Kherson, Melitopol and 9 other Ukrainian cities are establishing cooperation with Swedish partners
The Swedish-Ukrainian forum, which is organized by the Cities4cities|United4Ukraine project in the framework of cooperation between the Institute of the City of the Lviv City Council and the Swedish Association of Local and Regional Authorities SALAR, began its work and is held on June 19-20. Mayors and their deputies from 11 Ukrainian municipalities are meeting their potential partners in Sweden for the first time.
The Ukrainian cities at the forum also include the recently de-occupied city of Kherson, the cities of Bila Tserkva, Kalush, Slobozhanske, Slavuta, Konotop, Zelenodolsk and Melitopol, which is still under occupation. Most of the Ukrainian communities represented at the forum have been seriously affected by the war – they were under russian occupation, suffered massive destruction of social and critical infrastructure due to missile attacks, hosted internally displaced persons and provided physical and psychological support to people with war traumas.
“Very few Swedish communities had a partner in Ukraine until today. We presented this idea to Swedish municipalities just a few months ago in Stockholm. Instantly, after that, we received a lot of requests to make friends with a Ukrainian community. Today there are 11 partnerships, but we are still receiving more and more requests from Sweden,”
Some of the communities, such as Slobozhanske and Vannas, have already come to a joint decision to sign a letter of intent for the development of long-term cooperation and share experience in the development of STEM education, household waste management and local economic development.
“The ultimate goal of the forum is not to sign official documents, but to develop specific actions to express solidarity with Ukraine and support the recovery process. This, first of all, concerns the support of expertise in urban planning because we want to help Ukraine to be rebuilt better in accordance with the best European and Swedish practices,”
Marta Suprun, an expert on international cooperation at Cities4cities|United4Ukraine, says that such partnerships open the door to European programs communities can apply to and receive support from.
Andrii Plakhotniuk, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Sweden, said that it is important that every Swedish city could find a partner in Ukraine. It is necessary to work at various levels of cooperation, including at the level of businesses, to strengthen the economy. For example, Swedish company IKEA has already re-opened its production facilities to Ukraine. Municipalities can stimulate the recovery and development of economic ties being so important today for reconstruction.
Swedish association SALAR is currently negotiating with the Swedish government program SIDA to expand cooperation between Sweden and Ukraine to support reconstruction. This was announced by Ryan Knox, executive director of SALAR International.
If you are looking for a partner municipality in Europe, contact the Сities4cities|United4Ukraine team. We establish connections between Ukrainian communities and European municipalities to build strong partnerships and support Ukraine’s aspirations for EU membership and post-war recovery.
Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine – partnership initiatives that joined their efforts in September 2022. The Cities 4 Cities platform was founded by the city of Sindelfingen (Germany) under the auspices of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. United 4 Ukraine was launched by SALAR International and the city of Lviv (Ukraine) with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).