A joint assessment by the Government of Ukraine, the World Bank Group, the European Commission and the UN released in March 2023 estimated the cost of reconstruction and recovery at USD 411 billion. As the destruction of the war continues, UNECE is stepping up its support in preparation for recovery and reconstruction in Ukraine’s urban areas.
Housing affordability: a key challenge
Ukraine is suffering from an acute lack of affordable and decent housing due to significant damage and destruction to its housing stock (with damage estimated at USD 54 billion and 18,600 apartment buildings damaged or destroyed by May 2023). This is compounded by the need to house over 5 million Internally Displaced Persons.
In response, UNECE is supporting the Ministry of Recovery in the development of housing legislation, working together with the Ministerial Working Group to draft a law on the fundamentals of the state housing policy. In particular, UNECE is supporting the preparation of the law by mobilizing senior government experts from across the pan-European region through its Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management. Thanks to this process, the draft law has already benefited from policy advice and practical examples tailored to the needs of Ukraine from countries including Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Albania. In 2023-2024, UNECE will also assist the Ministry in developing a draft law on cooperative housing.
"We are committed to pioneering modern housing solutions that adhere to international human rights standards, drawing inspiration from the best practices and European experience”, stated Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure, Ms. Natalia Kozlovska. “The Government of Ukraine is unwavering in its dedication to fostering sustainable development within housing policy and urban planning. Our collaboration includes vital support from initiatives like the United Nations for Ukrainian Cities project. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your invaluable contributions in crafting master plans for Ukrainian cities and eagerly anticipate continued cooperation. Together, we aim to revitalize affected communities and bolster the Government's pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals."
UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean stated: “There is no time to lose in addressing Ukraine’s current acute housing needs and to support the government’s long-term plans for affordable and sustainable housing at the heart of urban reconstruction efforts. Bringing together countries’ expertise to foster cooperation on urban development is one of UNECE’s core areas of work, and we stand fully committed to supporting Ukraine’s efforts in this respect.”
Reconstruction support continues
This builds on UNECE support since April 2022 to develop a reconstruction master plan for the city of Kharkiv and from July 2022 for Mykolaiv. Damage to date in Kharkiv - including to housing, critical infrastructure, administrative buildings, social infrastructure - amounts to an estimated USD 9 billion; while the Kyiv school of Economics has estimated overall damage to Mykolaiv’s infrastructure at over €852m. Since June 2023, the UN4UkrainianCities project - implemented with the support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ - is helping to further develop master plan concepts, city development strategies and formulate specific pilot projects in areas such as housing refurbishment and new construction, cultural heritage, innovation neighbourhoods, industry, environment and urban transport. The project will further assist with bringing on board donors and investors to support pilot project implementation, and in distributing information on urban development plans among European countries and others for new partnerships on city reconstruction and recovery.
New investment tracking tool to aid transparency
Taking its assistance further, UNECE presented last week to the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management a prototype of the Municipal Investment Tracker developed under the UN4UkrainianCities project. This innovative online tool aims to help attract, monitor and manage funds for selected cities’ reconstruction projects, supporting ‘matchmaking’ for local authorities and potential investors, and facilitating reconstruction project management. Its primary benefits will be transparency, accountability, and resource allocation, which should together contribute to Ukraine’s efforts to tackle corruption as a key foundation for a sustainable reconstruction process.
In addition to the cities of Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, the investment tracker will also be piloted by the smaller urban areas of Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv (with a population of around 65,000) and Borodianka, situated around 50km west of the capital (with some 14,000 inhabitants), which both sustained significant casualties and suffered severe bombing and other damages.
In Irpin, 76% of infrastructure has been destroyed, according to city authorities, making it one of the most significant devastations of residential and civil infrastructure among populated areas in the Kyiv region. The total number of damaged and destroyed infrastructure objects amounts to 7,204 units, including 3,247 residential properties. More than 16,358 residents of Irpin have been left without shelter. An estimated USD 1 billion is needed for reconstruction.
In Borodianka, 1,534 of 9,969 buildings have been destroyed – of which 1,147 residential buildings and outbuildings, 148 industrial buildings and constructions. Estimated damages include USD 24.4 million to social infrastructure, USD 6.6 million to healthcare and education facilities, USD 13.1 million to commercial buildings, USD 21.4 million to industrial infrastructure, and USD 7.6 million to administrative infrastructure. Total damage in the city is estimated at USD 148.4 million.
The prototype is now being discussed with pilot cities and other stakeholders.
Looking ahead, the UN4UkrainianCities project will develop, jointly with the Ministry and participating cities, an online platform containing a Toolbox of resources to support reconstruction. It will also support an assessment of the socio-economic impact of the war on Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, and conduct capacity-building activities tailored to specific needs of the cities, including thematic workshops for national and local governments.