On November 29th and 30th, our Director of Innovation, João Gonçalves attended the Green Reconstruction of Ukraine conference, organised by the European Commission in Vilnius, Lithuania. Against the backdrop of an anticipated 50B€ reconstruction facility, the conference aimed at taking stock of the challenges ahead and discuss strategies on the best use of the funding and to push for a reconstruction that is both affordable and sustainable.
We heard how Ukraine is already setting up its public services and business for external investment and the much-anticipated European integration. To that end, the government will draft a masterplan to coordinate investment in the country and ensure sectoral and structural reforms are in place, such as macro-financial stability, budget oversight, public financial management.
As you would expect, there was concern that the requirements for a prudent green recovery planning would super-impose the perceivable need for a fast needed reconstruction. The participants ended up agreeing that there should be a double approach, where the urgent needs are delivered quickly while setting the foundations for the green reconstruction in parallel, with the help of European experts, and towards the objective to maximise the quality of life for all Ukrainian families in the future.
To give some inspiring ideas to the Ukrainian developers, the conference included a few sessions with inspiring eco-innovative solutions originated from other cities from across Europe, such as the Urban Roofs initiative from Rotterdam, or the usage of recycled and natural materials to develop “Nearly Zero Energy Buildings” from Extremadura, Spain. While some technologies were less adaptable to the Ukraine context, others were quite pertinent such as a tried process to re-use war debris in construction materials.
João Gonçalves was there to understand how the European Affordable Housing Consortium could be counted among the many to aid in the sustainable reconstruction of districts in Ukraine. The “Guidance for municipalities, housing providers and companies to create thriving affordable housing neighbourhoods” which the Consortium is developing can definitely be used to support cities in Ukraine from the technical, social and process innovation point of view. Additionally, we are also willing and able to mobilise our expert network and lessons learned from decades of affordable housing planning and development to the benefit of Ukraine, especially on “what not do”. These insights can serve as cautionary tale for the Ukrainian builders and housing managers not to repeat the same mistakes.
The Ukraine facility includes €1.5 billion loan on grants from the LIFE Programme and Horizon Europe. If you are interested in working with Ukraine organisations in innovation projects in any of these programmes please get in contact with us.
Also join us for Housing Europe's Innovation Bites webinar on February 7th, where we will also discuss project ideas.