The European Union (EU), together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, has launched the new Mayors for Economic Growth Facility (M4EG) in Ukraine. The facility aims to boost equitable and green development in the Eastern Partnership region. The facility, which is expected to run until 2024, will encourage local authorities in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - to use innovative development methods that are both fair to all, and friendly to the environment.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the problems that cities met have become more pronounced, and mayors worldwide face the compounding effect of dwindling resources and the cascading effects of the pandemic across the social, economic and cultural lives of their cities. The new pandemic conditions exacerbate the uncertainty that local authorities and people in the region face.
“Support to economic development, local economies and entrepreneurship has been at the core of the EU assistance. This programme is well-set to make municipalities more inclusive, more sustainable and more innovative to address the social and economic needs of their businesses and citizens”, said Chloé Allio, Head of Section Operations – Economic Cooperation, Energy, Infrastructure and Environment, EU Delegation to Ukraine.
Cities in the network will benefit from training and knowledge exchange activities focused on the development of innovative growth strategies that are highly contextualized and build on local ecosystems. This will entail support in developing a new generation of local economic development plans (LEDPs), strategic thinking and building urban resilience. Local authorities will benefit from new capabilities and access to funding, including the upcoming Annual Portfolio Call for Interests and Annual Innovation Call for Proposals.
“Local authorities will benefit from new capabilities and access to funding to address issues related to economic recovery after the crisis – building forward better and greener, as well as mainstreaming gender, inclusivity and innovations in their urban planning,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine Dafina Gercheva. “The municipalities recovering from the pandemic, the Mayors for Economic Growth Facility represented a very timely and unique opportunity for local authorities to increase employment rates and resolve urgent issues in their local economies.”
“The recent pandemic has brought the vulnerabilities of municipalities to the surface,” said Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories Development Mr. Ivan Lukerya. “There is an urgent need for heightened resilience, to put in place long-term structural solutions, and to build a more equitable and sustainable future for cities together with the EU and UNDP.”
The Mayors for Economic Growth Facility is a follow up of the Mayors for Economic Growth initiative, launched and funded by the European Union in 2017 to support mayors and municipalities in the EaP countries. The project is being implemented by UNDP, starting from 2021. The M4EG Facility will be launched in all six Eastern Partnership countries in the summer of 2021.