Supervising and Monitoring Ukraine’s Reconstruction Funds (SMURF)

SMURF aims to empower Ukraine’s civil society as the ‘second line of defence’ by providing the necessary expertise and tools to enhance the financial monitoring capabilities of Ukraine’s reconstruction funds.

The war in Ukraine has devastated the country and upended the lives of millions of Ukrainians. Though we cannot be sure when Russia’s aggression will end, it is already clear that Ukraine will need a massive injection of funds to begin reconstruction once hostilities cease. This will require proper mechanisms and expertise to ensure that these funds are not being mismanaged or pilfered.

Traditional control systems, also known as the ‘first line of defence’, have proven ineffective in the past, particularly because those responsible for applying the controls are also able to profit from this activity. SMURF aims to empower Ukraine’s ‘second line of defence’, civil society, to gather the expertise and tools that will enable it to monitor the proper allocation of funds and discourage kleptocracy and corruption.

Aims and objectives

The project will focus on the delivery of in-person and online events, training and study tours to key selected civil society actors involved in the monitoring and management of Ukraine’s reconstruction funds. The focus will primarily be on:

  • Providing Ukraine’s civil society – financial experts, investigative journalists, activists – with expert tools to properly monitor the allocation of funds and discourage corruption and kleptocracy.
  • Building national and international connections to support the fight against corruption in Ukraine.
  • Resuming Ukraine’s AML/CTF efforts halted by the war, particularly focusing on adopting adequate legislation such as the Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO).
  • Raising awareness on essential aspects of the supervision and monitoring of reconstruction funds through public debate, expert commentaries, and discussion.
  • Fostering European cooperation and support for the reconstruction efforts by introducing selected participants to relevant policymakers and actors in Brussels.
  • Providing the selected participants with key knowledge of successful public-private partnerships in the fight against financial crime.
  • Building an international network of experts to tackle disinformation on corruption that is used as a tool for reducing foreign aid to Ukraine.

Project impact

The project’s impact will be both reactive and proactive. Empowering Ukraine’s second line of defence will equip key members of the country’s civil society with the knowledge to cover stories on corruption and hold kleptocrats accountable. However, it will also discourage people from engaging in corruption and malpractice, acting too as a deterrent.

Study tour programme

The Supervising and Monitoring Ukraine’s Reconstruction Funds (SMURF) project at RUSI CFCS and RUSI Europe is recruiting for a two-week study tour in Brussels and London on 29 January – 12 February 2023. The study tour will connect Ukrainian anticorruption experts, civil society activists and journalists to policy makers and research communities in the EU and the UK and enhance the skills in financial crimes investigation.

The study tour programme is ideal if you are a Ukrainian civil society activist or investigative journalist working on financial crime and corruption; you want to join the efforts to monitor the proper allocation of Ukraine’s reconstruction funds and foster transparency or if you would like to enhance your skills in financial crimes investigation.

Deadline is 20 December 2022 - early applications are encouraged!

Project partners and sponsor

  • RUSI Europe

    Based in Brussels, RUSI Europe builds on the Royal United Services Institute’s almost 200 years of expertise in security and defence. We carry out research, provide a forum for security and defence dialogues, and are committed to help solve the most urgent security and defence challenges. Our mission is to leverage the Institute’s research capacities to inform policy-making at the EU, NATO and among their member states.

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  • Better Regulation Delivery Office

    Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) is a leading Ukrainian independent think tank in the field of economic regulation with a focus on implementation. The office was established in 2015 as a non-governmental non-profit organization to assist the government in carrying out medium- and long-term economic reforms to improve the business environment in conditions of political instability.

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Project sponsor

  • National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

    The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 2,000 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 100 countries.

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