Forum of Good Governance “Ukraine 2024: Dimensions of Resilience”: How to Avoid Defeat and Create Conditions for Ukraine’s Victory in 2024?

On February 3, the Aspen Institute Kyiv, the Frontier Institute, and the CEO Club Ukraine held the Good Governance Forum “Ukraine 2024: Dimensions of Resilience”. The event aimed to find answers to how Ukraine can sustain itself in 2024 and what each of us is willing to do to ensure our country’s victory.

Organizers aimed for representatives and leaders from more than ten sectors to hear and understand each other. The event occurred in an interactive format where participants could express their understanding of the most acute challenges and responses.

Call for justice: addressing judicial issues

Participants also emphasized the significance of justice in many dimensions of state functioning, including in the judiciary and transparency of state policies.

The practical implementation of justice can be ensured by developing a transparent judicial system and judiciary. This will increase trust in the courts and chances of resolving complex legal cases. Additionally, balancing citizens’ rights and duties in prolonged warfare conditions is necessary.

A significant aspect of the discussion was the issue of transitional justice— how to create effective mechanisms to respond to complex challenges. Transitional justice is especially relevant for the territories of Ukraine under occupation, where after the withdrawal of Russian forces, it is necessary to ensure access to fair justice, preserve citizens’ rights, and restore the application of Ukrainian legislation. It is also important to consider cases of illegal persecution by Russians of Ukrainians, unlawful detention, and violations of rights—ensuring proper punishment for these actions.

War as a State of Society

The discussion at the Forum echoed one of the critical themes of the Days of Ideas, held by the Aspen Institute Kyiv and Impact Hub Odessa in the summer of 2023 — achieving strategic security. In turn, the participants of the Forum believe that we must ensure the effectiveness of the state and capable defense forces by intensifying weapons production and organizing the economy accordingly.

According to leaders who participated in the discussion, war should be considered comprehensively from the standpoint of mobilizing all resources. We must prepare for the struggle in a possible long-term perspective. In particular, encouraging citizen proactivity is worthwhile. It is also essential to reorient towards a military culture.

Innovation is crucial for Ukraine’s victory, and war demands even more emphasized one of the discussion participants. Therefore, unconventional challenges should generate equally abnormal responses — this applies to the military sphere, business, state policy, etc. A significant aspect of effectively addressing challenges will be education — as only enlightened citizens will ensure the nation’s development.

Veteran’ Policy in Ukraine

According to discussion participants, the approach to forming a social contract regarding veterans in Ukraine needs to be reconsidered. Our country needs a comprehensive and effective system of support programs for soldiers returning from war. In this regard, society should take a more active part in shaping these programs and focus on assisting those affected by the war.

One of the discussion participants emphasized that a veteran is a hero, not a pitiful figure, so it is necessary to treat those who have experienced war with respect and help them develop — through various projects and the development of veteran entrepreneurship. In particular, the educational component will be necessary.

Business as the Foundation of Ukraine’s Development

Forum participants stated that business plays and will play a significant role in maintaining Ukraine’s resilience during the war. Some noted that proactivity and increasing resource utilization efficiency are critical priorities for business shortly.

It is necessary to ensure transparent “rules of the game” and remove barriers that hinder entrepreneurs from working. The state should encourage people to engage in entrepreneurial activities and invest in the economy by implementing a system of guarantees. This will allow businesses to plan their medium- and long-term activities — envisioning more of a “marathon” rather than a “sprint.”

State: Is Society Ready to Take Responsibility?

It is necessary to continue the fight against corruption, in particular, by shifting the narrative from “anti-corruption” to “pro-ethics,” according to one of the discussion participants. This is a rather lengthy and complex process, as achieving this goal depends on each individual. Developing ethical behavior will also be facilitated by making management decisions, particularly in strengthening punishment for corruption.

Participants noted that the priority of the problem is determined by the level of societal interest it has garnered. Therefore, in a post-conflict world, we must learn to work with attention — directing, focusing, diffusing, and utilizing it. For example, in 2022, attention management was collective, with everyone contributing stories about their present.

As emphasized by most participants, we should support culture and education as essential fields. With the development of these fields, society will have higher capability, shed paternalism, and gain strategic vision.

Forum participants also proposed solutions for these and many other issues facing Ukrainian society, emphasizing the need for strategies to enhance national resilience.

Anton Drobovych, Andriy Kulakov, Denis Poltavets, and Tetiana Troshchynska moderated the discussion during the event.

The event was supported by the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and the International Renaissance Foundation.