In a letter to Prime Minister Denys Shmygal and Verkhovna Rada Speaker Dmytro Razumkov, MEPs call for the inclusion of environmental issues in the political agenda, namely: environmental cost of the timber industry, the flawed execution of the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and the lack of safety of environmental activists.
The letter written on the initiative of MP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Deputy Head of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee. It was supported by 25 of her colleagues from the European Parliament.
“According to estimates by the British NGO EarthSight published in 2018, 40% of the Ukrainian wood exported to the EU is harvested or traded illegally. While we welcome and support foreign and domestic investments into Ukrainian economy, the environmental cost caused by excessive logging and air pollution through the timber industry must be taken into account by the competent authorities”, – the statement said.
One of the reasons for this is the imperfection of the implementation of Ukrainian environmental legislation, in particular the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment.
The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment, adopted in 2017, was a requirement under the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. The European Community has made considerable efforts to develop and implement it. We hope that Ukrainian government officials and MPs will respond and ensure its full implementation. This is extremely necessary for the effective protection of the environment and the safety of communities,” – comments Andrii Martyniuk, Executive Director of the Ecoclub NGO (Rivne, Ukraine).
Just now Ecoclub is in litigation with the company, which is owned by the international corporation Kronospan, which is building a woodworking plant near Rivne and plans to invest 200 million euros. Representatives of the Ecoclub received the lawsuit for their comments during the public discussions of the environmental impact assessment report. MEPs are outraged by this fact, classifying it as a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
Thus, the following measures are advised to be developed for the proper implementation of the Law on EIA:
1. Establishment of EIA expert groups with involvement of independent experts to assist competent authorities in the decision-making process
2. Development of subordinate legislation on EIA including official guidelines for different project types
3. Securing high-quality EIA conclusion reports through the involvement of expert groups and civil society organizations
In the letter, MEPs ask Ukrainian government officials and parliamentarians to correct the imperfections of the environmental impact assessment so that these procedures meet the requirements of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. And also to create such legal frameworks which would guarantee safety to activists.
Inna Mulyavka, press secretary of the NGO “Ecoclub”,
067 363 40 97, firstname.lastname@example.org