A signing of a Cooperation Agreement between Municipality Domžale (Slovenia) and City of Hnivan (Ukraine) concludes a successful first three-week mentorship visit under the auspices of the project ‘Post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine’.

The solemn signing of the Cooperation Agreement at the closing ceremony of the mentorship visit was initiated by Mr Kuleshov, PhD, Mayor of the City of Hnivan and Ms Renata Kosec, M.SC, Mayor of Domžale and concludes the first three-week mentorship visit, focusing on sharing good practices on the civil protection system and project management. Cooperation agreement marks the first milestone of the partnership between Domžale and Hnivan, which began with this project and will continue based on the developed project concept in the field of strengthening the resilience of the municipality of Hnivan against natural and human-caused disasters with the invaluable contribution of good practices and knowledge from the Municipality of Domžale.

Mr Vitalii Mazur, Deputy Mayor of the City of Hnivan and Ms Ivanna Kuzminska, Specialist of the Department of Urban Planning and Architecture of the Hnivan City Council, were the mentees joining the three-week mentorship in Slovenia, mentored by Domžale mentors Mr Peter Gubanc, Head of Property Matters Department and Deputy Chief of Civil Protection at Domžale Municipality and Mr Aljoša Repanšek of the Public Utilities Department and member of the municipal headquarters civil protection.

In the first week, mentees focused their attention on the basics of project management, project writing and project funding and began preparing a frame for two projects they wish to implement in Hnivan with the help of expert Mr Klemen Srna and partners in Domžale. The topics of the second week focused on establishing a strong civil protection system in a hromada – with Domžale being a very positive example of the system running in practice. Mr Mazur and Ms Kuzminska first met with a representative of the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief of Slovenia, Ms Dobnik Jeraj, who presented the civil protection system on the national level. Representatives of Domžale Civil Protection presented their work in theory and practice, with the mentees meeting several stakeholders involved in running the civil protection system in Domžale (firefighters, voluntary fire brigades, cave rescue service, radio club Domžale, K9 rescue, Red Cross Domžale, scouts, first aid team and more). The second week also offered an opportunity for a visit to the central wastewater treatment plant Domžale-Kamnik, which was one of the additional topics of interest for the Ukrainian guests – Ukraine adopted a law on waste management in July 2023, which complies with EU waste management regulations, but the recycling and waste management system in Ukraine is still in its early stages with about 10% of the waste being recycled, so a visit to a wastewater and waste management facility, co-funded by EU funds, was an important point in the mentorship programme. Ukrainian mentees expressed their admiration for the working of the civil protection system as it involves many stakeholders but is still extremely reactive in all crises. Mentees also experienced one example in practice – a fire in a high-rise building, where they saw the system working in practice.

The third week focused on the topics of local administration related to the EU enlargement process, where the Mayor of Domžale, Ms Kosec, presented the important topic of transparency, integrity and tackling corruption at the municipal level. Additionally, representatives of Domžale municipality presented their experience and best practices in project preparation and cooperation. The municipality of Hnivan showed a positive attitude towards further development and capacity building in the field of relevant processes related to the processes of adaptation to EU standards during the accession process of Ukraine. The third week was also focused on drafting written tools with support from CEP Senior Advisor, Ms Jelka Klemenc, in creating practical and actionable plans for applying the adapted good practices in Ukraine. On Tuesday, the mentees were joined by an evaluation expert, Mr Gorazd Jenko, who presented project applications from the perspective of project evaluators, sharing insightful details on what evaluators focus on when reading project applications, how to ensure project sustainability and what could be the deal breakers when writing a project proposal.

The mentorship concluded on Wednesday with an internal debrief between mentors and mentees focused on the planning of future activities between the municipalities, followed by a closing event, where the Mayor of Domžale, Ms Kosec, and Mayor of Hnivan, Mr Kolushov, signed the Cooperation agreement – the first of its kind in this project cycle, signifying the importance of the project for Ukrainian and Slovenian side. Following the signing was the presentation from the mentees, who presented two project plans prepared with the help of new knowledge gained in the three weeks of activities, which will be elaborated and finalized during the project until the end of 2024; both are projects of cross-border cooperation between municipalities in accordance with the objectives of the project. Joining the closing event were also the representative of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ms Nataša Kos, Minister Plenipotentiary, and representative of the Embassy of Ukraine in Slovenia, Ms Natalia Markevych Pritsa, Deputy Head of Mission, who shared their thoughts on the activities already done and congratulated Domžale and Hnivan of the formal signing of the Cooperation agreement. 


The ‘Post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine’ project is funded by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs through the Slovenian Aid and Partnerships and implemented in partnership with ‘U-LEAD with Europe’. U-LEAD with Europe programme is a partnership of the Ukrainian government and the European Union, and its member states Germany, Poland, Denmark and Slovenia, to support the establishment of multi-level governance that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the population of Ukraine.