“In wartime, city diplomacy can be a useful tool for channelling multilevel responses and fostering inter-municipal solidarity,” writes Marta Galceran Vercher in this article written for the CIDOB international affairs research centre. “The Generators of Hope campaign, launched by Eurocities and the European Parliament, in which European cities are donating a large number of electric generators to their Ukrainian counterparts is an example of the pragmatic and efficient exercise of inter-municipal solidarity,” she remarks.
Indeed, over the course of this winter, European cities, and others, have contributed to sending hundreds of much needed electric power generators to Ukraine – with support coming from as far afield as Taiwan and Japan, and including collaborations with private enterprises, collections by residents in European cities and supplies of other provisions and aid.
Nuremberg, for example, sent over 30 generators to Eurocities member city Kharkiv, as well as transferring over €3 million through private collections. The generators include several for use in hospitals, as well as five that are part of heatable tents. These tents have been used by the population of Kharkiv to warm up, drink tea and charge their mobile phones, for instance.
In line with its wholehearted commitment to its twin city @Kyiv, @StadtMuenchen endorses the #GeneratorsOfHope campaign initiated jointly by the @Europarl_EN and @EUROCITIES. #CitiesWithUkraine
Donations >>> https://t.co/GdrxWDH6s5 https://t.co/pYqpp31kcb pic.twitter.com/4rXOSkmEAW
— Stadt München (@StadtMuenchen) February 14, 2023
Meanwhile, an additional 40 generators were sent by Berlin, as well as many more from Munich, both of which have been actively supporting their sister cities in Ukraine throughout the past fifteen months.
The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa participated jointly in the Generators of Hope campaign by collecting and sending both new and used generators and equipment for heating. A collection that was open to everyone in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area from 30 January to 10 February amassed nearly 120 aggregates, generators, heaters and other equipment that was sent to Ukraine.
This was all sent to Ukraine in March via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in cooperation with the National Emergency Supply Agency, following the suggested delivery method through the Generators of Hope campaign to make sure all the equipment ends up in the right places in Ukraine.
“The cities also donated equipment themselves, but the collection result would not have been nearly as impressive without the other contributors. Every donation will help those in distress in Ukraine, and we warmly thank all those who participated,” commented Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki, along with Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor of Espoo and Ritva Viljanen, Mayor of Vantaa.
More recently, Tampere sent an additional 33 generators and €40,000 to Kyiv.
Timișoara has joined the ‘’Generators of Hope’’ campaign and we will send 4 generators for Ukraine.
From the beginning of the war, the people of Timișoara have shown solidarity with Ukraine and we will continue to do so.@EP_President @EUROCITIES
Timișoara stands with 🇺🇦 ! pic.twitter.com/XpyqUnL3P5
— Dominic Fritz (@DominicFritzTM) April 12, 2023
Since the beginning of the war, people across Europe have shown solidarity with Ukraine and, as indicated by Dominic Fritz, Mayor of Timisoara, which contributed four generators, there is a strong will to continue to do so.
The over 500 generators, and thousands of items of other equipment sent to Ukraine via Generators of Hope – only a few examples of which are mentioned here – add to the massive hauls of similar goods sent by national agencies; all of which aim to answer the direct call of Ukrainians to support their ongoing efforts.
Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine this city-to-city unity has proven invaluable in other ways, not least in the reception of refugees. The desire of people and cities to help out counterparts across borders will continue to be vital in the sustainable rebuilding efforts of Ukraine, and similar structures are now being set up to support Turkey following its recent earthquake that devastated many cities.
Main image credit: Jyri Huhtala, City of Vantaa