Brookings: History reveals how to get Ukraine reconstruction right: anti-corruption

2022-10-20 | Expert publications, Reconstruction

By Lilly Blumenthal, Caleb Seamon, Norman Eisen, and Robin J. Lewis. While there is currently no clear end in sight to ongoing Russian military aggression against Ukraine, discussions are already active about Ukraine’s reconstruction. At the Lugano conference in July, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky underscored the urgent need to plan for reconstruction before the end of open conflict. On October 25th, the German G7 Presidency and the EU Commission are hosting the International Expert Conference on the Recovery, Reconstruction, and Modernisation of Ukraine. These and other discussions on Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction present a critical opportunity to incorporate meaningful anti-corruption mechanisms into a rebuilding process that involves hundreds of billions of dollars and extensive coordination among the international community. 

Successfully countering corruption—including undermining the power of kleptocratic oligarchs and sustaining ongoing efforts to reform political institutions—will help ensure reconstruction funds are well spent. A strong anti-corruption plan is an investment in Ukraine winning and maintaining a future peace. In this essay, we draw on lessons learned from previous reconstruction efforts in and beyond the region to suggest priorities for governments, donors, and civil society to help mitigate corruption risks during Ukraine’s reconstruction.

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