18:19 12.04.2024

More than 400 representatives of local self-government of European cities discussed issues of cooperation at the 5th International Summit of Mayors

4 min read
More than 400 representatives of local self-government of European cities discussed issues of cooperation at the 5th International Summit of Mayors

Representatives of local governments from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, USA, Sweden, Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, Great Britain, Germany and other countries discussed cooperation and security issues during the International Summit of Mayors in Chisinau on Thursday.

Founded in Ukraine, the International Summit of Mayors, organized by the American Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), this year, for the first time in the eight years of the project, the summit was held abroad - in Moldova, with the support of the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu. A total of 480 participants took part, including 60 Ukrainian mayors and heads of communities.

"European integration is the only way to ensure the prosperity of communities in Moldova, Ukraine and the European region. And the work on the transformation of the country should be done in cooperation with local communities," emphasized Moldovan President Maia Sandu, opening the summit.

WNISEF CEO Dennis Johnson said that the summit is a communication platform that will help "to improve existing partnerships and create new ones, in order to improve the quality of life of community residents".

With a common border of almost 1000 km, Ukraine and Moldova are not just neighboring countries, but strategic partners. Today, Ukraine and Moldova are working together towards European Union membership, addressing security issues and striving to make their communities more sustainable and successful.

Iryna Ozimok, founder of the International Summit of Mayors and Head of Local Economic Development at WNISEF, noted that it is very important to show measures what opportunities the EU offers, to teach communities how to work with the EU tools. Among the participants of the summit were representatives of the European Commission Directorate General for Regional and Local Policy, European Investment Bank, URBACT project, measures of cities from EU countries, who told about economic and social effects of the projects realized with the help of partners.

"In today's global world, mayors are not just managers who are temporarily hired to run cities. They are agents of change, visionaries working to create sustainable, competitive and happy places to live. This is not an easy task and for Ukrainian mayors it becomes even more difficult in the conditions of war", - Ozimok noted.

In addition, Iryna Ozimok announced the launch of the study "Poles of Growth" from the International Summit of Mayors, WNISEF, CIVITTA and EasyBusiness.

The study aims to identify effective tools for economic growth for Ukrainian cities, proposals for better regional planning with local specifics, as well as approaches for rapid development of depressed regions of Ukraine. The concept of "growth poles" was first applied in France as a tool for recovery after World War II.

"This is an approach (the concept of growth poles) when large centers, such as big cities, help weaker, smaller communities. In essence, it is a continuation of the concept of decentralization, synergy of communities," Ozimok explained to Interfax-Ukraine.
Today this concept is successfully applied in more than 45 countries of the world.

During the summit, ten pairs of cities were also awarded with a special sign "The Power of Partnership" for their joint projects in the field of humanitarian aid, cultural exchange, education, infrastructure, etc. The partnerships of the following cities were recognized with such an award: Mykolaiv (Ukraine) and Chelm (Poland), Vinnytsia (Ukraine) and Karlsruhe (Germany), Khmelnytskyi (Ukraine) and Siauliai (Lithuania), Ciechanów (Poland) and Czortkow (Ukraine) and Caravaggio (Italy), Kopychyntsi (Ukraine) and Liskeard (UK) and Cavarzere (Italy), Bilogorodka (Ukraine) and Tiresche (Sweden), Danceni (Moldova) and Filippesti de Pedure (Romania), Edintsi (Moldova) and Alba Iulia (Romania), Bechoi (Moldova) and Oradea (Romania), Sereti (Moldova) and Tulucesti (Romania).

Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), funded by the U.S. government through USAID, is the first $285 million regional private equity fund in Ukraine and Moldova. In 29 years of regional operations, WNISEF has invested more than $188 million in 136 companies and helped raise $2.4 billion.