The Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Jan Jambon, and representatives of ESTDEV recently reconvened their discussion regarding their joint contribution to aid and reconstruct Ukraine.
ESTDEV’s and Flanders’ current project to empower local governments in Mariupol and Mykolaiv turned to a need to provide humanitarian aid, upon Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine in February 2022. Now, a current priority in seaside cities like Mykolaiv is to clear submerged mines from the coast, a job that demands task-specific gear such as diving suits. Thanks to their quick action, Flanders and ESTDEV assure that this aid package will be sent directly to Mykolaiv so that this endeavor may begin as urgently as it is needed.
In addition to providing humanitarian aid, ESTDEV and the Flanders government seek to support the reconstruction of Mykolaiv in response to the city’s other dire needs.
Oleksandr Syenkevych, mayor of Mykolaiv, joined the meeting via video call to describe areas most critical to the safety and wellbeing of residents: Mykolaiv’s water and electricity lines lay destroyed by Russian aggression, and the nearly half of the city’s residents who have remained to continue their lives in the war-torn city are still waiting for relief.
ESTDEV believes that Estonian expertise in digital and national reform will be a great asset to Mykolaiv’s rapid recovery.
“ESTDEV has long standing experience in Ukraine, and has built rapport with many contacts in its municipalities, all of which has been invaluable as our Flanders partners operate with us in Ukraine. In addition to mitigating war damage, multi-party projects like these invest in Ukraine’s necessary reforms as they work to join the European Union,” explained Eva-Maria Liimets, ESTDEV’s Strategy Advisor.
Estonia, Mykolaiv, and Flanders share a unique feature: they are all coastal, maritime-dependent communities. This shared reality has brought them together, in shared understanding and empathy. At the meeting, all parties agreed to continue to champion the reconstruction and reformation of Ukraine, with cooperation from the city of Mykolaiv. New joint projects will be developed in the coming year.
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ESTDEV – Estonian Centre for International Development is a state foundation that organises and coordinates Estonia’s participation in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid programs with the aim of increasing Estonia’s contribution to global security and sustainable development.