Giving civil society a stake in Ukraine’s recovery

Think tank: Chatham House

Author(s): Orysia Lutsevych

June 16, 2023

This report from UK think tank Chatham House looks at how government, citizens and donors can work together to embed trust in reconstruction.

Over the past decade, Ukraine has shown that successful cooperation between state and citizens can deliver highly effective structural reforms. Building on this record, the country’s government and international partners now need to work with Ukraine’s civil society organizations (CSOs) to develop a clear framework that enables citizens and communities to play a full role in recovery planning, oversight and implementation. Citizens’ groups have been deeply involved in reconstruction and relief work since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, but many feel they are sidelined by national and regional authorities when it comes to planning and delivering the recovery. Through mass engagement in grassroots activities under wartime conditions, millions of Ukrainians have skills and experience that will prove invaluable across all recovery tracks. These citizens want a greater stake in determining how their country will be rebuilt, and expect strong accountability from institutions that are there to serve the public interest. This briefing paper draws on insights from a Chatham House survey of Ukrainian CSOs conducted at the end of 2022. It examines their ambitions for engagement in recovery planning and delivery, as well as their perceptions of the factors that might jeopardize modernization and reform as the country rebuilds from the war, and sets out practical steps to foster effective and sustainable cooperation between the state and civil society.