European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius meets with round table with civil society representatives in Kyiv , February 17, 2023

As part of the visit of the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, to Ukraine on 17 February 2023, the European Commissioner met with the representatives of public organizations and think tanks.

The meeting initiated by Virginijus Sinkevičius was devoted to the discussion of environmental reforms in Ukraine and preparation for the green recovery of our country.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of member organizations of Working Group 3 “Environment, Climate Change and Energy Security” of the Ukrainian National Platform.

  • National Ecological Centre of Ukraine
  • International Charitable Organization “Information center “Green Dossier”
  • DiXi Group
  • Environment-People-Law (EPL)

In particular, the Platform’s National Coordinator Ruslan Havryliuk and Working Group 3 Coordinator Nataliia Andrusevych took part in the meeting.

Virginius Sinkavičius noted the importance of involvement of the civil society in the planning of Ukraine’s reconstruction. The EU’s Phoenix Initiative was introduced. It is expected that EUR7 million will be allocated for the green reconstruction of Ukrainian cities as part of the Initiative by December 2023.

In their dialogue, the representatives of the public and the European Commissioner paid a special attention to the EU’s recent assessment of the progress Ukraine has achieved in the approximation of its laws with the Acquis Communautaire. Ukraine was awarded the lowest possible score in Environment and Climate Change,gaining just one of five possible points. However, the European Commissioner pointed out that the assessment was based on the data received before Ukraine was granted the status of a candidate state for acquiring the EU membership and does not take into account changes that have occurred recently. Thus, the European Commissioner concluded that Ukraine continues to implement European reforms in wartime conditions.

The generally critical assessment of the Ukrainian authorities in the area of environmental protection that the representatives of the public voiced during the meeting primarily concerns primarily the transparency of, and access to, information, the actual lack of environmental monitoring and the weak capability of recording offences of the Russian aggression, etc. However, the main drawback relates to the weak institutional capacity of the relevant Ministry, resulting in, among other things, inadequate cross-sectoral environment and climate components of the Government’s draft plan for the recovery of Ukraine. On the other hand, the public supported its criticism with constructive proposals.

The representatives of the Ukrainian National Platform presented and provided to Virginius Sinkavičius a position paper titled “Post-War Recovery of Ukraine Must be Green” and an analytical document titled “Post-War Recovery of Ukraine: Rebuilding for a Better Future”, which was widely presented last month. During the meeting, the authors of the above documents noted the need to create a new vision of the future of Ukraine, which should provide a basis of the reconstruction process. They pointed out that such vision should be ‘green’ to ensure that Ukraine become an environment-friendly state in the future.

Nataliia Andrusevych emphasized the need to generate a common vision of environmental and climate reforms for the European and Ukrainian parties and a need for the EU law to be implemented and introduced at all levels in a comprehensive and full manner.

Ruslan Havryliuk underlined the importance of the European Union’s support to Ukraine’s green recovery thereby contributing to an increased general stability and security in Eastern Europe where Ukraine is expected to become a new regional leader to contribute to the strengthening of the EU’s stability. The National Ecological Centre of Ukraine also emphasized the importance of supporting the initiatives of public documentation and assessment of damage the war has caused to the environment and pointed to the inadmissibility of implementing major and vulnerable energy projects of large-scale environmental impacts, such as the Kaniv and Tashlytska PSPs.

The information was provided by Ruslan Gavryliuk, UNP EaP CSF Coordinator

photo European Union, 2023