Ukraine-EU forum: Mayors Launched 17 Municipal Partnerships
In the course of the EU-Ukraine Municipal Partnership forum in Wojnowice (Poland), the mayors of Ukrainian, Polish and German communities launched 17 municipal partnerships, while some Ukrainian communities reached agreements on specific steps on the way to cooperation with potential partner communities.
The event was organized by the Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine initiative to assist the communities of Ukraine and the EU in launching and developing long-term partnerships.
“We want to help establish strong relations between European and Ukrainian cities, and we are doing so now. The Russian invasion has given a new impetus to our cause. It made us shift the focus of our work to helping the development of Ukraine. The more such events are organized, the more they are aimed at cooperation. Therefore, we are working for the sake of the victory of Ukraine and peace,” says Yuri Tokar, Consul General of Ukraine in Wroclaw.
In addition to the direct work between the mayors and the communities’ representatives, Ukrainian communities also shared their experience of community management in times of war during the forum. Apart from that, the European Commission, the Danube Strategy, GIZ, Engagement Global and the Polish Solidarity Fund presented financial instruments for the development of partnerships.
17 initiated partnerships and the first concrete agreements on cooperation between Ukrainian communities and the communities of Poland and Germany have become the first results of the forum. In particular, these are Solone community (Ukraine) and Groß-Gerau (Germany), Chortkiv community (Ukraine) and Bad Soden-Salmünster (Germany), Okhtyrka community (Ukraine) and Leszno (Poland), Rokytne community (Ukraine) and Beratzhausen (Germany), Hnivan community (Ukraine) and Thalheim (Germany), Shyroke community (Ukraine) and Stockelsdorf (Germany). As for the agreements, they encompass joint work on solving water supply problems, the development of local fire departments and police stations, support of beekeeping, development of sports, and cultural exchange.
“We are all obliged to help. Since February 24, we have been hosting students, pupils, as well as orphans and semi-orphans on an ongoing basis. However, we need to analyze the procedures to work for the restoration of Ukraine. The head of Nemishaieve settlement talked about the ruination, but then he also spoke about the future. And this is incredible!” says Bogdan Wenta, mayor of the city of Kielce (Poland).
Martin Aßmuth, head of the Hofstetten community, member of the board of the Young Mayors Network (Germany), explains why municipal partnerships are vital.
“We have been also trying to influence our politicians’ decision-making regarding the war in Ukraine through the network of contacts of young mayors. We have been informing our communities about the life of Ukrainian cities, have been raising awareness about the kind of support they need. Our task is to have our politicians get information firsthand, so to speak, because it is us who communicate directly with our Ukrainian colleagues,” explains Martin Aßmuth, head of the Hofstetten community, member of the board of the Young Mayors Network (Germany).
A similar forum is going to be held in Sindelfingen (Germany) at the end of February. More than 80 representatives of Ukrainian and EU communities are expected to attend this event.
“Live communication, an opportunity to meet in person and discuss both urgent and long-term issues is important for Ukrainian and European mayors. The networking meetings format has once again proven its efficiency in establishing long-term partnerships that benefit the communities,” says Svitlana Kryzhanivska-Blinova, coordinator of the Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine initiative, head of international programs of the City Institute in Lviv.
The Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine initiative was launched by SALAR International in cooperation with the cities of Lviv (Ukraine) and Sindelfingen (Germany). The project is implemented with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Strategic partners of the initiative are the All-Ukrainian Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities and the Association of Cities of Ukraine. To find a partner community, please address the organizers https://unitedforua.org.