01 April 2023
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Ukraine-EU Forum: mayors of Ukrainian, Polish and German municipalities launched 17 municipal partnerships

During the EU-Ukraine Municipal Partnership Forum in Wojnowice, Poland, the mayors of Ukrainian, Polish and German municipalities launched 17 municipal partnerships, and some Ukrainian municipalities have already agreed on specific steps towards cooperation with potential sister municipalities.

The event is organised by Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine to help municipalities of Ukraine and the EU to initiate and develop long-term partnerships.

“We seek to help create strong relations between European and Ukrainian cities, as we are doing now. The Russian invasion gave a new impetus to our cause. It forced us to shift the focus of our efforts to development assistance to Ukraine. The more events like this one are held, the more they are aimed at cooperation. This way we are working toward the victory of Ukraine and peace,” said Yurii Tokar, Consul General of Ukraine in Wrocław.

In addition to the direct cooperation between mayors and representatives of municipalities, the Forum featured Ukrainian municipalities sharing their experience in managing a municipality during the war. In addition, the European Commission, the Danube Region Strategy, GIZ, Engagement Global and Solidarity Fund PL presented financial instruments for the development of partnerships.

The first outcomes of the forum were 17 initiated partnerships and the first concrete agreements on cooperation between Ukrainian municipalities and municipalities of Poland and Germany. These included:

  • Solone (Ukraine) and Groß-Gerau (Germany),
  • Chortkiv (Ukraine) and Bad Soden-Salmünster (Germany),
  • Okhtyrka (Ukraine) and Leszno (Poland),
  • Rokytne (Ukraine) and Beratzhausen (Germany),
  • Hnivan (Ukraine) and Thalheim (Germany),
  • Shyroke (Ukraine) and Stockelsdorf (Germany).

Agreements cover joint efforts on solving water supply issues, development of local fire brigades and police stations, support of beekeeping, development of sports and cultural exchange.

“We all have a duty to help. Since February 24, we regularly accept Ukrainian students as well as children without one or both parents. However, we need to consider the procedures to work towards the recovery of Ukraine. The head of Nemishaieve talked about the damages, but then he also mentioned the future. And it’s incredible!” said Bogdan Wenta, Mayor of Kielce (Poland).

Martin Aßmuth, head of the municipality of Hofstetten and Member of the Board of the Young German Mayors Network, spoke about the importance of municipal partnerships.

“Through the Young German Mayors Network, we also tried to lobby the decisions of our politicians regarding the war in Ukraine. In our municipalities, we raised awareness of how the mayors and cities of Ukraine live and what kinds of support they need. The objective is for our politicians to receive information firsthand, so to speak, because we, in turn, communicate directly with our Ukrainian colleagues.”

The organisers plan to hold a similar forum at the end of February in Sindelfingen, Germany. More than 80 representatives of municipalities from Ukraine and the EU are expected to attend this event.

“Live communication and a platform to personally meet and discuss both urgent and long-term issues offer an important opportunity for Ukrainian and European mayors. The format of networking meetings has once again proven its effectiveness for establishing long-term partnerships that work for the benefit of communities,” said Svitlana Kryzhanivska-Blinova, Coordinator of Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine, head of international programmes of the City Institute, Lviv.

Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine is an initiative launched by the Swedish-Ukrainian project “Support to Decentralization in Ukraine” (SALAR International) in cooperation with the cities of Lviv, Ukraine, and Sindelfingen, Germany. The project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Strategic partners of the initiative are the All-Ukrainian Association of Communities and the Association of Ukrainian Cities. To start looking for a sister municipality, contact the organisers at https://unitedforua.org.



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