Cooperations between Munich and Kiev
In 1989, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city twinning between Munich and Kiev was established with the objective of the rapprochement between East and West. School partnerships, encounters between church congregations, civic commitment as well as the exchange between the city administrations have made the partnership a reality since then.
In the first years, the key areas of the partnership were defined by preceding world events: Numerous Munich-based initiatives provided humanitarian aid to the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which had also strongly affected Kiev. In order to support former Ukrainian forced labourers, who had been put to work in Munich during the national socialist era, in 1999, the City of Munich established a foundation whose funds were used, among other things, to establish a geriatric care service in Kiev.
The more recent political developments in the Ukraine and Kiev also influence the city twinning: In the late autumn of 2004, Kiev became the scene for the “Orange Revolution.” With this, civil society defended itself against an authoritarian presidential system serving especially the interests of Ukrainian oligarchs. Likewise at Kiev Liberty Square, at the beginning of 2014, the population demanded Ukraine moving closer to the EU, leading to the deposition of the Yanukovych government, the separation of the Crimean peninsula as well as the military escalation in the East of the country. Today, Ukraine is characterised by a tug-of-war between East and West. Against this backdrop, the twinning has acquired a new significance and urgency and the City of Munich intensifies its contacts and cooperation with Kiev. With regard to the lack of political stability and transparence, civil society in Kiev and the cooperation with non-governmental organisations have a particular part to play here.
Cooperation between the city administrations
Dealing with HIV/Aids
Ukraine has the highest rate of new HIV infections in Europe. In Kiev, too, HIV/Aids is often reduced to a disease of homosexual people and drug users and is a taboo in many areas of society. Munich has cooperated with the twin city since 2010 in order to intensify the education regarding sexually transmitted diseases in Kiev, to counter the discrimination against persons affected as well as to improve the advisory offers and services. Since 2013, the cooperation has been intensified due to a project aiming at qualifying Kiev-based social workers as well as medical personnel. This is funded by the federal support program “Sustainable municipal development through partnership projects.”
Saving energy has become an important topic in Ukraine - not least to reduce the dependency on Russian gas imports. The City of Munich cooperates with the City of Kiev and with environmental organisations from both cities in order to support the twin city in its efforts to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. In this regard, various training programmes have been organised since 2013. The focus is on measures regarding energy efficiency, the use of renewable energies,
consumer advice, and the qualification of skilled workers.
On the occasion of the 2012 European football championship in Ukraine, an exchange regarding tourism promotion was started, initiated by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). The City of Munich has shared its experiences gathered as a host city of the 2006 Football World Cup with the four locations in Ukraine – among them the twin city Kiev. Improving the quality and structure of the provision of information for tourists and the development
of sustainable tourism services,also for the time after the football festival, has been the central objective of the exchange. Creating an application-oriented tourism concept has been at the centre, its implementation continues to be supported by München Tourismus.
Since its establishment, the city twinning has been characterised by cooperation in the area of education. Annually, continuing education seminars and teaching observations for educators from both cities are organised, coordinated by the division “European and International Exchanges & Projects” of the Department of Education and Sports. During their stay, the educators gain insights into the differing everyday school setting, the education system as well as the cultural specificities of the host country. Additionally, a school exchange takes place between Munich-based “Realschulen” and “Gymnasien” and schools in Kiev with extended German lessons. The Berufsschule für Kraftfahrzeugtechnik München has also maintained a partnership with the Kiev-based Berufsschule für Baumechanisierung und Transportwesen for a long time.
The partnership is strongly characterised by civic commitment. Initially, many activities by Munich residents focused on humanitarian aid for the victims of Chernobyl. Over the years, numerous additional initiatives and associations have been established. They support aid projects in Kiev, inform about German-Ukrainian relations and the political situation in Ukraine or organise encounters between citizens. The church partnership between the Sankt Katharinen Gemeinde in
Kiev and the Lutheran-protestant deanship has supported the city twinning from the outset. Human rights work is at the centre of the scene partnership, established in 2012, between lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of both cities. The contact group “Munich Kiev Queer” supports its local partners to counter the discrimination and persecution of sexual minorities in Kiev.