31 October 2022, 10:05
World Cities Day: How Can Foreign Cities Help Ukraine?

Congratulations on this holiday to all the cities that develop every day to be a better home for millions of people. To move forward more confidently, it is important to help each other, share experience, and face challenges side by side. This day is another great opportunity to update the issue of cooperation between cities within the framework of assistance in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Since February 24, Ukrainians have been fighting not only for the freedom of their country, but for the whole Europe. Partner country cities can express their solidarity with Ukrainian communities, mayors, and all citizens. Why it's important and how you can help — read the material by the Transparent Cities team.


Brave Ukrainian cities

Ukrainian cities survived the very first and hardest months of the invasion, endured numerous difficulties of the war — and the fight for victory continues. According to the President, more than 3,600 settlements were under full or partial occupation. Ukrainian troops managed to liberate most of them, but the destruction of housing and infrastructure in these territories is catastrophic. 

The rear cities of Ukraine show courage and resilience: help with employment, business relocation, temporary housing, and development opportunities for displaced people, etc. For example, the community of Chernivtsi has hosted tens of thousands of IDPs and is building a modular town for them. More than 200 enterprises have relocated to Lviv region, which is the leader in business relocation, and most of them are already working. And in Chervonohrad in Lviv oblast, the humanitarian headquarters shipped more than 500 tons of humanitarian aid throughout Ukraine.

However, the scale of the destruction is enormous. According to the KSE, at the beginning of September, Ukraine's direct losses from the war amount to USD 114.5 billion. More than 130,000 residential buildings, 412 enterprises and thousands of other facilities have been destroyed. Recovery is time-consuming and costly, which is why support of foreign cities is extremely valuable — both humanitarian, financial, and expert.


Why it is important to continue supporting Ukrainian cities

How quickly Ukraine overcomes the russian invasion depends on the coherent work not only at the front line, but also in the rear, including assistance from abroad. Criminal russia not only questions the existence of Ukrainians, but also bullies the entire civilized world — blackmails, threatens, terrorizes. So, we need to destroy this enemy now together, or they will return with renewed strength. 

By supporting Ukrainian communities, foreign cities make their direct contribution to the future peace, victory of Ukraine and European stability. Establishing contacts and mutual understanding between countries and communities will also support Ukraine’s path to the European Union.

Helping Ukraine is an opportunity to make Europe stronger. There are 40 mln of Ukrainians, and most of them want to be part of a democratic Europe, demonstrate commitment to European values, are ready to work hard and work for a common peaceful future. Stable and protected Ukraine is beneficial both from the economic and cultural sides.

The invaluable support of foreign municipalities helped Ukraine cope with the tough war crisis in the beginning and now supports it. Mayor of Ternopil Serhii Nadal points out the importance of twinning: “Often, such relations allow us to go ahead and establish effective cooperation, implement specific projects long before the official conclusion of interstate agreements. After the beginning of the war, humanitarian assistance from our friends saved more than one human life, heated, fed, and cured thousands of Ukrainians.”

Various countries continue to send food, medical equipment, special equipment, and other goods to Ukrainian cities. According to the study by “Transparent Cities,” Germany and Poland are most actively doing this, but there are many other countries in Europe and even in the Middle East. All cities, large and small, receive assistance — from Lviv to Kharkiv.

“In the first days of the war, many Ukrainian enterprises suspended their work. Tens of thousands of internally displaced persons arrived in Ternopil. There was an acute shortage of food of long-term storage, medicines, clothing, etc. And at this critical time, there was uninterrupted help from our sister cities. Thanks to their help, we managed to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. In general, thanks to the support of foreign partners, the humanitarian headquarters of Ternopil received dozens of international cargoes, which are hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid. The assistance of our partners in the purchase of uniforms, ammunition, and protective equipment for Ukrainian soldiers was also crucial and timely,” the mayor of Ternopil said.

The Transparent Cities program of Transparency International Ukraine states that cooperation between cities goes beyond the humanitarian sphere. The friendship of sister cities extends to the cultural and economic spheres, social initiatives. Thus, German, Lithuanian, and Polish municipalities organized a holiday for schoolchildren from Novovolynsk. And five foreign municipalities (Hamburg, Paris, Turku, Lublin, Rzeszów) will help Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv with post-war reconstruction.

“Thanks to the support of sister cities, we provide for the needs of IDPs who stayed, are staying, and will stay in Lviv. In addition, we received: 39 buses, 4 ambulances, and 93 bicycles,” says the acting director of the Lviv “Institute of the City” Maksym Terletskyi. Currently, Lviv plans to create a rehabilitation center and a larger UNBROKEN program in cooperation with the German sister city Freiburg.

In addition to point agreements on urban reconstruction, Ukraine presented a Recovery Plan at a conference in Lugano, which was estimated at USD 750 billion. Real work on it should begin as early as 2022.  

Thanks to the help of sister cities, Ukraine is able to prepare more effectively for the heating season. In particular, within the framework of such cooperation, the supply of backup equipment, generators, and heating points is carried out to ensure a stable heating season in the conditions of constant missile shelling. 

And already more than 200 European cities have united to restore Ukraine. Moreover, the UK will help Kyiv oblast, and Denmark — Mykolaiv oblast, but there are still communities that need support. For example, Nicopol suffers from terror by russian troops, who attack the city with heavy artillery weapons, missiles, and kamikaze drones. It is important for the city to get support now, as well as to have long-term agreements for reconstruction.

“The most significant value of twinning relations is to promote the sustainable development of the local community and help more fully unlock its economic and cultural potential of both partners in the fields of urban planning, infrastructure, healthcare, environment, business, tourism, education, sports, culture, and art,” says Serhii Doroshenko, Head of the Department of International Cooperation and Development of the Executive Committee of the Nikopol City Council.


How you can help this bravery

During the invasion, Ukrainian cities have already managed to learn more about partnerships and find sources of basic assistance. But they still have needs for financial support, various equipment, and medicines. The exchange of experience in culture, education, and science, the engagement of foreign specialists in recovery is crucial for Ukraine.

How you can help Ukrainian cities:

  • Register your community on the online platform Cities4Cities.It combines the demands and needs of Ukrainian cities with the experience, capabilities, and knowledge of European cities. It's completely free, and most importantly, it's open and transparent. 206 cities and organizations are already using the platform, and there are 12 successful cases. For example, the German city of Celle sent three humanitarian trucks to Sumy, Dortmund helped Mykolaiv with municipal trucks and humanitarian aid. Ukrainian cities are also registered on it, so your city can also register and choose the city or community that it wants to help.
  • Conclude a partnership or twinning agreement with Ukrainian cities directly. To do this, it is necessary to determine the areas of cooperation, contact the selected city, and develop a draft Twinning or Partnership Agreement. As a result, mayors or delegations must sign all the necessary documents — and two cities can cooperate without restrictions.
  • Donate to the UNITED24 program. This is one of the main “windows” for collecting assistance to Ukraine. Already more than USD 11 mln for post-war reconstruction was collected, and hundreds of items of medical equipment were purchased.
  • Support Ukraine with humanitarian aid through the official portal for all those willing to help. The site features the needs of the regions, the dashboard of assistance already provided, and guides on how to help Ukraine.
  • Contact the Transparent Cities program, which will be able to pass on the necessary assistance or communicate directly with the 100 cities participating in the Transparency and Accountability Rankings. This program reduces the level of corruption in cities and monitors the level of transparency and accountability in Ukrainian cities.

The war in Ukraine continues, and there is still a lot of work on reconstruction to be done. We call on partners to help Ukrainian cities. Together, we are stronger in the fight for common values and freedom!