New UN report calls for more attention to ecology in Ukraine’s development and international integration processEcological problems remain underestimated and not reflected in state strategy and budget process, specialists say. Low priority of ecological components in the country’s overall national development programmes discourages foreign investors and international funds, according to a new report launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly with the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine. New UN report calls for more attention to ecology in Ukraine’s development and international integration processEcological problems remain underestimated and not reflected in state strategy and budget process, specialists say. Low priority of ecological components in the country’s overall national development programmes discourages foreign investors and international funds, according to a new report launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly with the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine. New UN report calls for more attention to ecology in Ukraine’s development and international integration process Ecological problems remain underestimated and not reflected in state strategy and budget process, specialists say. Low priority of ecological components in the country's overall national development programmes discourages foreign investors and international funds, according to a new report launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly with the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine.

"Despite numerous environmental laws, decrees and regulatory acts, Ukraine did not have until now a holistic national doctrine in the area of environment. This report proposes a policy framework and identifies key priorities of the state in a medium- and long-term perspective," said the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O'DONNELL, speaking during the report's presentation.

Entitled "National Environmental Policy of Ukraine: Assessment and Development Strategy", the study looks at the strengths and weaknesses of Ukraine's national ecology and provides a number of key recommendations and directions to an effective environmental policy. It sets the national environmental agenda in the context of Ukraine's international commitments, including under the Kyoto Protocol on CO2 emissions.

It addresses environmental problems connected with air pollution, waste management and use of water resources. It also examines the issue of biodiversity, ecological education and the role of civil society in protecting the environment.

The report quotes the Index of Ecological Stability published by the World Economic Forum in 2002, according to which Ukraine is on the 137th place out of 142 countries compared. Authors are highlighting high energy consumption in Ukrainian economy, with GDP's ‘energy intensity' nearly 9 times higher in Ukraine than the world average.

The experts raise the issue of presence of nuclear power plants and the fact that between 40 and 45% of energy in Ukraine is still produced by thermoelectric power stations which burn organic fuel, which in turn contributes to the ‘greenhouse' effect.

Total amounts of air pollutions per person in Ukraine are several times higher than in the world's developed countries.
A widely recognized European principle "polluter pays" under which businesses and other entities have to compensate for inflicted ecological damage is not widely applied in Ukraine. Experts argue that the poor quality of air in steel producing areas of the country contributes to an increased number of deaths and genetic diseases, particularly affecting newly-born children. The worst situation concerning air quality is observed in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kryviy Rih, Lviv, Mariupol, Odesa and Zaporizhia.

The report also examines the scarcity of drinking water in Ukraine's rural areas. Due to numerous natural and technological causes, in 14 regions at least 1,228 towns and villages have no access to regular sources of safe water and their residents are left with no choice but bottled water provided by local authorities.

Following the comprehensive assessment of the national ecological potential, the report is defining strategic recommendations for the national policy makers. It suggests mechanisms for rational use and revival of natural resources.

Leadership and political will at the highest levels of Government are crucial, the report argues. Transparent regulatory systems and stronger management efforts to bring about greater accountability are among the many improvements necessary for national sustainable development process to be effective.

The report was prepared within a project funded by UNDP and Global Environment Facility "National Capacity Self-Assessment for Global Environment Management in Ukraine". The assessment and recommendations are a result of research and extensive consultative process co-chaired by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine and the UNDP. The report is the first comprehensive analytical document on environment since 1998 in Ukraine.

The
"National Environmental Policy of Ukraine" document has been prepared by the Advisory Council established in 2005 and co-chaired by UNDP and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine, with participation of senior representatives of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and major ecological NGOs.

High level national (among them 4 former ministers of Ukraine) and international experts were involved in the document's preparation process.

The "National Environmental Policy of Ukraine" is addressed to three audiences: policy and decision makers, civil servants and environment experts, and the general public. For each of these audiences, the report is presented in a different form corresponding with interests and information needs of respective groups.

The longest of the documents is "National Environmental Policy of Ukraine: Assessment and Development Strategy". It aims at government officials and legislators, top managers, state institutions and organizations, students, and all who are deeply interested in ecological management development.

The condensed document, "National Environmental Policy of Ukraine: Strategic Evaluation and Recommendations", is targeted at government officials and managers responsible for drafting Ukraine's national ecological sustainable development policy.

Finally, the shortest document, "National Environmental Policy of Ukraine: General Assessments and Key Recommendations" is an extracted document meant to highlight general findings and evaluations of the national ecological potential, offering key recommendations, and awakening responsibility for the future.

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