COP28. Securing Critical Infrastructure for a Sustainable Society: Ukraine Business Compact


At COP28, the world’s largest climate conference, the UN Global Compact Ukraine is hosting a series of events dedicated to Ukraine’s sustainable recovery.

During the panel discussion “Securing Critical Infrastructure for a Sustainable Society: Ukraine Business Compact,” experts discussed strategies and solutions for adapting critical systems to the consequences of Russia’s military actions, as well as innovative approaches to modernizing key infrastructure to ensure reliability and sustainability as society transitions to a low-carbon future.

Tetyana Sakharuk, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Ukraine, moderated the event. Opening the discussion, she noted that rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed during Russian aggression by one country alone is impossible. To accomplish this, the necessity lies in building strong and reliable partnerships. The Ukraine Business Compact initiative of the UNGC Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine aims to attract businesses from around the world to cooperate with Ukrainian companies and utilize the opportunities to invest in Ukraine’s sustainable economic recovery.

Speaking about the sustainable component of recovery, Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare at KPMG International, highlighted a conflict between the desire to rebuild as quickly as possible and the need to rebuild sustainably. He stressed key ideas underlying the restoration of infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure, in Ukraine and other countries:

“First, perceiving infrastructure rebuilding as an opportunity to transform it into a greener and more sustainable one. Second, recognizing that businesses and funds may not be sufficient for rebuilding; thus, a long-term state strategy for decades should be developed. Third, the necessity to monitor the targeted use of recovery funds, requiring a clear reporting system.”

Addressing what European businesses need to invest in Ukraine, Robert Ivanschitz, Associate General Counsel at Microsoft Central and Southeast Europe, Middle East and Africa, believes that Ukraine requires updated and clear regulation of the private sector, encompassing digital residency and simplified data movement across state borders:

“Policies are what differentiate businesses in some countries from those in others and make them more attractive to investors. Ukraine needs modernized policies that will facilitate its interaction with European partners,” emphasized Robert Ivanschitz.

Harpreet Sandhu, Founder & Executive Director at Urban-Air Port & Urban.MASS, highlighted the use of artificial intelligence in the transportation system as one of the aspects to consider when rebuilding infrastructure. He advised investing in transportation innovations at the state level, foreseeing not only improved roads, bridges, and tunnels but also strengthening Ukraine’s reputation as an advanced country looking towards the future.

Jon Erik Høgberg, CEO at Itera Offshoring Services, Group COO at Itera ASA, CEO at Itera Norge AS, emphasized Ukraine’s special role in the European system. He wished Ukrainians safety, effective recovery, and further development, emphasizing:

“Ukraine is a country with inexhaustible potential, particularly for the food and IT industries. Ukraine can also become a green hub in Europe. Its ambition is to build renewable energy sources with a capacity of 330 GW. For example, Norway, one of the largest producers of green energy in Europe, plans to build renewable energy capacity ten times smaller—only 30 GW. This is a chance not only for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe to achieve zero emissions by 2050. If we do not help Ukraine, we will not help ourselves.”

To support Ukraine’s sustainable recovery, the UN Global Compact Ukraine invites Ukrainian and international businesses to become signatories to the Ukraine Business Compact.

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