“Post-conflict Reconstruction in Ukraine: Challenges and Opportunities”, Silvia Samorè (IAI, Italy)

During her first visit to Kyiv on 21 February 2023, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reassured President Volodymyr Zelensky concerning the Italian commitment to the Ukrainian resistance and defence against the Russian invasion. To most people’s surprise, she stated that “we [Prime Minister Meloni and President Zelensky] have spoken a lot today about reconstruction, not only for when the conflict ends, but also now”. As a concrete follow-up on this commitment, on 26 April a bilateral conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction was held in Rome. Indeed, the word “reconstruction” in reference to Ukraine has been used since the spring of 2022 at the EU level. This is a great achievement for the post-conflict researchers’ community and research centres that have restlessly highlighted the importance of dealing with conflict and post-conflict as a complex spectrum, where recovery considerations need to be taken into account from the early stages. When designing international efforts for physical reconstruction and investment, emerging challenges to good governance and rule of law, such as corruption, must be carefully considered and managed. Furthermore, it is paramount to discuss also non-physical aspects of reconstruction, encompassing all the threats to human security, such as the presence of small arms and light weapons (SALW), that could foster instability in the country after the end of the war.

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