Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
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Bridges of Trust

Decentralised cooperation - 08.12.2021

Stronger together: 6 EU and Ukrainian municipalities join forces to tackle common challenges
Decentralised cooperation: it’s not just a phrase, but the reality of local governments coming together to tackle concrete problems. Six municipalities from Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Estonia met last month to kick-start their partnerships as part of the CEMR-PLATFORMA project Briges of Trust. The communities discussed possibilities for future cooperation in a wide variety of areas, including business and investment, tourism and cultural heritage.

On 8 November 2021, the cities of Kakhovka (Ukraine) and Narva (Estonia) held their first meeting online. Kakhovka is located in the south of Ukraine on the banks of the Kakhovka reservoir, formed by the city’s hydroelectric dam. Narva, Estonia’s third-largest city, is on the lower reaches of the Narva River on the border with Russia.

These two communities face a number of common challenges, including developing social support infrastructure for aging populations, loss of young talent to emigration and the need to attract investment. The municipalities will engage in joint activities and knowledge exchange to find solutions to these problems.

Fostering tourism in mountainous regions

On 10 November, officials from the Polish spa town of Polanica-Zdrój and the Ukrainian mountain resort of Polyanytsya presented their communities and discussed joint areas for cooperation and exchange of best practices.

The similarities between the two communities are not limited to their names. Both are popular tourist destinations located in mountainous regions. They share similar challenges in terms of improving tourist infrastructure, nature protection and waste management. In addition, Polyanytsya would like to improve sewage and water management systems as well as attract additional funding for local development.

Capitalising on culture

On 12 November, a productive exchange took place between Chuhuyiv, a district capital in eastern Ukraine, and the Latvian city of Kuldiga. The two communities are interested in business cooperation and promotion of art and culture. Both want to preserve and promote their rich historical heritage and are putting citizens at the centre of their activities.

Kuldiga, a former Hanseatic city, is implementing a programme to preserve the authenticity of its old town, aiming to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Chuhuyiv, birthplace of the reknowned realist painter Ilya Repin, holds the annual International Repin Plein Air painting event, which has become a meeting place for artists from across Europe.

The partners will continue to develop their cooperation through a series of online meetings. In spring and summer 2022, the Ukrainian municipalities will visit their EU partners to learn best practices and apply them in their own communities.


Stanislav Taran
Project Officer - International Partnerships (U-Lead)

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Tel : +32 2 842 67 74
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Bridges of Trust is implemented by CEMR and PLATFORMA, and is funded by the U-LEAD with Europe programme, a multi-donour action of the European Union and its member states Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Slovenia. The aim of the initiative is to develop the capacities of municipalities in Ukraine and the EU by building sustainable municipal partnerships.
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