The development of a vision for post-war recovery in Ukraine has already begun. The deoccupied regions have already started to rebuild, as people return to their homes and often to ruined infrastructure. For example, by the end of the year, 18 multi-apartment buildings are planned to be rebuilt in the Kyiv Oblast alone to provide housing for nearly four thousand people. Estonia plans to allocate 30 million euros over the next three years to rebuild the Zhytomyr Oblast. In Vorzel, near Kyiv, a French quarter is planned to be built. However, this work has been uncoordinated and chaotic.
Recently, the Ukrainian government made a decision on how the funds from the Fund for the Elimination of the Consequences of Armed Aggression will be used – it contains 52.5 billion UAH (1.29 billion euros) from the state budget for the repair and reconstruction of facilities damaged by russia. The document identifies the directions and conditions under which the funds will be allocated.
However, there are many questions that this document does not address. How will priority projects be selected, how will transparency in the use of these funds be ensured, and most important, how can we ensure that the reconstruction funded by this fund will meet modern standards, for example in energy efficiency in restored buildings?
Engagement of civil society organizations should help in the development of such policies. First and foremost, their participation is one of the cornerstones of transparent democratic processes. Furthermore, civil society will ensure that funds are used transparent, efficient, and sustainable projects. This is crucial not only for the country internally but also for foreign policy – adherence to these principles is necessary for European integration.
Therefore, the EU can play an important role in ensuring transparent and democratic financing of truly sustainable reconstruction. First and foremost, through the European integration processes, as in order to become full-fledged members of the EU, we need to bring all of our internal policies in line with European standards, including transparency and democracy. And the start of negotiations on EU accession can become a stimulus to make reconstruction transparent as well, so that both processes take place in parallel and help each other.
In addition, in May of last year, the European Commission announced a new mechanism for assisting Ukraine in reconstruction, for which funds will be allocated from the EU budget. Since in the EU, partnership of all stakeholders is one of the bases of regional policy, civil society organizations are usually involved in the development of local development programs and distribution of funds from the funds. International financial support for reconstruction in Ukraine should be provided based on these principles.
At the beginning of the year, the EU also launched a multilateral donor coordination platform – a platform where international donors and financial institutions can jointly plan their support for Ukraine’s recovery. Civil society is not currently involved in the work of this platform, but their participation can help direct support to the most sustainable projects that serve the interests of the people of Ukraine.
The text is based on the speech of Valeria Izhyk, the EU Coordinator for Bankwatch Network, at the event “The Role of Civil Society in Decision-Making During the Reconstruction of Ukraine” in European Parliament on March 8, 2023.
For more information please contact:
Oleksandra Khmarna, email@example.com