Strengthening environmental protections through participatory democracy in Ukraine
An UNDEF project, in Ukraine worked with local people to engage in democratic processes to protect their environment. The project, “Strengthening Participatory Democracy for Effective Environmental Protection in Ukraine”, was implemented by the organization Environment-People-Law. Despite facing intense political instability, such as the outbreak of a revolution in 2013 and military conflict in 2014, the project was successfully completed in January 2016. The project established key networks and partnerships among environmental organizations in Ukraine. It also involved publishing four legislative proposals to advocate for reforms to Ukraine’s environmental policies to promote procedural transparency and public participation.
All of which has led to significant success: less than a year since the project’s completion: on 4 October 2016, the Parliament of Ukraine adopted two laws “On Environmental Impact Assessment” and “On Strategic Environmental Assessment”. These newly instated laws will replace Ukraine’s environmental law which previously followed an outdated model of state environmental expertise and replicate a tested, European-standard of environmental impact assessment into national legislation.
There is still much work ahead, but these legal provisions represent a right step forward in protecting the environment and the people’s participatory rights in Ukraine. It also contributes to advancing global efforts to protect the environment, one of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal: “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”