Ukraine’s recovery must include cities

22 March 2024

City leaders have joined local and regional representatives from across Europe to call for a decentralised approach to Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction, which gives its cities, municipalities and regions the strong support they need to sustainably rebuild their communities.

In a new set of recommendations, the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, which includes Eurocities, urges the Ukrainian government to define the responsibilities and resources of the country’s local and regional governments, noting that they will need to be involved in the development and implementation of recovery policies.

The Alliance also calls for the further development of partnerships between European and Ukrainian cities and regions, to support the sustainable and “green reconstruction” of Ukraine, while empowering local authorities to implement recovery plans and actions.

The recommendations, which were drafted by EU and Ukrainian cities and regions, along with the Congress of the Council of Europe, were shared at the European Summit of Regions and Cities in Mons.

The leaders of cities and regions who presented the recommendations for a decentralised approach to Ukraine’s recovery

They were presented to Oleksandra Azarkhina, Ukraine’s deputy minister for communities, territories and infrastructure, and Georg Milbradt, Germany’s special envoy to Ukraine for decentralisation.

Germany will host the latest Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC) in June, at which the EU and G7 countries will organise their financial and practical support for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

Ahead of the conference, the German government has stated that restoring Ukrainian neighbourhoods will only be possible through the strong involvement of local governments, supported by the country’s regional and national levels of government.

Cities stand with Ukraine

The Alliance’s recommendations were presented just weeks after the EU finally approved its €50 billion Ukraine Facility, a four-year package of financial and technical support for Ukraine.

Eurocities and its members previously called for the facility to provide cities and municipalities with the financial autonomy, resources and technical assistance they need to rebuild sustainable infrastructure for local people.

Speaking at the summit, Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, said: “We stand with the people of Ukraine in the fight for freedom and dignity and democracy, which are our common European values.”

He added: “It is difficult to combine both reconstruction and military support in war time, but we must start now, because we must be ready for the end of the war. That’s why the Berlin conference is so important because we have the chance to implement this important Ukraine Facility plan.”

Mayor Nardella welcomed Vitali Klitschko, the Mayor of Kyiv, who he visited in Kyiv in August 2022, as part of a Eurocities delegation that expressed cities’ support for Ukraine.

Mayor Klitschko, who spoke via video link, stated: “Local governments and our people have a very important role in supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. Just in our city, hundreds of citizens have gone to the front line to defend our homeland, and it is exactly the same situation in every city and region across Ukraine.”

He continued: “But we are also focused on reconstruction because Russia destroyed many of our cities and regions, and we want to say thank you to everyone who is helping us. We are preparing a lot of projects for the future recovery of Ukraine and to be part of the European family.”

During the meeting, Mayor Nardella emphasised that partnerships between regions and cities remain crucial for both emergency assistance and to support longer-term capacity building in Ukraine. He also explained that city-to-city cooperation between Ukrainian and other European cities continue to be an important tool to prepare for a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

In particular, the Mayor highlighted an initiative recently launched by Eurocities and its members which is providing input into the local recovery plans of five cities in Ukraine. The goal is to enhance the strategic capacity of the Ukrainian cities to drive sustainable urban development and climate resilient plans, helping them to access funding and technical assistance for recovery projects.

Along with this project, Eurocities has also launched a crowdfunding initiative to address the urgent needs of cities such as Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih and Pavlohrad, in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine, which have suffered immense losses due to the impact of the Russian aggression.

Mayor Nardella added: “On the one hand, we have this big EU support plan through the Ukraine Facility, but on the other hand, we have this huge energy coming from the bottom up from cities, focused on city-to-city support.”

A roadmap for recovery

The Alliance’s set of 17 recommendations calls on the Ukrainian government to continue to strengthen local self-government. They make it clear that there must be a clearer roadmap back to the decentralisation process that had been started before Russia’s full-scale invasion.

They state the need for decentralisation in line with the European Charter of Local Self-Government, and for regional development to be aligned with the principles of the EU’s regional policy.

The recommendations also state that communities most affected by the war should receive priority financial support and be actively helped to join programmes and to develop in international partnerships.

The reintegration of veterans and people displaced by the war, as well as the de-mining and revitalisation of Ukraine’s economically vital rural areas, are two other specific priorities highlighted  by the Alliance.

Welcoming the recommendations, Serhii Morhunov, Mayor of the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, made it clear that the recovery process should support both those communities who continue to suffer from Russian attacks or occupation, and those whose economies, businesses and infrastructure have been severely impacted.

“It is really important for those communities to have the mechanism of experts who can support the strategic vision of local community’s recovery,” said Mayor Morhunov. “And we need more decentralisation of the projects that are being planned.”

He continued: “When we being our strategy for reconstructing and building resilience, we must definitely also focus on climate issues and the implementing sustainable infrastructure that benefits our people.”

Reflecting the united stance of all those city and regional leaders who signed the Alliance’s recommendations, Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, added: “I would like to reiterate our full solidarity with the brave Ukrainian people.”


The recommendations of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine are available in EnglishUkrainianGerman and French.

You can also watch the full video of discussions of the Ukraine panel at the European Summit of Regions and Cities. 

If you would like to contribute to Eurocities crowding funding campaign to support Ukraine’s  Dnipropetrovsk region, please get in touch with Eurocities at so we can connect you to the Ukrainian partners. 


Andrew Kennedy Eurocities Writer