ITF member countries create support mechanism for rebuilding Ukraine's transport links
The governments of ITF member countries Canada, Lithuania, Sweden and Ukraine have created a new mechanism to help Ukraine rebuild its war-ravaged transport systems and develop new international trade links. The ITF Secretariat will co-ordinate activities and provide analytical input.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration, Oleksandr Kubrakov; Sweden’s Minister of Infrastructure, Andreas Carlson; Lithuania’s Minister of Transport and Communication, Marius Skuodis; Canada’s Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez (by video) and ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim officially launched the mechanism during a visit to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on 15 December 2023 (free photo download: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjB6BBu).
The new “Common Interest Group for Ukraine” (CIG4U), funded by Canada, Lithuania and Sweden, will work on two pillars:
Co-ordinate support for Ukraine’s immediate transport-related material needs:
The CIG4U will act as a platform to exchange information about the transport and infrastructure needs identified as urgent by the Ukrainian government, e. g., immediate repairs, replacement material or other actions to ensure the functioning and safety of Ukraine’s transport systems.
The group will co-ordinate support for addressing these needs within the international transport community, including national stakeholders and the private sector. The co-ordination mechanism will meet at least monthly to review Ukraine’s current needs and identify how they can be best addressed, and by whom.
Provide analytical support for the longer-term rebuilding of Ukraine’s transport links:
The group will initiate reviews of different transport modes and areas of Ukraine’s transport sector. The aim is to provide the Ukrainian government with recommended policy pathways and strategic infrastructure plans, including the identification of core corridors and infrastructure for connecting Ukraine to its future trading partners.
Around 20 projects have been identified and will now be prioritised by Ukraine. The first project, funded by Canada and carried out by the ITF Secretariat, will identify pathways to sustainability for Ukraine's road and rail freight sectors.
Within the framework of the International Transport Forum, Common Interest Groups are a format in which groups of member countries work together on topics of mutual interest, supported by the ITF Secretariat. The duration of the CIG4U is two years initially with the possibility of extension. Other ITF member countries are invited to join the CIG4U.
Key dates following the launch on 15 December:
- 29 January 2024: First co-ordination meeting at vice-minister level;
- February/March 2024: Working meetings at senior civil servant level;
- 10 April 2024: ITF High-level Dialogue on Ukraine in Vilnius, Lithuania, at minister level;
- 22 May 2024: Special Ministers' Roundtable on Ukraine during the Annual Summit of Transport Ministers organised by the ITF in Leipzig, Germany.
Quotes from the co-chairs:
Pablo Rodriguez, Canadian Minister of Transport:
“Canada is committed to Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction. Today, together, we have achieved a key milestone. We must now work to bring together our friends, allies, international organizations, and private-sector leaders, to join us in our work to help Ukrainians rebuild. Canada will continue to stand with Ukraine, whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.”
Marius Skuodis, Lithuanian Minister for Transport and Communications:
"Lithuania strongly supports the Ukrainian people's fight for freedom. At the International Transport Forum, we are consistently working with like-minded countries to help Ukraine rebuild its critical transport infrastructure. We hope that the new support platform will bring the international community together for shared goals and will allow us to make a significant contribution to the effective and sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine."
Andreas Carlson, Swedish Minister for Infrastructure and Housing:
“Supporting Ukraine is Sweden’s top foreign policy priority. The mechanism will serve as an important tool for continued support to Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction. We are actively working to ensure strong and long-term support to Ukraine, both from the EU and our partners. Sweden is proud to be serving as co-chair for this mechanism.”
Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum:
“These days, we are seeing every day the opposite of what the transport community works for. Destroying bridges, ports, roads, rail lines and airports goes against everything the International Transport Forum stands for: connecting people and enabling peaceful exchange. The co-operation between the four lead countries of the Common Interest Group for Ukraine shows the essence of ITF: global dialogue for better transport at its best, and also at its most needed. The ITF Secretariat stands ready to support the mechanism and the co-chairs every step of the way.”
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