

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