At the International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv on 20 April, Renew Europe CoR President and Mayor of Saint-Omer François Decoster, part of the European Committee of the Regions delegation, called for local democracy and good governance to be the foundation of Ukraine’s future reconstruction.
François Decoster was part of a select group of Mayors and regional leaders to attend the International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv. Before the Summit, the European Committee of the Regions delegation also visited 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 wreaked in the region by the Russian invasion. And just before returning to the Polish border, the delegation was also received at Kyiv city hall for a frank and direct discussion that shows all the dimensions of the challenge of developing a new Ukraine.
“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 mobilize 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”.
For Decoster, It was two days of a rare intensity in Ukraine, where he had not been since 2018. “It was before this war; it was another world”.
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 of Ukrainian civil society, business, and think-tanks. Under the banner 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 as a way 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.