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How can the Government save the environment? Proposals of the citizens

Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine Iryna Stavchuk named 11 priority areas of her department’s work during a public discussion “Priorities of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources for 2021-2022: what do the citizens expect?” on March 16:

      1. launch of the system for monitoring, efficiency, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions;
      2. initiation of work on the system of greenhouse gas emissions trading;
      3. creation of the Ukrainian climate fund.
      1. development of the forest sector strategy, including the detachment of the functions of the Forests Agency;
      2. launch of the National Forest Inventory Control of Ukraine;
      3. fight against the shadow timber market through end-to-end electronic timber accounting from the forest to the final consumer.
      1. National Biodiversity Strategy until 2030;
      2. improving endangered species data management and reporting according to requirements of international conventions on biodiversity;
      3. implementation of the EU biodiversity directives.
      1. approval of the law on the Emerald Network in Ukraine (Natura 2000);
      2. reform of the national park management system and expansion of financial support mechanisms;
      3. nature reserves online – creation of cadastre and geoinformation data for all the protected areas.
      1. development of River Basin Management Plans (implementation of the European system of ecological status/water potential assessment; development of joint programs of actions to achieve “good” ecological status of waters);
      2. reform in the field of irrigation and drainage in order to create opportunities to attract investment in the irrigation and land-reclamation system in the country;
      3. development and adoption of the Maritime Strategy of Ukraine for Black and Azov Seas.
      1. development of the Chernobyl zone potential: strategic planning and stimulation of economic activity;
      2. safe storage and management of spent nuclear fuel;
      3. ensuring radiation safety during the decommissioning of the Chernobyl NPP.
      1. comprehensive analysis of the current state of the environment and a roadmap for the development of the system in accordance with European criteria;
      2. elaboration of a comprehensive concept for the development of air quality monitoring system;
      3. scaling-up of the surface water monitoring network based on EU provisions.
      1. development of the concept and action plan for digital transformation in the field of environmental protection and natural resources preservation;
      2. development of a single information and analytical platform for administrative services and environmental protection;
      3. creation of tools to increase transparency.
    1. strengthening the transparency and efficiency of the use of environmental funds;
    2. strengthening the dialogue and cooperation between the departments of environmental protection of regional state administrations;
    3. strengthening the dialogue and cooperation with the local community in the processes of environmental policy formation.

Ostap Yednak, Director of the Reform Support Team of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, appealed to the MPs to consider bills № 4167 and № 2207–1d as soon as possible.

“Bill 4167 is a hot issue today. And the draft law № 2207–1 has been under development for many months. In the near future, we want to see them in the Parliament,” said Yednak.

In her turn, the head of the legal department of the “Environment People Law” organization, Olga Melen-Zabramna, drew attention to the “catastrophic situation” with waste management at the local level: “Local authorities cannot decide what to do now.”

“In addition to the draft law on waste management, there is a National Strategy and a National Plan on waste management. This National Plan provides for the creation of a special agency for waste management, which has not yet been established. There are also no bills on waste disposal and waste incineration. The public does not know whether any action regarding these documents is being taken,” notes the expert.

She added that Ukraine is already lagging behind in terms of approximation to the EU directives, which are specified in the Association Agreement.

Finally, the head of the All-Ukrainian Environmental League Tetyana Tymochko pointed out the six main shortcomings of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources:

  1. The Red Book of Ukraine has not been published for 2 years, which contradicts the legislation. Moreover, over the last 10 years not enough money has been spent to assess whether the condition of different species have deteriorated or improved.
  2. The National Report on the State of the Environment has not been issued for 2 years: “We do not see how the situation in this area is changing.”
  3. 50% of the objects of the nature reserve fund of Ukraine are still not subjected to land survey.
  4. Lack of tough response of the Ministry to the mass death of birds in the reserve “Askania-Nova”.
  5. Lack of accounting for losses of natural objects in the temporarily occupied territories: “Unique trees are now being cut down in the Crimean Foros Park.”
  6. Uncertainty of the future nature reserve’s destiny fund after the adoption of land reform.

The format of public discussions includes presentations of the positions of ministry representatives and public sector experts and stakeholders, as well as a moderated discussion of all participants in small groups to develop recommendations. All the proposals from discussions in seven working groups will be submitted to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources for consideration in policy planning and implementation.

The discussion was moderated by Olena Kravchenko, head of the Board of the “Environment People Law” organization.

During the discussion, Deputy Minister Iryna Stavchuk responded to the remarks and proposals made by other speakers and suggested holding a separate discussion on waste management, which was actively supported by all participants of the discussion.

It bears reminding that a public discussion of the priorities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for 2021-2022 took place on March 12.

This public discussion was organized by the Reanimation Package of Reforms Coalition together with the Institute Respublica with the assistance of the National Democratic Institute and with the generous support of the British people through the United Kingdom Good Governance Fund.