intro 088On 20 September 2016, a round table and expert discussion of the draft laws on environmental governance took place at the initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and in partnership with Verkhovna Rada Committee on Environmental Policy with the support of the EU-funded project “Support to Ukraine in approximation of the EU environmental acquis”. The round table was organised to discuss with stakeholders the draft laws on Strategic Environmental Assessment (reg. #3259) and Environmental Impact Assessment (reg. #2009 a-д).

The round table included two sessions: high-level panel and expert panel. The high-level panel was moderated by Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine Ostap Semerak. The expert panel was led by people’s deputy of Ukraine, Secretary of the Committee of Environmental Policy, Nature Use and Liquidation of the Consequences of the Chornobyl Catastrope Ostap Ednak.

Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine Ostap Semerak mentioned the following during his presentation: «Environmental impact assessment is not a barrier, but an opportunity for environmentally responsible business to follow transparent rules and get investments. This is not just a formality for the sake of implementation of the Ukraine’s obligations for EU. In reality many international partners consider the status of the implementation by the country of its international obligations. And this concerns not only technical assistance, but also loans for Ukrainian business”.

Besides the Minister the high-level panel included the following speakers: Ivan Rybak, Head of Sub-committee on state environmental monitoring of the Environmental Policy Committee of Verkhovna Rada; Rebecca Harms, European Parliament, Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance; Oleksiy Ryabchyn, Head of Sub-committee on the Energy saving and Energy Efficiency of the Committee of Fuel-Energy Complex, Nuclear Policy and Nuclear Safety; George Kremlis, head of the "Cohesion Policy and Environmental Impact Assessments" Unit of the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission; Torsten Woellert, energy & environment team leader of the European Commission`s Support Group for Ukraine; Peter Vajda, environmental expert of Energy Community Secretariat and manager of «RPR-Environment” Olena Kravchenko.

The round table united the people’s deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, their assistants, representatives of the central executive bodies, local authorities, scientists, EU institutions, international organizations and public.

During the round table it was stressed that it is crucial to adopt by Verkhovna rada of Ukraine of the Laws of Ukraine “On EIA” and “On SEA” and their practical implementation.

Rebecca Harms, European Parliament, Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, Co-chair of Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance mentioned: “From EU perspective… right now is high time to make progress with EIA in Ukraine, it is a time, a period of major change, I hope on major investments also for Ukraine and I hope legislation for environment is ready also to coop with these situations of new big projects and possible investments for this”.

In his turn, George Kremlis, head of the "Cohesion Policy and Environmental Impact Assessments" Unit of the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission stressed that these laws are so important for the country and for its international obligations and that EIA and SEA are priority directives which have to be implemented, transposed in the legal order of Ukraine under Association Agreement.

The meeting was held in very constructive manner and its participants during the discussion had the same opinion regarding the need of the implementation of EIA and SEA as elements of the Ukrainian approximation to the EU legal requirements.

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