Research conducted by Chatham House highlights the immense opportunities that will be presented to Ukraine for societal modernization during its recovery. However, it warns that failure to address the country's historical reputation for corruption could result in a loss of trust in the government.

Orysia Lutsevych, head of Chatham House's Ukraine Forum, stresses the importance of citizen involvement in creating a successful and resilient post-war society. The report identifies widespread fraud, cronyism, and misuse of funds as significant risks during the reconstruction process.

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Although Ukraine has already initiated its recovery plan, the report finds a lack of systematic and inclusive approaches that involve civil society groups. Insufficient interaction between the government and these groups has left many feeling marginalized, and there is a risk of growing disparities between different regions.

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Russia's full-scale invasion has resulted in extensive damage to Ukraine's infrastructure, including housing, power plants, schools, hospitals, and transportation system. Whole towns have been demolished, companies have lost assets, and environmental resources such as land, forests, and water have been severely affected. The recent destruction of the Kakhovka dam will have long-lasting environmental, economic, and social consequences that may be felt throughout Europe not just Ukraine.

The estimated costs for reconstruction and recovery are on a scale not seen in Europe since World War II, with the current estimates of the cost of the national recovery plan being $750 billion. The conflict has resulted in millions of displaced people, with many fleeing Ukraine, and thousands of casualties. Children are experiencing significant stress, anxiety, and trauma from the loss and separation of family members and constant air raids, as well as severe disruption to their education.

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The report stresses the need for both physical and institutional rebuilding. While infrastructure is crucial, the transformative effect of a successful recovery lies in revitalizing institutions, human capital, and the environment. Ukrainians have expressed a desire to transform state institutions and modernize their society, jumpstarting local economies and fostering civic participation.

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Building trust between the government, citizens, and international partners is vital for a successful recovery. Ukrainians must have trust that their government is working in the public interest, while international partners need reassurance that their pledged resources are effectively allocated for the country's benefit as a whole.

The report recommends expanding the National Recovery Council to include civic representatives, establishing a regulatory body to oversee the nonprofit sector, and creating a liaison office at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) to prevent funds being abused at grassroots levels. Additionally, it suggests implementing training programs for civil society workers in sustainable reconstruction and essential skills like strategic recovery planning, project management, public finance, citizen engagement, conflict mediation, integrity, and new digital tracking systems.

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The report concludes that Ukraine's recovery efforts must build on the same courage and agency that has been demonstrated by its citizens during the war. By addressing risks and utilizing strengths, Ukraine can pave the way for its successful post-war future.

For a full copy of the embargoed report: Giving civil society a stake in Ukraine’s recovery, more details about the survey or interview requests with the author, please contact: [email protected]

Please note there will be a side event on a resilient Ukraine recovery on June 20th as part of the London-based international Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023.

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