Chancellor Scholz, in his given capacity as German Presidency of the G7, and European Commission President von der Leyen will convene the expertise of world-renowned specialists from different relevant international organisations, national governments, think tanks and academic institutions, together with the Ukrainian government, with the view to further shaping ongoing discussions on the recovery, reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine. The International Expert Conference is intended to underline that the international community is united and resolute in its support to Ukraine, and will continue to support Ukraine beyond its immediate needs, and on its path to EU accession. It also carries the message that, given the scale of the challenge at stake, the recovery needs to be an inclusive multi-stakeholder process including both public and private sectors of all international partners.
The initial impulse for the Conference was the G7 Elmau Summit, cf. G7 Statement on Support for Ukraine of 27 June 2022: „We stand ready to support an international reconstruction plan, drawn up and implemented by Ukraine in close coordination with bilateral and multilateral partners and organisations in support of a sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and green economic recovery which enhances strong democratic institutions, rule of law, and anti-corruption measures. To this end, we welcome the Presidency’s initiative to convene with Ukraine an international high-level experts conference, to make progress on a comprehensive reconstruction plan.“
On 4-5 July 2022, Switzerland jointly with Ukraine hosted the international Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano (URC 22022). At Lugano, Ukraine presented its draft for a detailed national recovery plan for the first time. In the meantime, international partners were invited to comment on the plan in writing during the summer, which many have done. Other organisations have put forward their own ideas on recovery. The URC 2022 concluded with the adoption of the Lugano Declaration and its seven guiding principles on recovery and the UK hosting the URC 2023. Independent from, yet complementary to this process, the International Expert Conference will add further expert input and advice to the deliberations on the recovery process of Ukraine.
The International Expert Conference is another important step in the series of global events which demonstrate unwavering support from the international community to Ukraine in the face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression. The event reaffirms our commitment to support Ukraine’s recovery. It takes place within a wider G7 context and builds on the discussions in Lugano as well as in other contexts. The expertise generated in the outcomes of the International Expert Conference will thus be fed into existing formats such as the annual Ukraine Recovery/Reform Conferences, and into bilateral, European, and multilateral discussions with Ukrainian institutions and internationally, as support shapes up.
At the Conference, experts from different international organisations and national authorities, think tanks and academic institutions will discuss on key matters for the recovery, reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine. These discussions will contribute to shaping the way ahead for Ukraine, including the design and implementation of the national recovery planning as well as the prioritising to be put in place by the Ukrainian government and people.
Not the cost, but financing modalities. Estimates on costs already circulate, but there is no agreed upfront figure, while costs rise with each day of the ongoing war. Current estimates also vary largely depending on the timeframe and the extent of what is considered as „recovery“ (early recovery/humanitarian assistance). The Conference will therefore, among others, discuss how to prioritise and sequence different needs and which financing options are available.
The International Expert Conference has no inherent pledging segment. Participating institutions are however free to announce or confirm their support for recovery, as many have already done so in other contexts.
The expertise generated in the International Expert Conference will be fed into existing formats such as the annual Ukraine Recovery/Reform Conference, to be hosted by the UK mid-next year, and into bilateral, European, and multilateral discussions with Ukrainian counterparts, and internationally, as support shapes up. Targeted expert recommendations shall be published on the website of the International Expert Conference as an outcome document.
The International Expert Conference is not a decision-making body, so there won’t be any political agreements endorsed. The expertise generated by the Conference will contribute to further shaping the process of recovery, reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine. Recommendations from the International Expert Conference will be taken to the relevant political fora at an appropriate juncture, which will be decided politically.
Given the challenges at stake and the commitment of the international community to the support to Ukraine, participation is expected at senior officials’ level. A few parties are invited at political level in their function as Presidencies of international formats or hosts of relevant international conferences. All other invited parties are encouraged to identify the most relevant participants according to their best judgment.