Ukraine – EU Cooperation in the spheres of environment protection and climate change
Since 1998 the cooperation between Ukraine and EU in the environmental protection sphere is aimed to fight the deterioration of environmental conditions, and embraces particularly such issues as effective monitoring of the pollution levels and the assessment of the environmental conditions; information system about the environmental conditions; prevention of local, regional and transboundary air and water pollution; recreation of natural state of the environment; sustainable, effective and environmentally secure energy production and its use; environmental security of industrial enterprises; water quality; reduction of volumes and secure utilization of industrial waste; impact of agriculture on the environment; soil erosion and chemical pollution; forests protection; protection of biological diversity and territories, which are under state protection, efficient use of biological resources and their management; global climate changes; environmental education and training; fulfillment of the UN Convention on Environmental Impact in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) etc.
Today, Ukraine-EU cooperation in the field of environmental protection is regulated by the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States. In particular, Chapter 6 "Environment" of the section "Economic and Industrial Cooperation" of this Agreement provides that the parties shall develop and strengthen cooperation on environmental issues and thus contribute to the realization of the long-term goals of sustainable development and the green economy.
The main objectives of Ukraine-EU cooperation in this area include development of an overall strategy on environment, covering planned institutional reforms (with timetables) for ensuring implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation; division of competence for the environmental administration at national, regional and municipal levels; procedures for decision-making and the implementation of decisions; procedures for promotion of integration of environmental issues into other policy areas; identification of the necessary human and financial resources and a review mechanism; development of sector strategies on air quality; water quality and resource management, including marine environment; waste and resource management etc.
According to Annex XXX to the Agreement, Ukraine has to adapt its legislation to 26 directives and 3 EU regulations in the following sectors:
- Environmental management and integration of environmental policy into other sectoral policies.
- Quality of atmospheric air.
- Waste and Resources Management.
- Water quality and water management, including the marine environment.
- Nature protection.
- Industrial pollution and man-made threats.
- Climate change and protection of the ozone layer.
- Genetically modified organisms.
Within the framework of approximation of Ukrainian legislation to EU norms, there is already a tangible result.
- The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Environmental Impact Assessment", which provides an opportunity to implement a progressive, updated and European model of environmental impact assessment in accordance with the requirements of Directive 2011/92/EC on the assessment of the impact of certain public and private projects on the environment , as well as the Law of Ukraine "On Strategic Environmental Assessment" which takes into account the requirements of the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment and Directive 2001/42/EC.
- The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Implementation of Integrated Approaches in the Management of Water Resources Based on the Basin Principle", which introduced the legal bases of integrated water resources management in accordance with the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC. The law also introduced the legal framework for the implementation of Directive 2007/60/EC on flood risk assessment and management.
- The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Drinking Water and Drinking Water Supply", which will establish the legal framework for the implementation of certain provisions of Directive 98/83/EC on water quality intended for human consumption and Directive 91/271/EEC on the purification of urban sewage.
- Within the framework of cooperation in the field of protection and sustainable development of the Dniester river basin, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law of Ukraine "On ratification of the agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of the Republic of Moldova on cooperation in the field of protection and sustainable development of the Dniester basin". This is the first cross-border basin agreement aimed at developing partnerships between states on the introduction of integrated water resources management.
- The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the National Strategy for Waste Management in Ukraine for the period up to 2030, which is a conceptual document that includes: a description of the problems and the state of the art in this area, the goals and principles of policy, the impact of waste on society, measures aimed at waste management, changes that need to be introduced into the legislative system of Ukraine and the structure of power, as well as their financial implications. The strategy contains sections for specific categories of waste: municipal waste (in particular, green waste, biowaste, biodegradable landfills, specific waste fractions), industrial waste, etc. The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the National Action Plan on waste management for the period up to 2030.
- The Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Protection of the Fauna", as well as the Law of Ukraine "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Implementation of European Environmental Norms on the Protection of the Rare Areas of Animals and Plants" which is the protection against the destruction of the habitat (growth) of species of animal and plant life included in the Red Data Book of Ukraine.
- In pursuance of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Protection of Forests under the Framework Convention for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians", which prohibits felling of forests in virgin forests, introduces administrative liability for the destruction and damage of virgin forests.
- In order to form an effective internal climate policy, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the Concept for the implementation of the state policy on climate change for the period up to 2030, which became the first comprehensive regulatory document for many years to improve the current climate change policy, and foresees the development of the Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, and approved the Strategy for Low Carbon Development.
- Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources is actively working on the implementation of a system for monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions in Ukraine. In particular, in accordance with Directive 2003/87/EC on the establishment of a scheme for greenhouse gas emission reductions within the Community the Law of Ukraine "On Monitoring, Verification and Reporting Systems for Greenhouse Gas Emissions" was approved.
- According to the Annex XXX to the Chapter 6 "Environment" of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, as well as requirements of the of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Law of Ukraine "On ozone depleting substances and fluorinated greenhouse gases" was adopted.
- The draft Law on Waste Management was approved in the first reading.
- The draft Law on Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment, the draft Law on Batteries and Accumulators, the draft Law “On the territories of the Emerald Network” are being prepared for consideration in the first reading.
- The draft Law “On restricting the circulation of plastic bags on the territory of Ukraine” is expecting a second reading.
- The draft Law on Prevention, Reduction and Control of Industrial Pollution, the draft Law on State Environmental Control are prepared for the second reading.
On 5 April 2021, the Ministry of Environmental protection of Ukraine presented a draft of the Second NDC of Ukraine to the Paris Agreement. The document proposes at the national level in 2030 not to exceed 35% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels or, in other words, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% in 2030 compared to 1990.
Consultations with the EU on updating Annex XXX and Annex XXXI to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement are currently underway.