In April 2017 the Ministry of Environment of Ukraine presented a draft Marine Strategy and started public consultations on the annotated version of the draft. These developments stem from implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EU. According to Annex XXX of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, Ukraine’s marine strategy must be developed by November 2018, and the directive to be implemented by November 2021. 

The directive establishes a common approach and objectives for the prevention, protection and conservation of the marine environment against damaging human activities. It requires countries to develop strategies to achieve ‘good environmental status’. The directive contains a set of 11 qualitative ‘descriptors’ for EU countries to consider when devising their strategies to achieve good environmental status of their waters, covering 60 indicators in total.

Implementing the directive by Ukraine poses a number of challenges. In particular, Ukraine needs to introduce a revised marine environment monitoring system to cover all good environmental status indicators, carry out monitoring of the exclusive economic zone, describe conditions relevant for Azov and Black seas.

Yet, the directive’s implementation in the EU varies among the member states. This opens a way for Ukraine with new opportunities for a joint work with EU member states and paving the way for achieving good environmental status of the Black and Azov seas.