The war in Ukraine has left nearly 1.5 million homes destroyed, with a staggering $411 billion needed for reconstruction and recovery. A recent Human Impact Assessment (HIA) reveals that 65% of households have seen a decline in income since February 2022. It is imperative now to work towards rebuilding, with a strong commitment to the principle of "building back better", in order to revitalize local economies and communities.
In the context of the UN4UkrainianCities project led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), a pivotal inception mission took place in Ukraine from 4-8 September 2023. High-level discussions were held at the Ukrainian Parliament and the Ministry of Restoration of Ukraine.
The UN4UkrainianCities project is developing long-term Master Plans to support the rebuilding efforts in the cities of Kharkiv and Mykolaiv. This project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), aims to support the national, regional and local governments of Ukraine in their efforts to plan a phased urban recovery that links emergency and long-term strategic objectives. The project kicked off on 5 June 2023, at the UNECE headquarters in Geneva.
During the recent mission, a meeting with Ms. Olena Shulyak, Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee, took place where she affirmed her Committee's solid support for the UNECE project activities. She highlighted several pressing challenges faced by the local communities, including demining and the efficient management of debris and construction waste. These issues will be integral components of the cities' reconstruction blueprint.
Ms. Nataliia Kozlovska, Vice-Minister of the Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, discussed with UNECE the development of legislation to underpin Ukraine's future housing policy. Ms. Kozlovska emphasized the critical need for a robust legal framework to guarantee accessible and quality housing for all Ukrainians. She commended the efforts of UNECE to showcase best practices in housing governance and management from other European cities, describing sound approaches as crucial in shaping and implementing new laws.
UNECE conducted on-site assessments in Borodyanka and Irpin, witnessing first-hand the challenges that the reconstruction processes will entail. In addition, the team examined the social rental housing initiative in Boryspil, led by the State Fund for the Promotion of Youth Housing Construction of Ukraine.
The mission concluded with a project briefing for the United Nations agencies operating in Ukraine. Discussions on strengthening collaboration were held with key entities, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and other stakeholders.
About the UN4UkrainianCities initiative:
Since April 2022, at the request of the Ministry for Communities, Territories Development and Infrastructure of Ukraine, UNECE has taken the lead in coordinating the UN4Kharkiv and UN4Mykolaiv initiatives. These initiatives are facilitating the planning of urban reconstruction of Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, two cities in Ukraine that have been significantly affected by the war. The UN4Kharkiv and UN4Mykolaiv Task Forces, coordinated by UNECE and bringing together 16 United Nations entities and international organizations, have so far supported the work of international and Ukrainian architects, engineers and other experts in the development of the reconstruction Master Plans for the two cities. The initial preparatory work was carried out from 2022 until June 2023.
Scaled-up under the broader UN4UkrainianCities initiative, the support between June 2023 and the end of 2024 will take this work forward with a view to “operationalize” the reconstruction efforts after the end of the war and to facilitate investments in sustainable urban infrastructure. These efforts will help the cities to “build back better” following a balanced, evidence-based, participatory approach that links emergency and long-term strategic objectives.