Support for Ukraine

Syvicol    Support for Ukraine

Introduction

The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army on 24th of February 2022 has caused an unprecedented wave of indignation among local and regional authorities across Europe and beyond.

In its resolution, the SYVICOL committee strongly condemned this heinous aggression and called on all municipalities to show their solidarity and support for the Ukrainian people. Numerous municipalities did not hesitate to organise humanitarian aid for the suffering population as quickly as possible and according to the means at their disposal. However, the hostilities are still going on and the scale of the destruction is increasing. The need for support will therefore be long term.

At European level, several initiatives have been developed to support local authorities who wish to help the Ukrainian people in different ways.

On this page, SYVICOL wishes to share the information it has access to through its relations with various international organisations with its members. SYVICOL also collaborates with the Association of Ukrainian Cities and can establish contact between the latter and the Luxembourgish municipalities that wish to do so.

On this page you will also find inspiring initiatives of Luxembourg municipalities as well as some official information from the Luxembourgish authorities, and the contact details of several NGO’s.

This page will be regularly updated, so please do not hesitate to visit frequently.

Cities4Cities

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Launched in March this year, Cities4Cities is a free online exchange platform and communication tool developed to help Ukrainian cities. It allows local authorities from Ukraine and the rest of Europe to share their needs and offers of help with regards to local infrastructure as well as enabling them to get in contact to receive direct practical help.

The platform was launched at the initiative of Bernd Vöhringer, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and Mayor of the city of Sindelfingen (DE), with the support of the Congress.

Bernd Vöhringer explains that the need to coordinate support from local level became very clear after a visit from Sindelfingen's Polish twin city Chełm, located near the Ukrainian border, where he saw "the urgent need for support in terms of material, financial and human resources. The platform will be a place to match the requests/needs of Ukrainian cities with the capacities, know-how and offers of other European cities, and it will allow us to support our Ukrainian friends and partners faster and more efficiently."

To consult the requests for assistance or to apply for an offer of assistance (aid deliveries, food, transfer of knowledge, support for reconstruction measures), you just need to create a profile on the Cities4Cities platform. Please note that the platform managers have to accept and unlock each new profile, so you will need to be patient after creating your profile.

Each request or offer of help is linked to a contact person with an email address or a phone number. The platform recommends using English or Ukrainian (if necessary with the help of the standard translation tools) for emails and for making contact by phone, they recommend that people with appropriate language skills (preferably Ukrainian) make the calls.

For more information visit: https://www.cities4cities.eu/LandingPage/Index?ReturnUrl=%2F.

To contact the platform managers, contact: contact@cities4cities.eu.

An FAQ and a user guide for the platform can be downloaded below.

Camps for Ukrainian children

Ukraine summer camp Preili LV July 2022

During his participation in the 149th plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions in April, Vitaliy Klitschko, President of the Association of Ukrainian Cities and Mayor of Kiev, together with Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, launched an initiative to organise camps for Ukrainian children aged 6 to 17 in European cities and towns.

The project is aimed at children from the local Ukrainian communities most affected by the war, as well as the carers who accompany them. The overall aim is to create a space where young people can feel safe and regain a sense of normality through a balanced daily routine. Outdoor activities, sports and rehabilitation activities will be organised, personal development courses will enrich the knowledge of each child or young person and allow them to gain new experiences with a foreign language, while professional psychological support should be available in their mother tongue.

Camps last between one and a few weeks depending on the availability of local organisers. The costs of the children's stay, including travel and activities organised during the camp, are covered by the local or regional authority hosting the camp. The Association of Ukrainian Cities, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European host authorities, takes care of the administrative procedures necessary for the trip and the stay in the territory of the host community.

Luxembourg cities and municipalities interested in organising a camp can contact the CoR at SupportUkraine@cor.europa.eu.

A concept for organising camps for Ukrainian children and young people as well as frequently asked questions are available below.

Activities of international and european organisations

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Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)

CEMR is the broadest association of local and regional governments in Europe, bringing together the national associations of local and regional governments from 40 European countries, including SYVICOL.

On the day of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, it issued a statement strongly condemning the Russian attack on the sovereign state of Ukraine and underlining its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their local and regional governments.

In a circular letter dated 25th of February 2022, SYVICOL invited Luxembourg's local government officials to sign up to the initiative by filling in an online form - which more than 40 locally elected representatives have done so far - and to show their solidarity by other gestures, such as raising the Ukrainian flag.

CEMR has also set up a taskforce dedicated to Ukraine, which regularly meets online and of which SYVICOL is a member. It is an important platform for the exchange and consultation between associations of local governments, including the association of Ukrainian cities, providing first-hand information on the development of the situation and the needs of its members.

Finally, CEMR has set up a dedicated internet page dedicated to its activities in this area. It includes recommendations for activities to support Ukraine and good practices from municipalities in other European countries.

CoR

European Committee of the Regions

The CoR is the voice of regions and cities in the European Union. It consists of 329 members and alternates representing local and regional authorities from the 27 EU member States.

As early as 24th of February, through its President Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the CoR strongly condemned the invasion of Ukrainian territory and affirmed its solidarity with the Ukrainian cities bombed by the Russian aggressor. The committee expressed its readiness to support Ukrainian cities and regions by all available means. At the 9th Summit of Cities and Regions in Marseille on 3rd and 4th of March 2022, more than 2.000 regional and local representatives of the European Union representing over one million mayors, local and regional elected political leaders, adopted a declaration for a free Ukraine in Europe and launched a call for commitment through concrete humanitarian aid actions along the European borders, while reaffirming the CoR's unequivocal support for Ukrainian cities and regions that defend their territorial integrity.

This appeal was implemented by the CoR itself, which initially focused on humanitarian aid and the support of refugees. First of all, the CoR created a dedicated page on its website to address the most urgent needs, functioning as a relay point for requests for concrete assistance received from Ukrainian regional and local associations.

Then, on March 30th, an information and support platform was put online in order to offer concrete support to local and regional authorities in order to better respond to the humanitarian crisis both in Ukraine and in the host countries by facilitating the linking of needs and offers of assistance, as well as information on European funds. Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of the City of Kiev and President of the Association of Ukrainian Cities has also been granted honorary CoR membership.

On 27th of April, at its plenary session, the CoR sent a strong political message in the presence of several regional and local leaders of Ukraine, calling for severe sanctions against Russia, demanding the immediate release of Ukrainian mayors and civil servants abducted by the Russian occupation forces, and offering its support for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The CoR has also launched an initiative to organise camps for children and young people aged 6 to 17 to offer them the opportunity to be welcomed in European countries away from the torments of war (see above).

Seven days after the Member States' decision to grant Ukraine EU candidate status, which the CoR warmly welcomed, its leaders, together with associations representing Ukrainian cities and regions, launched the European Alliance for the Reconstruction of Ukraine with the aim of helping Ukrainian local and regional authorities to rebuild homes, schools, infrastructure and services destroyed by Russia since the beginning of its invasion. The Alliance will focus on reconstruction needs as part of the long-term support to Ukraine.

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Congress of local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRAE)

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRAE) is responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 46 member states. As the advocate for cities and regions, it promotes consultation and political dialogue between governments and local authorities. It also has the task of monitoring the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in Council of Europe member states.

After the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army on 24th of February 2022, the Council of Europe reacted quickly: as of 25th of February, after holding an exchange of views with the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers decided to suspend the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe, in accordance with Article 8 of its Statute. At an extraordinary meeting on 16th of March, the Committee of Ministers decided that the Russian Federation should cease to be a member of the Council of Europe with immediate effect.

Six days later, on 22nd of March, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities adopted a declaration condemning in the strongest terms the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and the Statute of the Council of Europe and calling on all local and regional authorities in Europe and beyond, to remain united and determined in their solidarity and support for the Ukrainian nation, its people and its authorities.

At the same time, the Congress supported the mayor of the City of Sindelfingen (DE), Bernd Vöhringer, to launch the Cities4Cities exchange platform to help Ukrainian cities. It allows local authorities in Ukraine and the rest of Europe to share their needs and offers related to local infrastructure and to get in direct contact to receive direct practical help.

Since then, the Congress set up a dedicated section of its website to the Russian Federation's war against Ukraine. It brings together international and European political declarations and examples of concrete actions to help Ukrainian cities and municipalities.

Examples of Luxembourg cities and municipalities

Commune de Strassen - Ukrainian House
 
Commune de Schengen - Sunnenhaus
 
Commune de Contern - Collection point
https://contern.lu/point-de-collecte-a-contern/ (Collection point in Contern closed since July 2)

Esch-sur-Alzette (LU) and Stryi (UA): on the way to the first Luxembourg-Ukrainian twinning

At its council meeting on 4th of March 2022, the municipal council of Esch-sur-Alzette adopted a resolution to support the Ukrainian people. A large basmount of humanitarian aid was collected with the help of the inhabitants and the many associations of the city. But politicians in Luxembourg’s southern capital went even further by giving the green light for a twinning with Stryi, a city of 60.000 inhabitants in Ukraine's western province of Lviv near the Polish and Slovak borders.

First and foremost, the twinning in question constitutes moral support or even a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the citizens of the city in question, but on top of that, it shows solidarity with the entire Ukrainian nation. Spared from armed conflict at the beginning of the war, the city of Stryi has been regularly victim of missile attacks since April because of its geographical location and the large number of refugees on their way to the EU who have sought refuge in Stryi. At one point, there were up to 200.000 refugees, which was an enormous challenge, especially in terms of accommodation and supplies.
 
At the initiative of Mr. Nicolas Zharov, president of the non-profit organization LUkraine, representing Ukrainians in Luxembourg, the college of mayors and deputy mayors welcomed a Ukrainian delegation on May 13th, which included Mr. Oleg Kanivets, mayor of the city of Stryi. On this occasion, the idea of a twinning between the two cities was born and the foundations for the first Luxembourg-Ukrainian twinning were laid. At the municipal council meeting on 17th of June, the political leaders of Esch-sur-Alzette approved the twinning and signed the twinning agreement with Stryi.
 
Mr Claude Radoux, municipal councillor for the City of Luxembourg and Honorary Consul of Ukraine in the Grand Duchy, was part of the delegation. He was especially impressed by the rapid implementation of the twinning: "We must congratulate above all the political leaders of Esch-sur-Alzette headed by the mayor Mr. Georges Mischo. We all hope that other municipalities will follow suit. For Mr Dan Codello, coordinator of the European and cross-border policy of Esch-sur-Alzette and in charge of the project, the twinning will help to multiply aid and is part of the solidarity and diversification programme of the town's existing twinning projects.
 
As a first step, it is planned to continue delivering humanitarian aid to Stryi, as large numbers of refugees continue to arrive in the city. However, the humanitarian assistance will be more targeted as soon as those responsible have defined their needs more accurately. Reconstruction aid in the post-war period was also a topic of discussion during the recent visit of a delegation from Stryi to the southern capital of Esch-sur-Alzette on July 12th.
 
Beyond that, the political leaders of the two cities wish above all to exchange and collaborate on the cultural and sporting level. Esch-sur-Alzette wants to put the focus on the project of a new sports arena. And on Stryi's side, the construction of a football academy for young talents was highlighted. An exchange of young players was envisaged in this context. Another topic that was the collaboration in the field of household waste management where Stryi can learn from the experience of the city of Esch-sur-Alzette.
 
The two parties agreed to the official signing of the twinning in October 2022. The signing will be done first in Stryi, then in Esch-sur-Alzette which currently has 12 twinnings.
 
 
On the twinning webpage of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) http://www.twinning.org/en/find_a_partner 59 Ukrainian cities are currently registered and looking for partners for twinning.
 
In addition, Mr Dan Codello (daniel.codello@villeesch.lu) and Mr Claude Radoux (https://www.ukraine.lu/ -  claude@radoux.lu) are at the disposal of those municipalities who would be interested in a twinning with a Ukrainian city or commune and are ready to advise and assist them in taking further steps.

NGO Contacts

Luxembourg Red Cross:
 
Caritas Luxembourg:
 
LUkraine - Ukrainian Community Luxembourg:
 
ASTI a.s.b.l.:
 

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