Olena Lazorenko: working tirelessly to realise the SDGs in Ukraine
Name: Olena Lazorenko
Lives in: Kyiv, Ukraine
Country of origin: Ukraine
Period in Germany: November 2008 in Berlin
Education and research institution: Workshop on the topic of “Gender-Diversity-Management in South-East Europe” by the Heinrich Boell Foundation / Gunda Werner Institute for Feminism and Gender Democracy
Occupation: Senior Researcher at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
From global to local: Olena Lazorenko is working to ensure that implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ukraine will also supply solutions to the country’s most pressing problems. The Germany-Alumna is paying particular attention to equality for women in business and academia.
How a country goes about realising the global Sustainable Development Goals is not just a preserve for government. The United Nations’ vision also calls for input from civil society, academia and the private sector. To make sure that local-level implementation of the SDGs in her home country lives up to this, Ukrainian Olena Lazorenko travels widely, gives speeches, organises meetings and writes articles and blog posts.
Localising the 2030 Agenda
SDG 11, “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, is not the only goal to address the local level. Directly or indirectly, almost all the other SDGs relate to it too. That is why it is necessary to translate the SDGs from the international level, via the regional and national levels, to the local level – true to the motto “think globally – act locally”. Strategies, mechanisms and instruments are needed here that can help cities and communities achieve specific results as they implement the 2030 Agenda.
Toolbox for Localising the Sustainable Development Goals
Olena Lazorenko works in academic research and holds the position, on an honorary basis, of President of the Ukrainian League of Professional Women (LPW). For the Germany-Alumna, there is no question that national consultation processes should play a role in Ukraine’s strategy for implementing the 2030 Agenda – as a contribution to consultative democracy. In practical terms, she means expert consultations, workshops and academic conferences, for example, all of which provide an opportunity for in-depth exchange.
“Broad-based participation is a must”
Olena Lazorenko thrives on this exchange. In 2016 she took part in national consultations on the SDGs in Ukraine as a representative of the LPW. She and her LPW colleagues succeeded in gaining inclusion of the perspective of women and business in the areas of Quality Education (Goal 4), Gender Equality (Goal 5) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8). A particular achievement was the incorporation of their proposals in the official report describing Ukraine’s baseline situation and setting out national targets and indicators for achieving the SDGs.
A further aspect of implementing the 2030 Agenda is evaluating what has already been achieved. “I hope that Ukraine will present a voluntary progress report next year. Non-governmental organisations should definitely participate in the assessment and should receive financial support for this task,” says Olena Lazorenko. Her recommendation to the Ukrainian Government is to establish both national and local multi-stakeholder partnerships with civil society and other stakeholders.
Working for greater participation of women worldwide
For Lazorenko, participation goes beyond national borders. The LPW recently became a member of the Women’s Major Group (WMG), which represents the voice of women and promotes their participation in political processes at the UN. “We want to be part of a global movement. Interacting with others internationally opens your eyes to new solutions,” observes Olena Lazorenko. The United Nations Major Groups enable all social groups to play a role in fleshing out and implementing the SDGs.
But Olena Lazorenko is not only promoting SDG implementation on the broader political stage. She is also playing an active role at the LPW. In January 2018, for example, she launched the virtual “Female Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Community”. The aim of this platform is to improve Ukrainian women’s entrepreneurial skills in the areas of business, research, culture, civil society and education.
Olena Lazorenko would like the people of Ukraine to learn a great deal more about the 2030 Agenda. With this in mind, she has been involved in organising the event “Ukrainian Political Uzvar about the Future of Ukraine and its Way Forward” at the America House Kyiv and has published an article on “Arts and the Sustainable Development Goals in Ukraine”. It is very important to her to uphold a diverse range of opinions and “always present and discuss differing standpoints”. What motivates her is the goal of making her country fit for the future in the long term, in cooperation with other stakeholders. The Germany-Alumna is tireless in pursuing it – and she has plenty more ideas for achieving it.
Discussion on the localisation of the 2030 Agenda
How well known are the SDGs in your country? What specific action is being taken to localise the 2030 Agenda? And what, in your view, needs to happen in your country to increase localisation of the 2030 Agenda? Share your opinion in the comments!