Over the past week, since the outbreak of protests and the events that have been subsequently unfolding, Ukraine has featured prominently in the news. Although attention is rightly focused on these major events, we provide a project management perspective on the EU–Ukraine cooperation, through the lens of the HD-implemented project Capacity Building of the State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving in Ukraine.
Over the past years good, positive work has been taking place with EU projects that have been implemented in Ukraine. Such projects do not have the public profile of recent events, of course, but they are a key part of the wider picture of interaction between the EU and Ukraine that is taking place.
Since December 2011, one of these projects has been run by a consortium led by Human Dynamics: Capacity Building of the State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving in Ukraine. The project works to foster EU-Ukrainian cooperation in energy efficiency and exploitation of renewable energy sources and alternative types of fuels. It involves our team in Ukraine, supported by our staff in Vienna and Sofia, working with the State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine (SAEE). We have been working with the Ukrainian authorities and civil service day in and day out to build capability.
The range of activities has been wide and the variety of participants and stakeholders.To give a few examples, over the last six months:
At the moment, in early March, we are organising trainings on best practice in certain financial instruments and we have been running specialist English language courses for 55 members of SAEE staff. A participant in the training programme has shared the following with us: “For a year of my MBA study, I was able to drastically expand the horizon of my own knowledge and systemise and globalise my experience. Training has deepened my skills to quickly analyse models/scenarios and be confident in my choices. On the professional end, it has all allowed me to build the non-standard for the state service approach in planning of the work, to see schemes of relationships between manager and subordinates, and to use more creative approaches in work.”
Further, substantial assistance has been provided to SAEE in the analysis and update of the current standardisation system in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and aligning them with EU best practices and regulations.
As regards communication with the public, we have developed new branding and a website for SAEE in order to increase the Agency's visibility and presence as a key player in the area of energy efficiency and RES in Ukraine.
The project's activities are designed to build sustainable capacity in order to implement effectively the national and EU policies in the fields of energy efficiency and to support the production of energy carriers from renewable energy sources and alternative types of fuels.
Beyond all specific events, facilitating Ukrainian experts' participation in policy forums at EU level in the Energy Secretariat, visibility measures and capacity building activities are helping to build the future potential EU-Ukraine cooperation in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
— Ivan Davidov, Project Director, HD
This project involves a great deal of interaction between Ukrainian and European experts and specialists, while it exposes Ukrainian stakeholders to innovative ways of working and methodologies and builds contacts between specialist communities.
Seen on their own, project steps and activities may seem small or technocratic. Yet they do have an impact – for both Ukraine and the EU – not least in building relationships at both professional and personal level. And this is just one of the EU-funded projects that have been going on in Ukraine.
For years, EU-funded projects have been working with Ukrainian counterparts to make progress on reform measures across a range of sectors. EU projects, such as this one that we are implementing, do make a vital difference to reforms and cooperation with the countries we are working with. It might not be there in the headlines, but it is taking place and will continue to do so.
— Ivan Davidov, Project Director, HD