“The EU is a key ally in strengthening rule of law in Ukraine” says Deputy Minister of Interior Meri Akopyan as EU-funded PRAVO Police Programme closesAugust 31, 2022
Thanks to support from the European Union, Ukraine made significant steps towards bringing its law enforcement system in alignment with best European and international practices. It benefited greatly from the assistance provided by the PRAVO Police Programme implemented by UNOPS in close cooperation with the EU Advisory Mission Ukraine between 2017 and 2022. This was concluded by the participants of PRAVO Police’s closing event held in Kyiv on 31 August 2022.
The Programme contributed, among other things, to a stronger and more resilient IT infrastructure for the National Police and the State Bureau of Investigations by providing state of the art data centres that facilitate the secure storage, analysis, and exchange of investigative data. The prosecution service of Ukraine became more professional in leadership, advocacy, communication, and enhanced its capacity to carry out transparent and performance-based HR processes. The Programme helped Ukrainian law enforcement implement new approaches to engaging with communities, upholding security at public events, and investigating crimes.
All of these changes mean Ukraine’s rule of law sector became more effective and more responsive to citizens’ needs, adopting a philosophy where law enforcement is seen as a critical public service. The Programme also reinforced the police and other agencies in their ability to address wartime realities by procuring critically needed items in the few months following February 2022.
“There is no ignoring the fact that Ukraine’s law enforcement system is dealing with major challenges in the context of Russia’s aggression. Neither should it be denied that its resilience and effectiveness under these exceptional circumstances is in many ways a result of reform and continuous improvement which was actively supported by our international partners,” said Meri Akopyan, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. “We feel that the EU is a key ally in strengthening the rule of law in Ukraine, and we will be happy to continue moving forward together.”
The Programme budget of 36 million Euros was used to provide Ukrainian law enforcement agencies with expert consultations, specialised training in a range of topics, forensic equipment, personal protective items, vehicles, ICT equipment and professional software.
“The EU stands with Ukraine and condemns the brutal war of aggression waged by the Russian Federation on Ukrainian soil,” said Xavier Camus, Head of the “Good Governance and Rule of Law” Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine. “Strengthening the rule of law in Ukraine has been a strategic priority under the Association Agreement. With support from PRAVO Police, Ukraine has modernised its law enforcement system, making it more professional, resilient, and trustworthy to citizens. Considering the candidate status recently granted by the EU to Ukraine, Ukraine will need to continue such reforms, and the EU is committed to support.”
The Programme received valuable expert support throughout its implementation from the EU Advisory Mission Ukraine (EUAM). The Mission’s experts have been instrumental in defining the parameters of various interventions as well as sharing European best practices with Ukrainian law enforcement officers through training events.
“The Programme, with EUAM as its coordinating member, substantially contributed to promoting rule of law in Ukraine and to moving its law enforcement agencies closer to the EU,” said acting Head of the EU Advisory Mission, Fredrik Wesslau. “The fact that Ukraine received candidacy status is testament to the progress Ukraine has made over the past few years. Shortly after the Russian invasion, EUAM and PRAVO Police redirected their activities to provide essential support to Ukrainian police officers, border guards, detectives, and prosecutors. Ukraine needs international support now like never before, and we need to make sure this support continues to come in different ways.”
The Programme was implemented by UNOPS, which carefully planned activities and executed the identified beneficiary priorities, thus contributing to strengthening the national rule of law institutions.
“Implementing a 5-year multi-million programme is never straightforward,” said Gianni Volpin, UNOPS Ukraine Country Manager. “Obviously, where we arrived in 2022 is far from what was envisioned when PRAVO Police was launched in 2017: we have had to adjust to the shifting priorities and requirements of our stakeholders, as well as to the objective reality, with first the COVID-19 pandemic, and, more recently, the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. Still, I believe we can be proud of the path we covered together and the results we achieved. Ukraine’s law enforcement system is now more resilient, better equipped, and more citizen-oriented, and UNOPS is happy to have assisted in achieving these outcomes. Our mission is to help people build better lives, and I think that is what we have done with PRAVO Police.”
The Programme “Support for Rule of Law Reforms in Ukraine in the Areas of Police and Public Prosecution and Good Governance” (PRAVO Police) is funded by the EU and implemented by UNOPS in close coordination with the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine. Its overall objective is to contribute to promoting the rule of law in Ukraine and to aligning law-enforcement agencies’ functioning with the best EU and international practices. Following the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, PRAVO Police was reprogrammed to provide emergency assistance to rule of law institutions and support them in continuing to exercise their mandates of providing safety and security to the Ukrainian people. To this end, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies received essential means of transportation and communication as well as personal protective items worth over EUR 8,000,000 in the several months following 24 February 2022.