WWF-Ukraine and the Centre for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction” call for recognition of the crucial role nature and clean technologies must play in ensuring a sustainable recovery from the war.
Bohdan Vykhor, CEO of WWF-Ukraine, said: “While we applaud the Ukrainian Ministry of Environment for planning investments in new protected areas and wildlife bridges, we were disappointed to see no mention at this week’s conference of the importance of avoiding any negative impact of development projects on nature.
For a successful post-war recovery, governments will need to work closely with local civil society to design interventions that allow nature to serve as a cornerstone for peace and sustainability for all Ukrainians. Right now we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Ukraine a global leader in sustainability and show the world how nature can help speed up recovery from the war and improve lives and livelihoods. Nature provides us with a range of critical ecosystem services that the wellbeing of Ukrainian citizens depend on – from the provision of clean water and air to prevention of soil erosion and water resources of agricultural lands. These aspects of sustainability have to be mainstreamed in Ukraine´s recovery plan. It is also critically important that the plan includes a full range of impact assessments, so we can assess the economic, social, and environmental effects of public policy.”
Natalia Gozak, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction”, said: “Together with many other organizations we had a chance to propose our ideas for the National Reconstruction Plan. And even though the process was rather inclusive, we see that the Ukrainian government perceives “environmental recovery” as a way to promote the expansion of the nuclear sector and fossil fuel projects (such as gas exports), with additional focus on hydrogen and bioenergy without saying what it’s made of. We can’t afford continuing our dependency on unsustainable energy solutions. Instead, we should be thinking in the longer term, making sure that Ukraine develops as a modern economy based on sustainable renewables and energy efficiency.”
WWF-Ukraine and Ecoaction saw conference speakers highlight the importance of good governance, which entails adequate public participation, transparency, accountability and conditionality principles. This is what more than 50 Ukrainian NGOs called for previously in the green reconstruction principles.
Both NGOs call on decision makers and donors investing in Ukraine’s recovery to include civil society throughout the development of recovery plans.
Notes to Editors
The Ukraine Recovery Conference took place on 4-5 July in Lugano, Switzerland. Initially, the conference in Lugano had been planned as the 5th Ukraine Reform Conference – an annual high-level political event for Ukraine to present the progress it has made, for international partners to express support, and for all stakeholders to examine what steps to take next to advance the reform process. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine since February, Ukraine and Switzerland jointly decided to proceed with the organization of the conference, but to refocus beyond reforms to concentrate on recovery.