ODU pushes for better delivery of humanitarian aid at top meeting in Kyiv

February 27, 2020

ODU - HUMANITARIAN · OpenDoorUkraine.NL (ODU) has joined forces with other aid organisations during a meeting with high officials in Kyiv to discuss the problems with the delivery of humanitarian goods to people in need in Ukraine.
At a meeting held at the Office of the President on February 26, parties raised the problems surrounding the customs clearance of goods that are brought by humanitarian organisations to Ukraine. Much uncertainty was caused by plans of Vice-minister of Social Affairs Oleg Koval to ban the import of second-hand goods to Ukraine. 

According to minister Koval, it happens that clothes and other goods are imported as humanitarian cargo without any custom clearance, but then sold on the market, causing the Government to miss out on VAT taxes.

ODU had already written a letter to the Ukrainian authorities last month, asking for clarifications and expressing concern that the measures could undermine aid provision and demotivate Dutch donors.

At the Kyiv meeting, ODU’s coordinator for humanitarian affairs Beja Kluiters-Albers suggested to amend legislation in order to simplify the activities of charitable organizations in Ukraine. The President’s Commissioner for Volunteer Affairs, Natalia Pushkariova, suggested to look at ways to facilitate the issuance of permits for recognized organisations to import humanitarian goods into Ukraine.

This and other issues can be discussed in a working group of the humanitarian organisations. These organisations will also be consulted by government agencies before introducing official measures that might affect their work.

In the ensuing discussion, Koval announced that mixed cargoes of clothes with other goods will again be allowed to enter the country without controls. These had been halted while Ukrainian authorities were controlling the status of donor organisations. Koval said that 79 charitable organisations had been scrapped from the register of humanitarian aid recipients (including UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross, that were quickly reinstated once they had fulfilled their reporting obligations).

At the end of the meeting, Beja Kluiters-Albers was awarded the Badge of Honor of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, for the work of her Foundation Spoetnik in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. Spoetnik has been delivering assistance to vulnerable people in Ukraine for more than 25 years already. 

For more information, see Hyperlinks.

Sources: Office of the President, Ukrinform, OpenDoorUkraine.NL, 24 Kanal tv, Objectiv.tv, Spoetnik.

Photo: ODU Board member Beja Kluiters-Albers in discussion with Ukraine’s Vice-minister of Social Affairs Oleg Koval during the meeting in Kyiv.

(Diederik Kramers)