On 19 December 2022, the Ukrainian National Platform Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine held a round-table discussion titled ‘Public Interest and Law as Factors of the Environmental Impact Assessment of State Planning Documents’.
The purpose of the event was to determine the functions and scope of, and criteria for, public assessment of state planning documents in accordance with applicable laws, in particular, the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment Act and the Urban Development Regulation Act.
Leading experts in environmental impact assessment, lawyers and scholars, and campaigners from a number of local communities in the regions where public consultations and hearings of reports on the strategic environmental impact assessment of state planning documents is pending, were invited to join the round-table discussion.
The task of the round-table discussion was that the representatives of the communities receive recommendations and advice from the invited experts on how to understand the tasks and goals of the public when assessing state planning documents and writing comments on a report of the strategic environmental impact assessment of the said state planning documents and how to express their views during public consultations.
The event was organized by the UNP EaP CSF and the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine.
A number of leading environmental experts agreed to participate in the round-table discussion at the preparatory stage. However, due to power outages and communications downtime on the day of the event as a result of the aggressor’s hitting infrastructure facilities, the event had to be postponed, with some of the experts being unable to participate. On 19 December, the event was attended by:
Tamara Malkova, a representative of Working Group 5 “Energy, Transport, Environment and Climate Change” of the Ukrainian-side of the Ukraine-EU Civil Society Platform,
Sofiia Shutiak, a lawyer and a coordinator of the subcommittee on environmental law of the Ukrainian Bar Association,
Yurii Kolmaz, an official of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources,
Dmytro Ivanov, Head of the Kaniv Office, and Heorhii Veremiichyk, Head of Climate (the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine)
The Kaniv community was represented by local campaigners Yurii Hamalii and Yakiv Prohnimak; a number of participants represented other regions of Ukraine.
The case that was used to consider this topic involves the problem of construction of the Kaniv PSP (pumped storage plant), as the public consultations of the Report of strategic environmental impact assessment of the state planning documents related to the construction of the PSP were expected to be held on a recent day. Tamara Malkova outlined the range of problems, including the ill-preparedness of the communities’ for using environmental impact assessments, inadequate local self-government authorities, deficient laws, and poor communication between government authorities and communities. The representatives of the NECU told about the aspects of the problem of construction of the pumped storage plant and threats to the public interest. The speech of lawyer Sofiia Shutiak was deep and meaningful. She explained the essence and significance of the environmental impact assessment and defined important factors that the public should take into account when analyzing documents. A number of important recommendations were made by Yurii Kolmaz. The representatives of the public asked a number of questions to the experts.
Following the round-table discussion, it is planned to prepare recommendations for the communities where the strategic environmental impact assessment will be carried out.
Information provided by Dmytro Ivanov, the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine
If you were unable to join the discussion, please watch the video.
The event is implemented within the framework of the project “Support to the activities of the UNP EaP CSF in 2021-2023”, funded by the European Union, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and implemented by the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting.