SUN4Ukraine kicks off journey towards Ukrainian climate-neutral cities

11 June 2024

Beginning in May 2024, the Horizon Europe SUN4Ukraine project aims to assist Ukrainian cities in aligning their reconstruction plans with ambitious climate neutrality objectives.

With Ukraine’s commitment to climate action demonstrated by the signing of its Environmental Security and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2022, alongside its aspirations for EU membership and a strong resolve to integrate reconstruction efforts with reforms aimed at its EU integration, SUN4Ukraine emerges as the platform to advance the climate neutrality ambitions of Ukrainian cities.

Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to advance towards climate neutrality by 2060 have been disrupted by Russia’s war of aggression in 2022. The goals for Ukraine’s post-war recovery include the alignment of reconstruction efforts with climate goals. With an estimated recovery cost of €452.8 billion, the country needs a comprehensive strategy centred on cities as leaders of transformative change.

Cities play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality, the goal of the European Green Deal. Responsible for over 65% of global energy consumption and more than 70% of CO2 emissions, their role in climate mitigation is crucial.

Cities’ shift towards a greener future will not only benefit the environment, but also have a positive impact on citizens through sustainable transport, energy efficient buildings, circular economy practices, and sustainable food systems.

European cities have united in solidarity to help their Ukrainian counterparts, led by the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine.

At the forefront of this effort is the SUN4Ukraine consortium, possessing a wealth of expertise and direct connections to the EU Cities Mission and NetZeroCities, currently managing the Cities Mission Platform. With a broad network spanning cities and regions, the consortium will foster collaboration between Mission Cities and their Ukrainian counterparts to reach climate-neutrality.

Sustainable Urban Net Zero Network for Ukraine (SUN4Ukraine) is a four-year project whose overarching objective is to associate Ukrainian cities with cities that are part of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. SUN4Ukraine will assist Ukrainian cities with designing Climate Neutrality Plans and integrating these plans into their reconstruction strategies, providing technical support and a tailored capacity building programme.

The consortium, comprising organisations from across the EU and Ukraine, will select ten Ukrainian frontrunner cities committed to climate-neutral urban planning reconstruction. A Capacity Building programme structured around three tracks – Foundation, Twinning, and Replication – will kickstart the journey towards climate neutrality for these ten Ukrainian frontrunner cities.

Through workshops, twinning with EU Mission Cities, and mentoring sessions, cities will gain vital insights and support. The programme, designed by the multidisciplinary SUN4Ukraine consortium, will use a variety of learning formats and leverage collective expertise from organisations across the EU and Ukraine. It aims to reinforce city capacities in climate-neutral urban planning, citizen engagement, and governance models while facilitating knowledge exchange with EU counterparts.

Gathering 13 partners from 10 countries, SUN4Ukraine is coordinated by Eurocities, the largest network of European cities, with over 200 large cities among their membership, representing more than 150 million people across 38 countries, from within and outside the European Union. SUN4Ukraine builds upon the expertise of its partners, leveraging their extensive experience and network across the EU and Ukraine.

The SUN4Ukraine project partners are Eurocities, Energy Cities Association, ARUP, Council of European Municipalities and Regions, LGI Sustainable Innovation, Ro3kvit Urban Coalition for Ukraine, Center for environmental initiatives “Ecoaction”, The Democratic Society Aisbl, Kyiv School of Economics, Demos Research Institute Helsinki, Cedos think tank, Association of Ukrainian Cities, and Climate-KIC Holding B.V.

The project’s associate partner is the United Nations Development Programme.

The SUN4UKRAINE project has received funding from the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.


Andrew Kennedy Eurocities Writer