Swedish municipalities interested in partnership with Ukrainian counterparts

This year, the international day of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) in Stockholm was dedicated to Ukraine. 49 Swedish municipalities and regions working on the mechanisms that could assist Ukraine and especially on what role municipalities and regions can play in the reconstruction of the country. The Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine initiative, which helps establish long-term partnerships between Ukrainian and European communities, was presented at the event.

“Being here at the international days of SALAR International and listening to Swedish municipalities I can feel there is a real desire and willingness to support Ukrainian communities”. — says Ryan Knox, SALAR International director.

According to Magnus Liljeström, SALAR senior adviser, one of the reasons why Swedish local governments seek to cooperate with Ukrainian ones is the latter’s experience in crisis management and, in particular, in the field of civil defense. Another reason is the willingness to support one specific community and its people and to see specific results.

At the same time, Ukrainian communities could use the expertise of European partners in reconstruction and urban planning.

“Swedish communities can help us fight the consequences of the Russian invasion, help us create such conditions under which people will be happy to come back home after our victory. There must be communication between municipalities because it will let Ukrainians see the accessibility, inclusiveness, architecture, and democratic principles with their own eyes”, — says Oleksandr Korinnyi, chairman of the All-Ukrainian Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities and mayor of the Novoukrainka community.

Immediately during the event, the headsof two communities – the Ukrainian Novoukrainka community and the Swedish Hörby municipality – expressed their interest in cooperation and took the first steps to establish a bilateral partnership.

Hörby municipality has already got the experience of cooperation with municipalities of Poland, Finland and Kosovo and is eager to launch a partnership with Ukraine.

“The way Ukrainians are responding to challenges, their bravery, pride, values and zeal with which they are fighting for their country are incredible, and it is something worth supporting to restore integral Ukraine”, — says head of Swedish Municipality.

The Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine initiative is designed to establish long-term partnerships between Ukrainian and European communities and to promote decentralization.

“The aim of the initiative is to present brave and resistant Ukrainian communities to the world ,and to inspire European communities to cooperate with them. That is why we are planning a separate forum of Swedish-Ukrainian cooperation for municipalities in Stockholm. We are going to invite Ukrainian and Swedish communities that are ready to establish partnerships to let them get to know each other and plan their first projects. The dates of the forum and the registration details will be announced soon”, — says Svitlana Blinova, Cities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine project coordinator.

The Сities 4 Cities | United 4 Ukraine initiative was launched by SALAR International in cooperation with the cities of Lviv (Ukraine) and Sindelfingen (Germany). The project is implemented with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Strategic partners of the initiative are the All-Ukrainian Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities and the Association of Cities of Ukraine.