The Russian war against Ukraine has forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes, destroyed hundreds of cities and villages, and continues to bring devastation across Ukraine's regions.
While the EU and its local and regional authorities will continue to provide emergency aid, it is also important to join forces to support the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, today and in the aftermath of the war.
The CoR, together with partner associations of local and regional authorities from the EU and Ukraine, has launched the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, which will also bring together cities and regions from the EU and Ukraine and their national representative associations. The Alliance was created:
- to coordinate joint efforts, with European Union cities and regions ready to deploy resources to support an effective and sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine;
- to further facilitate the contacts and cooperation of its core partners with the EU institutions and within the "Ukraine reconstruction platform", as well as between EU and Ukrainian local and regional authorities and associations;
- to provide information and feedback to the EU institutions and the "Ukraine reconstruction platform", and foster the political dialogue with the local and regional level accompanying the reconstruction efforts;
- to facilitate providing expertise in capacity-building, good governance, and technical assistance to cities and regions in Ukraine.
The Alliance is calling for a sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine that is built around the following principles:
- unwavering support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and the right to defend its sovereignty;
- further European integration and access for Ukraine's local and regional authorities to European networks;
- empowering local self-government to take on a leadership role in the recovery and reconstruction together with Ukraine's central government, the EU and other international partners;
- a reconstruction strategy built on integrated planning at territorial level, capitalising on systemic approaches for sustainable, green, smart and inclusive territories building on the "build back better" principle;
- building on the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, in line with the (Ukrainian) State Regional Development Strategy 2021-2027 and its planned review and evolution, as well as on the existing decentralisation framework in Ukraine;
- promoting the development and modernisation of the Ukrainian countryside as an important component of Ukraine's success;
- a strong focus on improving good local/regional governance, including transparency, fighting corruption, protecting the freedom of local media, and promoting e-government;
- facilitating local and regional business development and innovation.
Pursuing these principles will only be possible if the local and regional levels become the cornerstone of the reconstruction efforts for Ukraine.
The Alliance is calling for:
- an easy engagement mechanism that would enable EU/European municipalities/regions/associations to help their Ukrainian counterparts with their reconstruction efforts;
- a peer-to-peer and twinningprogramme to strengthen capacity- building and facilitate the exchange of know-how on an equal footing;
- sufficient resources for promoting cluster twinning partnerships on the EU and Ukrainian side;
- an inclusive approach, bringing together cities, towns, villages, communities and regions, preserving coherence with what has already been deployed for Ukraine's sustainable territorial development to date (in Ukraine and in the EU);
- a strong commitment to promoting local/regional self-government, good governance and local democracy;
- an effective system of multi-level governance based on the OECD principles of public investment across all levels of government.
The Alliance is inviting partners such as the EIB, the EBRD, the OECD and the Council of Europe Development Bank to find solutions to facilitate working more closely with LRAs to help build a prosperous and sustainable future for Ukraine, and to strengthen local democracy and the EU's shared values.
The Alliance is calling for close cooperation with the upcoming EU presidencies of the Council to ensure the coherent coordination of local and regional actions with the EU Member States.