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UNECE and partners renew commitment to Kharkiv reconstruction at Ukraine Recovery Conference, calling for greater support    

UNECE and partners renew commitment to Kharkiv reconstruction at Ukraine Recovery Conference, calling for greater support    

Kharkiv recovery event_ Ukraine Recovery Conference

Kharkiv, the second most populous city in Ukraine situated just 30 km from the Russian border, is among the urban areas most affected by the war and the target of renewed shelling over the last weeks.  

According to its Mayor, Ihor Terekhov, 150,000 of the approximately 1.3 million people in the city are today without housing. Since the beginning of the war, approximately 9,000 houses have been destroyed, along with 110 kindergartens and 130 schools (half of all schools in the city), all thermal power plants and transformer substations, 88 medical institutions, and 185 buildings in the social sphere.  

As governments, international, regional and local actors gather in Berlin for the Ukraine Recovery Conference, UNECE and partners convened high-level talks to renew commitment to supporting Kharkiv, bringing together the Ukrainian government, UN agencies, Mayors from cities including Nurnberg and Berlin, donors and international partners. 

Mayor Terekhov said “after the invasion, our goals, plans and lives changed. But we are standing and will continue to stand. We have a challenge to rebuild back better our city and we are looking for assistance. I’m very thankful to all of you. I believe with our joint effort we will be able to rebuild our cities.” 

Recalling that UNECE was among the first partners to collaborate with the city on long-term reconstruction planning following the start of the war against Ukraine, Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean laid out plans to scale up work though the UNECE-led UN4UkrainianCities initiative, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and supported by GIZ GmbH. This work builds on the vision masterplan developed by the Norman Foster Foundation in partnership with Kharkiv City Council and local and national stakeholders. 

These efforts will be reinforced by a Comprehensive Recovery Program and Recovery Plan for Kharkiv, coupled with an economic strategy developed with experts from Harvard and Oxford Universities. In addition, architecture competitions are mobilizing international and local talent for the redesigning of residential and public administration buildings in the city with a view to supporting reconstruction at scale once the war is over. 

“UNECE is steadfast in its commitment to support the City of Kharkiv and the broader urban recovery efforts of the government of Ukraine, mobilizing the best international expertise in cooperation with Ukrainian and local stakeholders. But it is clear that much greater financial and technical support is needed to ensure the continuation of activities and to scale up assistance in line with the continuing devastation in urban areas of Ukraine”, said Ms. Molcean. 

She further outlined ongoing efforts to showcase projects to donors and investors through the development of an investment tracker, which will enhance transparency and the fight against corruption in the recovery process.  

According to Mayor Terekhov, approximately USD 10 billion will need to be mobilized for the future reconstruction of the city.  

UNECE is extending support at the national level to draft a new housing policy law, expected to be submitted to parliament in July 2024, and to assist in the development of another two draft laws on housing stock management and rental housing. This cooperation also covers the development of Ukraine’s Urban Cadastre, mobilizing an international advisory expert group.  

“UN4UkrainianCities, where BMZ cooperates with UNECE, is a programme that looks at Kharkiv recovery from different angles, that combines long-term planning with a very practical short-term pilot support”, said Volker Oel, Director Eastern Europe, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany. 

In Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, for which cooperation has also resulted in the development of a masterplan developed by the OneWorks Foundation, additional pilot projects will focus on transforming industrial sectors, reimagining river corridors, retrofitting Soviet-era housing, and designing new residential districts. Economic studies will identify post-conflict recovery opportunities, while capacity building for national and local representatives will enhance skills in sustainable urban development and project implementation. These efforts will be bolstered by the development of an online toolbox for city reconstruction. Support to Mykolaiv also includes the development of comprehensive demographic scenarios in partnership with Politecnico di Milano. During the Ukraine Recovery Conference, UNECE will also present the Mayor of Mykolaiv with the “Concept Masterplan: Vision and Strategic Proposal”, the second phase on the concept masterplan development. 

Denise Brown, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, said "Kharkiv is once again facing relentless attacks, devastating lives and civilian infrastructure in a region already ravaged by the war. Humanitarian assistance remains essential, serving as a lifeline for its people, at the same time as the journey towards recovery begins. The economy needs to be restored, houses must be rebuilt and essential services must be provided. Humanitarian aid and recovery efforts will have to co-exist. The UN is committed to supporting the people of Kharkiv, ensuring they receive urgent aid now and the necessary support to recover from the war's devastation". 

The Kharkiv Recovery event was organized by the city of Kharkiv and with the support of UNECE, Housing Initiative for Eastern Europe and the city of Berlin. 

Notes to editors  

About the UN4UkrainianCities initiative  

UNECE has been supporting the city of Kharkiv and the government of Ukraine since the start of the war to prepare for urban reconstruction efforts and to address housing challenges. Building on its extensive experience in supporting Ukraine’s urban development, housing and land management, the government invited UNECE to lead the UN4Kharkiv Task Force. Since April 2022 upon the request of the Mayor of Kharkiv, preparations have been underway to develop a masterplan for the post-war rebuilding of the city, with support of the Norman Foster Foundation. Since July 2022, UNECE is also working to support the city of Mykolaiv.  

Building on this work, in July 2023, UNECE launched the UN4UkrainianCities project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and supported by GIZ GmbH. UNECE is supporting Ukraine's Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine to update the national housing and urban planning laws and policy framework and developing an online toolbox for city reconstruction. Support also includes formulating pilot projects for the restoration of Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, international architectural competitions for reconstruction projects, and ongoing efforts to identify investors and the development of an investment tracker. 

Countries: Ukraine

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