iiSBE at Chatham House seminar on Ukraine reconstruction

Nils Larsson (NL) represented iiSBE at a one-day seminar on June 20 focused on the reconstruction of Ukraine held at Chatham House, a well-known think tank in London. There were about 200 persons in the live audience and ca. 1,700 logging in to the web link. The following comments are quasi-random comments and do not claim to be comprehensive.

* The seminar was a warmup event and was followed by the main international Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 that took place on the two following days. The Seminar was focused on practical and technical issues, while the subsequent two-day international conference covered mainly broader policy political, social and economic issues.

* The seminar included a good mix of speakers from Ukraine, UK, Europe and USA. The UK gov and USAID were major funders. Several senior officials from Ukraine govrnment also participated.

* Mustafa Nayyem is a former MP and now head of the Ukraine State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure. He pointed out that, counter-intuitively, there were too many existing schools and universities, so not all of them need to be rebuilt.

* Much of the focus was on international finance, reducing corruption and preparing for EU accession. In the construction sector this means changing Ukrainian for EU standards. All agreed that solutions must be led by local governments and organisations.

* Natural gas will be used as an interim energy source for the next 30 years. In the Ukraine context this seems to be accepted by the EU as an acceptable step.

* Please have a look at an interesting system called DREAM, developed in Ukraine (https://dream.gov.ua/en). This is a "digital ecosystem for reconstruction management”, designed to modernise the industry while improving management efficiency and also reducing corruption. It could even be modified for use in other regions requiring major reconstruction, including areas suffering damage from earthquakes, flooding, windstorms of wildfires.

In summary, this was a very good experience and Chatham House is quite an impressive organisation.

Nils Larsson
Executive Director, iiSBE