At the International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv on 20 April, François Decoster, President of Renew Europe Group in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and Mayor of Saint-Omer, France, called for local democracy and good governance to be the foundation of Ukraine’s future reconstruction.
Decoster was part of a select group of Mayors and regional leaders to attend the Summit, joining a CoR delegation to visit the towns of Irpin and Bucha, as well as the villages of Hostomel, Borodyanka, Andriivka, Makariv, and Dmytrivka, where they had an opportunity to witness first-hand the damage wrought in the region by the Russian invasion. The delegation was also received at Kyiv City Hall for a frank and direct discussion on the challenge of developing a new Ukraine.
Commenting during the visit, Decoster said:
“We are in Ukraine first of all to express our solidarity. The destruction in towns and villages such as Borodinska, Dmytrivka, Bucha and Irpin, which we visited, is immense and we can only see that it took a lot of courage and determination on the part of the Ukrainian forces to regain control of the territories which were invaded. It is therefore also to understand the urgency of reconstruction that we are here, so that we can mobilise the cities and regions of Europe and be at Ukraine’s side while this time of reconstruction is being prepared, to make it as fast as possible. We have seen a fighting Ukraine, completely turned towards its future and anchored in the European family. We see how much she needs us but how much we also owe her. The reconstruction of Ukraine will go hand in hand with that of European sovereignty”.
The International Summit of Cities and Regions – convened by Ukraine’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities – included not only mayors and regional governors from around the world, but also members of the Ukrainian government, representatives from Ukrainian civil society, businesses and think-tanks. With the theme of Partnership for Victory, the Summit identified housing, energy, transport, social services and humanitarian aid as the main areas in which Ukrainian municipal and regional administrations could benefit from the experience of international partners. CoR members discussed the reconstruction management system, synergies between stakeholders, sustainable development planning, investments and the development of public-private partnerships and culture to support the recovery of capital human after the war.
The CoR, together with partner associations of local and regional authorities from the EU and Ukraine, also 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.
You can watch a video of the visit below or on YouTube.
Photo credit: Renew Europe CoR