|Last update: 08-Mar-2006 18:41||NATO Update|
Retraining centre inaugurated in Ukraine
During a ceremony on 15 February a NATO-supported Resettlement and Retraining Centre was inaugurated in Khmelnytsky, to help Ukraine deal with the consequences of defence reform.
This project is part NATO’s Partnership for Peace Trust Fund initiative, with the Netherlands providing the role of lead nation.
It is aimed at helping Ukraine tackle the social and economic consequences of the ongoing defence reform and the associated downsizing of its armed forces.
Retiring military personnel from across Ukraine will benefit from various courses offered by the Centre, such as marketing and computer systems and technologies.
Help in job placement is also being provided through employment fairs and individual counseling.
The Ambassador of the Netherlands in Ukraine, Ron Keller, representing the lead NATO nation at the opening ceremony, highlighted the fact that Ukraine has ownership of the project and that it meets fully the interests of Ukraine. “Even though the Netherlands play a lead role in this project, it is Ukraine that is the actual lead country,” he said.
During the ceremony, Deputy Ukrainian Defence Minister Volodymyr Pasko expressed his appreciation for NATO’s assistance, as the scope of the problem resulting from the massive release of servicemen from the armed forces is too immense for Ukraine to face on its own.
The project is to be completed over three years with an overall budget of approximately 430,000 Euro.
The Netherlands is the biggest contributor to the first phase of the project providing some 132,000 Euro in 2006. Other contributing states include Bulgaria, Latvia, Finland, representing both NATO and Partner countries.
Part of broader cooperation
Efforts like the Kmelnitsky project, designed to help Ukraine manage the negative social and economic consequences of reform in the defence sector, constitute one of the five main priorities identified under the NATO – Ukraine Intensified Dialogue launched in April 2005.
In addition to this Trust Fund Project, NATO-Ukraine cooperation in the field of retraining is being developed along two additional lines. On the one hand, the NATO-Ukraine retraining programme, which will soon celebrate its 6th anniversary and aims to retrain 200 officers in 2006.
On the other, NATO and Ukraine are engaged in discussions on Ukraine’s overall needs, so that the Alliance can provide advice and recommendations through NATO national experts under the aegis of the NATO Economic Committee.