In Ukraine, mayors and local government are sometimes the last line of defence. As the rest of the world watches, waits and takes action local government will feel the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These resources from LGIU are here to provide information on the many ways that the sector can provide leadership or will need to adapt.
As mayors and local government remain the last line of defence and support for their people, local governments both near to and far from the conflict are often the first line of comfort and support for refugees (which is currently estimated at around a million people and destined to rise). Local governments around the world are also standing up for the people of Ukraine, signing declarations of support, cancelling energy deals with Putin linked supplier Gazprom and revoking twinned city relationships with Russian cities.
As a local democracy charity, we will always stand with those who support truth, transparency and keeping decision making power with local people and their democratically elected representatives. That is why we have put our name to the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) petition in support and solidarity with Ukraine and its people. See the response from our Chief Executive, Jonathan Carr-West below:
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a direct assault on the right of a free people to choose their own government and determine their own future. It attacks the core of what local government, and LGIU, stands for.
Local democracy is about free elections and accountable public institutions. But it’s also about power and choice residing in the places and communities we inhabit. The Russian war of aggression threatens all of this. LGIU, like our member councils, stands with Ukraine.
Councils will be dealing with the fallout from the war, including but not limited to:
- Refugees and displaced persons:
- Trust in systems and information security:
- Energy and cost of living
At LGIU, we are here to help inform local government across all these areas. As the crisis unfolds, we will continue to update our bundle of resources to support councils, bringing you both original briefings and curating links to support elsewhere. If you have story to share, please let us know.
From housing and supporting basic needs to helping refugees live productive, engaged lives during resettlement councils play a vital role.
Homes for Ukraine
This briefing outlines the key features of the UK response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis and the role of local government. Read full briefing here.
How you can help now
While we’re still awaiting final details of the Homes for Ukraine scheme in the UK, many families are already stepping forward to host. Voluntary agencies which help match refugees to hosts urgently need more people with home checking skills to step forward and volunteer a few hours of their time. If you’ve done home checking as part of your professional role either now or in the past, find out how you can help.
A former refugee herself, Vera Dodic from Toronto’s Newcomer Office talks about how the city of Toronto helps people become productive, engaged citizens of the city. Listen to the podcast.
Lessons from Ireland and their humanitarian response to Ukraine
In Ireland, much debate and discussion recently have been centred around the required humanitarian response to Ukraine. In this blog, LGIU’s Dr Seán Ó’Riordáin explores the ways in which local government will need to continue to step up in the coming months and years in a variety of ways. Read on here.
The war in Ukraine isn’t just being fought in the fields and the streets. A key element of Russian warfare plays out online through disinformation and cyber attacks. Local government must continue to play a key role in combatting misinformation, representing the importance of local democracy and protecting data assets.
Trust in democracy
Trust is a key element of democracy. Though many western countries, including the UK, enjoy high degrees of trust in the electoral system for now, deliberate efforts to undermine confidence must be guarded against. Spillover effects from the US where accusations of electoral fraud have been weaponised must also be countered. See our work on trust and elections.
The LGIU’s Melissa Thorne sets out how councils can tackle misinformation and disinformation and how the LGIU can help and introduces our recent Global Local edition on misinformation. Ingrid Koehler’s work on councils’ handling of democratic and health misinformation included original research on the pervasiveness of disinformation beliefs held by councillors.
There have been a number of high profile attacks on public services and countless attempts and overlooked breaches. Our recent briefing on preventing cyber crime included several UK case studies. We also looked at the state of cyber security in Australia and what local government can do. This new briefing examines how the Ukraine invasion may make local government more vulnerable to cyber attacks and which preventive measures authorities should take now.
Honouring the Ukrainian spirit
The events unfolding in Ukraine offers us all an important reminder of how precious our democracy is and how we must fight to protect it. LGIU Chief Exec, Jonathan Carr-West explains the vital role local government needs to play right now and in the future. Read on here.
Voices from Ukraine
LGIU partnered with the International Centre for Local Democracy in Sweden to hear from our Ukrainian local government colleagues and what they need from us in a panel event. Read highlights from the event and a link to the recording here.
Russia is a major exporter of gas and oil. Global energy prices were already on the rise and with post pandemic supply chain issues and disruption to labour markets, many councils and families were feeling the squeeze. Additionally some UK councils are seeking to end contracts with Russian gas suppliers. How can local government deal with this?
Energy policy for local governments
Energy policy in turbulent times: As councils seek to exit contracts with Russian suppliers and all energy consumers are feeling the pinch, this member only briefing utilises case study examples that explore how local authorities can take the future of energy systems into their own hands. And in the longer term how councils can take power into their own hands through energy systems.
Cost of living crisis
Our bundle from February 2022 showcases the different components and the critical role of local government in the midst of these rising concerns.
Local government finance
As councils are emerging from pandemic, dealing with the impacts of storms and other climate adaptation and are now dealing with all of the impacts of the war in Ukraine, budgets will feel ever more strained. See all of our local government finance resources.