Solidarity with Ukraine is not just the efforts of governments and international institutions. It is the help of thousands of communities around the world. From capitals and cities with a population of millions to small municipalities. This was stated by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the opening of the International Summit of Cities and Regions.
“Today, Ukraine is fighting for European values. They were born and strengthened in communities. When the air of European cities made people free. When self-governance was part of everyday life. Modern Europe and modern America, the entire civilized world, grew from this root. Now municipalities are uniting again to prevent Russian barbarism from making a comeback,” said Denys Shmyhal.
According to the Prime Minister, the international inter-municipal partnership has now reached unprecedented proportions. More than 300 municipalities of Ukraine have concluded 1,500 partnership agreements. Almost 60 countries are helping our cities, towns and villages survive and recover from deadly enemy attacks. Denys Shmyhal thanked the partners for their support.
The Head of Government also noted that Ukraine was seeking to consolidate international support, improve the interaction between war-affected municipalities and partners and lay the foundation for long-term cooperation in the future. This is the goal of the International Summit of Cities and Regions.
“I am positive that the results of the summit will be crucial for hundreds of municipalities in different parts of Ukraine. First of all, we are talking about the municipalities where the devastating consequences of the war are felt the most. Especially in the de-occupied territories, which have gone through severe trials. We expect very concrete results, in particular, the signing of patronage agreements between Ukrainian and foreign municipalities and regions,” the Prime Minister said.
Denys Shmyhal stressed that patronage would accelerate the restoration of municipalities and contribute to Ukraine’s European integration and its entry into the European space at all levels.
In addition, the Regional Offices for International Cooperation will soon start operating. The concept of their activities will be presented during the summit. The Prime Minister expressed his belief that this initiative will allow for much faster and more efficient implementation of support programmes.
The opening ceremony of the International Summit of Cities and Regions was attended by Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, and Oleksii Kuleba, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Executive Secretary of the Presidium of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President of Ukraine. In total, 141 participants from 17 countries and international organisations joined the event. 128 city and regional leaders from 37 countries are participating online.