Large parts of the vital infrastructure in Ukraine are destroyed by the acts of war or considerably overloaded as a result of additional citizens since millions of people had to leave their homes. The Ukrainian government, local authorities and the financial institutions highly appreciate that COWI has stayed in the country to assist with the reconstruction which has already been initiated.
”Immediately after the war broke out, we received enquiries from our clients, KfW Development Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) - and they were backed by both the Ukrainian government and municipalities in which we work. Their message was identical: ‘We want you to continue your work, to the extent possible’. And COWI has responded favourably to this request.”
These are the words from Jesper Karup Pedersen, Technical Director and responsible for COWIs activities in Ukraine. He states that COWI's assignments take place in close collaboration with Ukrainian experts and suppliers, as has been the case during the past 30 years where COWI has worked in the country.
Pavel Pakholko, the Head of Project Management and Support Unit (PMSU) in the Ukrainian Ministry of Regional Development says:
”Since 2018, COWI has helped Ukraine in completing the Ukraine Municipal Infrastructure Programme (UMIP). The programme, financed by EIB, co-financed by final beneficiaries and supported by the Ukraine government, provides vital infrastructure within district heating, water- and energy supply through several specific projects in various cities spread over the entire country. This war has only made the projects more important for the people. It is therefore vital to us that COWI, after the Russian invasion of our country, has continued the work in close cooperation with the ministry.”
In total, more than 15 million people have left their homes to settle in the western part of Ukraine and abroad. This situation has resulted in an increased demand for municipal services in some cities.
The country is still under attack. However, there are cities, especially in the western part of Ukraine, in which it is possible to carry out work safely. One of those is Chernivtsi city, where COWI is involved in an infrastructure project financed by KfW Development Bank.
”In KfW, we are very satisfied with the fact that COWI, even under difficult circumstances in a tragic war situation, has found ways to safely continue the work with improving the infrastructure within water and wastewater in Chernivtsi city. It means a lot in terms of the residents being able to live a decent life and keep the society going,” says Anna Santa Cruz, responsible at KfW for urban and regional development in Eastern Europe.
This is not the first time that COWI has been actively involved in a post-war reconstruction effort. The same was for example the case after the war in the Balkans. Back then in cooperation with the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
In the current situation, COWI is, within the UMIP framework, assisting in the rolling out of ongoing projects which must be adapted to the new circumstances. Tender rounds are carried out and contracts that secure work for local experts, contractors and equipment suppliers must be entered.
Jesper Karup Pedersen states that COWI is involved in the work with reconstruction, rehabilitation and new construction of vital infrastructure which was initiated in several regions before the war. Now that the Russians have pulled back and left heavy destructions, this work is being accelerated.
”In these days and weeks, we talk to the municipalities in Ukraine, prepare overviews of the state of the infrastructure within district heating, water- and energy efficiency projects, and together with the final beneficiaries we develop strategies for further implementation of the projects in the current circumstances. This is all taking place in close collaboration with the Ukrainian government. We are also in touch with other donors, including the Danish government, so as to inform about the needs of the war-turn country with regards to infrastructure, in both the short term and mid to long term,” he concludes.