Civil society organisations in Ukraine have been playing a crucial role since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion and escalation in February 2022. They have been central in providing humanitarian and medical assistance, helping those fleeing the country, documenting atrocities and war crimes, reporting environmental and cultural heritage destruction, as well as organising the spread of independent information and access to vital services.
In May 2022, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced ‚RebuildUkraine‘, the platform for the reconstruction of Ukraine. ‘RebuildUkraine’ is led by both the Commission and the Ukrainian government with support from like-minded partners, such as EU countries and financial institutions. As civil society, we welcome the setting up of ‘RebuildUkraine’. However, what is absent from the set-up of ‘RebuildUkraine’ is a role for Ukrainian and European civil society.
Ukrainian civil society organisations and some of the European networks have already pointed in an open letter to the European Commission that the success ‘RebuildUkraine’ is fully dependent on its real ownership by the Ukrainian people. A close involvement of non-governmental organisations, both on the EU and Ukrainian sides, will help increase the transparency and accountability of how EU public funds are distributed and spent. European and Ukrainian civil society are ready to share their experience and to channel the voices of those active on the ground to contribute to the rapid reconstruction of Ukraine and to a bright future for a strong, democratic, resilient, equitable and sustainable Ukraine within the EU.
We call on the European Commission to: Guarantee a clear role and functions within the governance of ‚RebuildUkraine‘, including meaningful consultations and an official observer status in all deliberations, for European civil society organisations, networks and trade unions, as well as Ukrainian civil society and municipalities. Read more about our Statement – signed by more than 150 European and Ukrainian civil society organisations ‚European Commission must guarantee a meaningful role for civil society in RebuildUkraine‘ – Published during the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Lugano (on 5 July 2022) here.
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