Ukraine conference in Leipzig Municipal partnerships for reconstruction
Development Minister Schulze said, “Ukrainian municipalities have demonstrated commitment, cooperation and creativity in response to the horrors of the war. German and European cities and municipalities have been supporting them, providing dressing materials, generators or fire engines. With this conference we are taking the next step, focusing on reconstruction. Municipalities will play a critical role in the reconstruction of Ukraine. The Development Ministry is helping the municipalities to better support one another. The number of municipal partnerships between Germany and Ukraine has increased tremendously since the start of Russia's war of aggression. That is an encouraging show of solidarity.”
The Mayor of the City of Leipzig Jung said, “The conference is bringing to life the many diverse relations that have been established between German cities and Ukrainian municipalities. It is an impressive demonstration of how important these networks have become. Our partnership with Kyiv is a good example that shows that in times of crisis, in particular, such partnerships can bring people together, deliver specific support and, very importantly, demonstrate solidarity. Many foreign policy issues become more tangible and specific in city diplomacy.”
Since the beginning of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, the number of partnerships between German and Ukrainian cities, communities and districts has doubled to 184.
In October 2022, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky became the patrons of the network of municipal partnerships supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). These partnerships build bridges of understanding, of solidarity and of uncomplicated self-help, often in cooperation with other partner cities from Poland or France.
German municipalities have offered their partners in Ukraine impressive support since the beginning of the war, making more than 40 million euros available in financial and in-kind donations. The BMZ provides support for this work via the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) offers municipalities advisory services on questions related to providing material aid, transport, support funding and exchanges with other municipalities. Since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the BMZ has made available a total of roughly 26 million euros in funding for municipal partnerships. These funds are being used to support, for instance, municipalities and municipal utilities in their efforts to procure and ship generators and other aid items or advise Ukrainian waterworks and provide them with special equipment. Minister Schulze has now pledged an additional 15 million euros which are earmarked in particular for partnerships between municipal hospitals to fund upskilling or urgently needed medical devices for Ukrainian hospitals. Furthermore, the BMZ will support new partnerships between German federal states and Ukrainian regions.
The next international Ukraine Recovery Conference will be hosted in early June 2024 by Germany in cooperation with Ukraine. The conference will be putting a special focus on the role municipalities play in the reconstruction process.