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On June 12–13, 2018, at the Club of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine premise Ukraine hosted the Sixth Meeting of the EaP Panel on Environment and Climate Change. Within the framework of the meeting, the results of the project “Monitoring and Assessment of the Implementation by Ukraine of the Luxembourg Declaration Provisions Related to Environmental Governance” were presented (side-event, 12 June at 12.30).

The project was aimed at developing cooperation between public organizations, which are part of two national platforms – the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and the Ukrainian side of the Ukraine-EU Civil Society Platform (EaP CSF and UP CSP) – for the joint advocacy of environmental reform in Ukraine.

The event addressed the challenges that Ukraine faced in the radical reform of its environmental policy and legislation, as well as the shaping of appropriate methods and forms of environmental management. Environmental reforms take place under conditions of transformation, when the old, already established ecological management system and the newly emerging system have to work simultaneously.

Participants agreed that Ukraine needs to form a holistic vision of good environmental governance in dialogue with the public and other stakeholders.

Deputy Minister for Ecology on European Integration Mykola Kuzio said that Ukraine developed and unveiled at October 18, 2017 a Roadmap marking the 1st anniversary of the Luxembourg Declaration on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection and Combating Climate Change, trying to create a comprehensive framework of goals, objectives and results up to 2020 for the reform of environmental governance. It is a living document that provides a platform for dialogue with the public. He also stressed that the main efforts of the Ministry are currently aimed at developing of a new environmental policy with measurable goals, developing laws and regulations & necessary procedures and enhancing institutional capacity. In particular, the operationalization of the laws on EIA and SEA in accordance with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is an important cornerstone of ensuring the European model of good environmental governance.

Achieving good environmental governance means new, open procedures and standards of conduct, distribution of the responsibility for environment at all levels of government, raising the environmental awareness of Ukrainians and their active participation in transformations, strengthening the cooperation with international partners in order to achieve environmental well-being.

Expert Nataliya Andrusevych (RAC “Society and Environment”) presented a study entitled “Good Environmental Governance in Ukraine: Meeting the EU Principles”. The paper considered the challenges for achieving good environmental governance in Ukraine from the perspective of five key criteria: transparency, engagement, accountability, effectiveness and coherence. According to the developed recommendations, in order to achieve good environmental governance in Ukraine, it is necessary to continue and strengthen the public dialogue on good environmental governance in Ukraine, to synchronize actions and measures taken to achieve good environmental governance (in accordance with international commitments, the Eastern Partnership initiatives, implementation the environmental component of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU), to accelerate the pace of environmental protection reforms in accordance with the requirements of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and others.

Expert Anna Golubovska-Onisimova (MAMA-86) presented the results of an independent expert assessment on the implementation of the provisions of the Luxembourg Declaration on good environmental governance by the Ministry of Environment. 

In general, within the authority of the Ministry of Environment, even under the difficult conditions of transformation, the principles of good environmental governance (according to the EU White book on good governance) were assessed as carried out by more than two thirds of maximum possible score. The best performance was demonstrated for Transparency (Openness) and Accountability: 69 and 70% respectively. It should be noted that compliance with these principles depends more on the ministry itself than on other central bodies of the Government or different levels' governments. However, in these categories, it is sometimes impossible to assess only the Ministry of Environment without taking into account the cross-cutting nature of environmental policy and the need for coordination with other governmental agencies, which is, in the majority, remains a weak part for evaluation.

As far as public participation is concerned, it is provided by MoE with two-third of the maximum score (65.6%). The main drawbacks are the lack of public involvement in the preparation of activity reports, the lack of monitoring and evaluation procedures for policy implementation with a certain periodicity (for example, annual reports on implementation/ effectiveness of environmental policy are not being prepared, also not required by the legislation for the time being).The effectiveness of environmental policy remains low (27%), although the goals and objectives of the framework policy will become measurable after the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of an updated Strategy of the State Environmental Policy (provided with progress indicators and targets), however, the function of the planning, supervision of implementation of the environmental policy and results assessment still remains one of many in the ministry, although it should be the only and/or the main. Along with largely insufficient timelines for policy preparation, there is a lack of certain elements, such as the assessment of economic efficiency and the SEA as a whole, which is just beginning to be introduced after the law adoption. Actions (inactivity) at the regional and local levels significantly affect this indicator and are estimated as very low. The rates of ecological payments and fines do not correspond to the cost of natural resources and environmental damage, so do not affect the ecological behaviour of users and offenders, although the Ministry of Environmental Protection has submitted proposals to the Parliament to raise rates. The second component of efficiency, institutional, was not evaluated, since it is too early to set a reference point during transformations when details are not clear, however, it is important to show the direction and include it in the assessment in a future.

Concerning coherence (ecopolicy), the Ministry of Environmental Protection with the result of 67% is trying to raise the political weight of environmental policy and is actively working on its integration. The climate is the best example of the coherence of goals and objectives, and significant progress has been made in developing waste management policies. However, the agrarian sector, hydropower and even more, economic policies, are still far from understanding modern environmental requirements. Also, there is no understanding in the Government of the real cost of introducing EU environmental directives that belong to one of the most expensive sectors of acquis communautaire. The updated Strategy has nevertheless been approved by other members of Cabinet almost without loss of content. The Government regulation provides for the consent procedure of the main ministry with interested ministries, but only the introduction of SEA can finally exclude the adoption of environmentally unfriendly sectoral policies (in case of effective application). Examples of draft laws and adopted policies and legislation show that the President's administration and MPs often ignore the policy framework adopted by the Government, albeit with international requirements, too. Regional authorities (environmental departments of the Regional State Administration) are beginning to coordinate with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, but so far the interaction is not regulated to the extent needed. The decentralization reform almost doesn't take into account the environmental component and local self-government bodies are not yet concerned too.

Expert Tamara Mal’kova (ICO Information Center “Green Dossier”) presented the results of the study “Environmental Policy and Environmental Protection in Ukrainian Mass Media”. An enormous gap between the complicated environmental policy at the national level and awareness of its implications at the level of a small town or family house needs to be eliminated and filled with a real content, among other things, through publication in the various media. Environmental topics are complex. To cover them, one needs to possess both expert knowledge and skills to communicate it to readers or viewers. Therefore, cooperation between journalists and environmental specialists is essential.

We may streamline the process of finding the experts by journalists by developing a database of experts and advising experts of our activities. Journalists should be given an access to our subject discussions or at least be informed of them. The social media may serve a source of much needed comments and analytical materials, and web sites of environmental organizations could provide interesting examples and life stories. Environmental experts may conduct training course for journalists in various formats.

More information (in ukrainian) at: https://mama-86.org/index.php/ua/ekolohizatsiia/diialnist

Good environmental governance in Ukraine: challenges and achievements. Side-event organized by UNENGO MAMA-86 and Ukrainian National Platform of EaP CSF. Flyer

Assessment of the Luxembourg Declaration implementation in Ukraine: Good Environmental Governance. Executive Summary

Good Environmental Governance in Ukraine: Meeting the EU Principles. Executive Summary

Environmental Policy and Environment Protection in the Ukrainian Mass Media. Executive Summary

 

The project “Monitoring and Assessment of the Implementation by Ukraine of the Luxembourg Declaration Provisions Related to Environmental Governance” implemented with the assistance of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation, within the framework of “Public Synergy” project under the auspices of the Ukrainian Side of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform and the Ukrainian National Platform of the Civil Society Eastern Partnership Forum.

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