Taking into account the priorities set by the EU Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024, the strategic objectives of the EUSDR, as well as the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus, which affected the lives of every citizen and country as a whole, Ukraine proposes to pay attention to the following topics during the course of its presidency in the EUSDR:
1. Sustainable Development of the Danube Region: Decarbonisation and Transformation of the Economy
The Danube region, like Europe as a whole, is not sufficiently prepared for the growing intensity, frequency, and prevalence of the climate change impacts, especially given the growing greenhouse gas emissions. That is why, adaptation to climate change has become an integral part of the European Green Deal and its external dimensions.
One of the largest sources of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions today is the transport sector. 90-95% of pollutant emissions into the atmosphere caused by road transport.
That is why the development of sustainable and smart mobility in the Danube region is one of the priorities of Ukraine`s Presidency in the ESDR.
Within this priority, Ukraine proposes to draw the particular attention to the following issues:
- increase of the share of sustainable transport modes, such as rail and inland water transport;
- development of multimodal and intermodal cargo transportation;
- expansion of the TEN-T international transport network to neighbouring countries (non-EU countries) and development of cross-border infrastructure.
In the period of the environmental challenges the Danube region faces, the decarbonisation of the economy, which is close to security and further development of mankind issues, is of particular importance. A successful model of transition to carbon neutrality and introduction of the principles of circularity in production are essential for maintaining the planet suitable for human life.
Furthermore, decarbonisation of the economy can be accelerated by transition to low-carbon energy through the gradual abandonment of traditional energy sources, transition to renewable energy sources and introduction of innovative hydrogen technologies.
2. Development of human capital and labour markets
In recent years, there have been significant disparities in the development of the labour market and the employment rate in the Danube region. The gap between the countries with the highest and lowest employment rates is expanding every year.
This has become particularly evident in contrast to the global economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus. This requires joint action at both national and transnational levels in order to effectively address current challenges and future changes in the region as well as to ensure growth of the employment rate and welfare of the population of the Danube region by attracting additional investment in education, development of skills and adaptation of individual competencies to the qualification requirements of the labour market and the needs of the economy.
Within this priority, Ukraine proposes to focus on the following issues:
- ensuring the quality of education and its adaptation to the needs of the labour market;
- increasing the level of digital and media literacy, knowledge of foreign languages;
- introducing a lifelong learning strategy;
- including and integrating vulnerable populations and people with disabilities into the labour market;
- increasing the employment rate, especially among young people;
- improving the labour market and supporting social innovation.