On 23 July 2023, the meeting of the Barrier-Free Council was held in Vinnytsia under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mr Denys Shmygal and with participation of the First Lady Ms Olena Zelenska. The event was supported by the Council of Europe project "Enhancing social protection in Ukraine".
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Ms Oksana Zholnovych, Minister of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine Ms Yulia Laputina, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Mr Matviy Bidnyi, member of the Central Election Commission Mr Serhiy Postivyi, Head of the Vinnytsia Regional Military Administration Mr Serhiy Borzov, Head of the Zhytomyr Regional Military Administration Mr Vitaly Bunechko, Head of the Ternopil Regional Military Administration MrVolodymyr Trush, Mayor of Vinnytsia Mr Serhii Morgunov, as well as representatives of other authorities, civil society, international organisations, including the Council of Europe.
The meeting was opened by the Prime Minister Mr Denys Shmyhal, who noted that the elimination of social barriers is extremely important in the conditions of the ongoing war and should be a priority of the government. These tasks can be solved only by combining the efforts of the government, civil society and business.
The First Lady Ms Olena Zelenska in her opening remarks emphasized that more and more examples of barrier-free solutions should appear in the communities. "Unfortunately, as long as the war continues, the number of people who will need prosthetics will increase. Now we know for sure: the whole country must become barrier-free. This should be our entire space. Physical, when convenience does not end with infrastructural changes. And the mental space, when there are no limits for the opportunities everywhere and in everything," Ms Olena Zelenska mentioned at the meeting.
Tetyana Lomakina, the Commissioner-Adviser to the President of Ukraine on barrier-free issues, spoke about the results of the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Barrier-free Strategy. She noted key achievements: update of state building regulations, which means barrier-free new constructions and re-constructions; introduction of the International Classification of Functioning and the start of electronic accounting of rehabilitation assistance; modern European standards of accessibility in digital services, which open opportunities for people with hearing, vision, cognitive impairments to receive administrative services remotely and learn online, etc.
Afterwards, the Ministers, member of the Central Election Commission and Heads of Regional State (Military) Administrations made the presentations of their flagship projects.
The Council of Europe project "Enhanced social protection in Ukraine" provides assistance in the implementation of the National Strategy for the creation of a barrier-free environment in Ukraine by 2030; in particular, expert support for monitoring the implementation of its Action Plans.
The National Strategy for the creation of a barrier-free environment in Ukraine for the period until 2030 was developed within the framework of the initiative "Barriers-Free" of the First Lady Ms Olena Zelenska which was approved by the Government in April 2021.