Strilets boasts of Ukraine's progress in European integration in the environmental sphere: environmentalists are outraged

Strilets boasts of Ukraine's progress in European integration in the environmental sphere: environmentalists are outraged

Valentina Gembarska

The interview received a flurry of criticism online

The Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ruslan Strilets has boasted that Ukraine has adopted 13 European integration laws in the field of environmental protection in 2022-2023.

In an interview with Ukrinform, the official boasted of achievements in bringing environmental legislation closer to European norms and standards. EcoPolicy has prepared a brief summary of the interview for its readers.

The minister noted that according to the European Commission, Ukraine's progress in 2022-2023 alone is 4 points out of 5 possible:

  • law Law "On Ensuring Chemical Safety",
  • ratification of the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Protocol on Liability and Compensation,
  • approval by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Water Strategy until 2050,
  • approval by the Ministry of Environment of the necessary changes to the state environmental monitoring system,
  • launch of waste management reform,
  • the inclusion of Ukraine (which does not yet have the status of a member of the EU) to the LIFE program,
  • Ukraine obtaining official observer status in the Seville process.

Reform of industrial pollution

"In May of last year, under our advocacy, in the first reading, people's deputies approved draft law 6004-d, which will allow implementing the provisions of Directive 2010/75/EU and will launch the eco-modernization of industry using the best available technologies and management methods (BTM)," the minister notes.

It should be noted that the document was heavily criticized by both business representatives and environmental activists. In particular, almost a year has passed since the vote in the parliament, and the document has not yet reached the second reading.

Launch of the National Register of Emissions and Transfer of Pollutants

The minister noted that the Register was created by analogy with the European one. According to him, the online procedure is even simpler and more convenient in Ukraine, compared to the European one. In two years, the Ukrainian Register is planned to be integrated with the European one.

Participation in the global climate discussion

During the war in 2022, for the first time in history, Ukraine presented its pavilion at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27. At COP28 in Dubai, representatives of the Ministry of Environment presented Ukraine's new climate policy.

"We have already prepared drafts of the main climate law of Ukraine and the Strategy for the implementation of state policy in the field of climate change until 2035. We are finalizing the implementation of the system for monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions, we are digitizing its last element – the submission of reports by plant operators," said Strilets.

Another achievement the official calls the opening of the Climate Office, for which Ukraine received EUR 3.5 million from the EU.

The Minister adds that in the near future there are plans to launch the emission quota trading system, which is a preparatory stage for Ukraine to enter the borders of the ETS mechanism.

Subsoil use

The Ministry of Environment has completed the reform of subsoil use, as part of which it modernized the rules of the sector, bringing them closer to EU standards. It is noted that since 2023, receipts to the state budget from the granting of special permits for the use of subsoil have reached record levels UAH 2.85 billion.

Waste management reform

In June 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the European integration framework law No. 2320 "On waste management".

"For its provisions to work in practice, we have already come a long way: more than 20 resolutions have been developed and adopted by the Government. The Ministry has approved a dozen orders for the implementation of European requirements for waste treatment facilities," Strilets added.

Also, the draft law "On packaging and packaging waste" is already under consideration in the Verkhovna Rada , which for the first time introduces a model of extended producer responsibility in Ukraine.

It should be noted that waste management experts have repeatedly publicly described the contradictions that exist in the law "On Waste" and called for their elimination.

Forest reform

164 state forestry enterprises were united into a single state-owned enterprise "Forests of Ukraine", and instead of 24 regional forestry and hunting departments, 9 interregional departments of the State Forestry Agency were created.

"The results of the reform can be seen in a few specific figures – Last year, State Enterprise "Lisa Ukrainy" increased its profit by more than two times to UAH 3 billion. The budgets of all levels received a record 10.5 billion UAH in taxes," the minister added.

It should be noted that corruption in the forest sector did not disappear anywhere, but on the contrary, gained huge proportions during the war. In particular, you can read about the latest blatant case of felling hundred-year-old oaks in the Chernobyl reserve at link.

Ecocontrol reform

The minister noted that the issue of reforming the State Environmental Inspection is back on the agenda in Ukraine.

"The strategy for reforming the system of state environmental control and the operational plan for its implementation in 2024-2026 have already passed public discussion and will soon be presented to the Government for consideration," said Strilets.

The reaction of the environmental community

The interview received a flurry of criticism online. Most of the participants in the environmental discussion doubted the real results of the work of the Ministry of Environment.

"And if not about the processes, but about the results of "flywheels" and reforms? Responsibility of the Ministry of Environment: NPA under the framework law "On waste" failed! Are 2 lost years the result? And how is the "active work" with asbestos-containing substances going? Apart from the good ones posts on the networks? And the truth is that while the war is going on, the Ministry of Environment is plunging the country into waste dumps... And everyone understands and sees it...", said PAEW President Lyudmila Tsyganok.

"We adopted the necessary changes regarding the state environmental monitoring system and a number of documents on improving air quality." And despite all the arguments, they took a categorical position according to which these changes will enter into force six months after the end of the war. And even in the year allocated by the Verkhovna Rada, they did not manage to develop a by-law," added former Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection Mykhailo Khorev.

Previously, EcoPolitic wrote about how the reform of eco-control is currently taking place in Ukraine.

Environmentalists oppose completion of Khmelnytsky NPP
Environmentalists oppose completion of Khmelnytsky NPP

This position was supported by 19 public organizations, associations and centers of environmental orientation in an appeal to the country's leadership

The Verkhovna Rada's Environmental Committee has scheduled a meeting for May 24: agenda
The Verkhovna Rada's Environmental Committee has scheduled a meeting for May 24: agenda

People's deputies will consider 2 profile draft laws, make their proposals regarding changes to the Code of Administrative Offenses and discuss two questions about letters

Agenda of the parliamentary environmental committee for March 14
Agenda of the parliamentary environmental committee for March 14

People's deputies will consider 2 profile draft laws, subject to the opinion of the scientific and expert administration

The draft law "On Packaging and Packaging Waste" may be adopted in 2024 – Bondarenko
The draft law "On Packaging and Packaging Waste" may be adopted in 2024 – Bondarenko

A new version of the document should be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada in the near future