On October 4th the Parliament adopted three laws, which are supposed to significantly change key approaches to environmental regulation of state planning and business activities in Ukraine, including in the field of water resources.

These are the laws on Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment, and River Basin Principle in Water Management. All these developments had been waiting for political will by the government and parliament, so their adoption was a personal breakthrough of Ostap Semerak, the 
Ministry of Environment of Ukraine.

Adoption of these laws was probably the first real impact by European integration process on environmental protection in Ukraine. A number of civil society organizations and the EU Delegation to Ukraine sent greetings to the government on this occasion. Our experts have rather moderate opinion on these developments and their viability. It is clear that adoption of the laws is the first step on the way to practical implementation of these instruments in Ukraine. There are further decisions to be adopted by the government and the ministries, as well as a need for capacity building and awareness raising.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Environment will try to get maximum benefits from the very fact of adoption of these laws. That includes demonstrating progress in implementation of the Association Agreement and Energy Community obligations, lifting sanctions under the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions.