On Monday, April 12, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and with the participation of First Lady Olena Zelenska, a meeting to discuss further steps to implement the tasks and measures envisaged by the National Strategy for Barrier-Free Environment in Ukraine was held. Representatives of the Government, the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine, UNICEF and the public sector were present at the event.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal noted that due to the initiative of the First Lady, for the first time in the history of independent Ukraine, the topic of overcoming barriers for people had been raised to the top state level.
"Barrier- free environment as a new social norm will bring closer together Ukraine with progressive European countries, where the principle of equal rights and opportunities is the basis of all statist decisions," the Prime Minister stressed.
During the meeting, the ministers presented the groundwork regarding the National Strategy.
"It is important to ensure that all solutions are implemented and not left on paper. That is why I propose to establish a Barrier-Free Environment Council. I see the main purpose of its creation as monitoring and controlling the progress of implementation of the National Strategy, execution of planned programs developed at the level of regional state administrations, coordination of complex issues of intersectoral cooperation," Olena Zelenska said.
The Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, in turn, noted that the setting up of the Barrier-Free Environment Council would provide an opportunity to intensify the practical implementation of the National Strategy for the Barrier-Free Environment.
"The Government supports such an initiative. Barrier-free environment affects everyone. This is a sign of a modern and European state, which we are building together in Ukraine," the Prime Minister stressed.
The Prime Minister added that until recently, many people had associated barrier-free environment with overcoming physical barriers. However, in reality this concept is much broader and affects everyone.
"For this purpose, within the framework of the initiative of the First Lady Olena Zelenska and in pursuance of the Decree of the President of Ukraine, a National Strategy for the Establishment of a Barrier-Free Environment until 2030 was developed," emphasized Denys Shmyhal.
As part of the work on the Strategy, the Interdepartmental Working Group identified 6 main areas for the formation of barrier-free space: physical, informational, digital, social and civic, educational and economic.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister was informed that the draft National Strategy on Barrier-Free Environment had passed all levels of discussion, the document would be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers in the near future.
The National Strategy for the Barrier-Free Environment in Ukraine for the period up to 2030 was developed within the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska "Removing Barriers" and in pursuance of the decree of the President of Ukraine. The document was drafted by an interdepartmental working group within the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which included 11 ministers, MPs, representatives of the Office of the President of Ukraine, the National Institute for Strategic Studies, civil society and experts.