Revision of the State Environmental Policy Strategy seems to take too long. In August the Ministry of Environment presented a further draft amendments for public consultations. We consider proposed changes to be weak and failing to ensure strategic planning in environmental protection. The Strategy, as amended, does not offer any targets (except for increasing protected areas share to 10% of the total country area). European experience could have been used when approaching strategic planning for the environment. Citizens, experts and other stakeholders need to know where we move and what we aim to achieve by 2030. In addition, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement requires integration of certain principles of EU environmental aquis, to name a few: polluter pays principle, precautionary principle. The amended Strategy fails to recognize that.
Two draft laws provisionally adopted (in the first reading) mark an important step in implementation of horizontal directives: environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment. The draft laws are now being prepared for the second reading. These draft laws could effectively work in national system and become major milestones in environmental policy reforming progress. Yet, this is true subject to some reservations: the proposed procedures need to be aligned with projects design and permitting procedures, cleared from corruption risks (for EIA) and to cover land planning (for SEA).
Public consultations started in July concerning draft concept for reforming state monitoring system. This is an important development towards upgrading current monitoring system, in particular through transition from inter-agency monitoring to complex assessment and set-up of a unified monitoring network backed by its technical modernization.
In June the Minister of Environment O.Semerak announced his intention to create integrated environmental inspection. The details of this initiative are not public, yet.
In July the Cabinet of Minister approved State program for developing transboundary cooperation in 2016-2020. The programs includes 25 projects of transboundary cooperation to be (co-) funded by state. For example, in environmental area they include: preservation of unique biota and improving water quality in the transboundary river basin in Western Ukraine, infrastructure development of the Yavoriv national park, development of an alternative municipal waste treatment system through waste sorting.