Monitoring of the reforms progress based on the analysis of the implementation
of the recommendations of sectoral analytical brief for URC 2021
Section 1. Monitoring of the implementation of recommendations on reform priorities for 2020-2021
1. Accelerating the launch of full-fledged work of the Ministry of Environment
The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine (hereinafter - the Ministry of Environment) was established on May 27, 2020. There are no formal grounds that would hinder the full-fledged work of the newly created ministry.
The Ministry of Environment does not have sufficient institutional capacity to advocate horizontal and sectoral reforms at the government and parliamentary levels. Often, environmental initiatives of the Ministry of Environment are ignored or hampered by competing economic interests.
2. Development and adoption of the national program to increase environmental awareness
A nationwide program to raise environmental awareness of the population has not been developed and adopted. However, in part, the issue of raising environmental awareness is mentioned in the adopted National Strategy for Human Rights. The objectives of the Strategy include raising public awareness of environmental rights, mechanisms for their implementation and protection.
State strategy of regional development for 2021-2027 also provides for ensuring the development of environmental education, educational activities to form a culture of consumption and respect for the environment, raising public awareness of the importance, benefits and tools of sustainable consumption and production, the state and values of biodiversity and measures to be taken to preserve it.
The low environmental priority of the Government’s policy is the reason for not allocating funds from the budget for the implementation of information campaigns to raise environmental awareness of Ukrainian citizens, lack of joint efforts of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science in joint work on environmental education.
3. Adoption of the law on the procedure for environmental control and bylaws for its implementation
On 19 February 2020, the Draft Law on State Environmental Control №3091 was registered in the parliament. On 19 February 2021, the bill was sent for a recurrent first reading. The Ministry of Environment, together with civil society experts, has finalized the bill, which currently it is expected to be submitted to the Parliament for a recurrent first reading.
The process of passing the bill is complex. MPs, other ministries and business make a wide range of comments on strengthening the role of the environmental authority. An alternative bill No. 3091-1, which significantly softens the mechanisms proposed in the original bill, was also registered in the Parliament.
4. Development and adoption of the bill on environmental monitoring
By the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine of March 23, 2021 "On challenges and threats to Ukraine's national security in the environmental sphere and priority measures to neutralize them», the importance of environmental monitoring was reaffirmed and provided for the creation of an effective system of state monitoring of the environment using remote Earth sensing technologies, space control, geophysical, geoinformation technologies.
To this end, the government is instructed to:
develop and approve within three months: strategy for the development of hydrometeorological activities in Ukraine until 2030; strategy of integrated automated radiation monitoring system; the concept of the state target ecological program of environmental monitoring in Ukraine; procedure for radon monitoring in Ukraine and notification of radiation risks; regulations on regional environmental monitoring centers;
submit a draft law on the state environmental monitoring system to the Parliament of Ukraine within six months.
The decision of the National Security and Defence Council is chaotic, unrealistic to implement, not based on analytics, and thus, is not very realistic for implementation.
5. Introduction of an integrated permit
On 29 September 2020, a governmental Draft Law on Prevention, Reduction and Control of Pollution Occurring as a Result of Industrial Activity No.4167 was registered in the Parliament. The adoption of the bill was failed twice. Today, the bill is awaiting a second recurrent reading.
Businesses are significantly resisting the introduction of an effective system for the prevention, reduction and control of industrial pollution. There are three alternative bills registered in the parliament, each of which is significantly softens the mechanisms proposed in the original bill.
6. Extension of liability for environmental offenses to legal entities and ensuring comparability of punishment for the violation
The issue of extending liability for environmental offenses to legal entities is covered by Draft Law on State Environmental Control (see paragraph 3 above).
Issues of increasing the level of punishment for violations of environmental legislation are covered by the approved Concept of draft Laws of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses” and “On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine” to ensure the inevitability of liability for violation of environmental legislation.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection does not see the need to introduce criminal liability for violations of environmental legislation for legal entities. Without this novel, all the initiatives of the Ministry of Environment will only be an imitation of the reform.
7. Adoption of the Draft Law "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Access to Environmental Information and Public Participation in the Decision-Making Process on Environmental Issues"
Such a legislative initiative is provided for in the Association Agreement with the EU. Although the draft law was submitted to the Committee on Environmental Policy of the Parliament in 2020, it has not yet been registered in parliament.
8. Adoption of a package of laws in the field of waste management ("On waste management", "On batteries, batteries and accumulators", "On waste electrical and electronic equipment”, “On packaging and packaging waste”, etc.)
21.07.2020 project Of the Law of Ukraine "On Waste Management" was adopted in the first reading. Consideration of derivative bills - Draft Law on Batteries and Accumulators, Draft Law on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and others have been postponed until the adoption of the framework law on waste management.
On January 16, 2021, a working group "On packaging and packaging waste" was created within the Ministry of Environment. On June 1, 2021, the Parliament adopted the Law of Ukraine “About restriction of circulation of plastic packages in the territory of Ukraine”.
Consideration of the framework bill on waste management is significantly delayed and complicated by the resistance of businesses which do not benefit from the reform. The volume of amendments submitted to the second reading, in fact, blocked the further promotion of framework and derivative bills in the field of waste management.
9. Preservation of the requirement to conduct environmental impact assessment (EIA) before concluding production sharing agreements and before issuing (extension, re-registration, making changes) a special subsoil use permit.
No bill has been registered in the Parliament that would return (establish) the requirement to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) before concluding production sharing agreements. Draft Subsoil Code, published for public discussion in December 2020, also does not provide for EIA before the conclusion of production sharing agreements, although it does provide for EIA before the issuance of a special subsoil use permit
The State Service of Geology and Subsoil (unofficially) and subsoil users (openly) deny the need and possibility of conducting EIA before concluding production sharing agreements and before issuing a special subsoil use permit. Subsoil users play an active role in the legislative process both through relevant associations and through individual lobbyists.
10. Adoption of laws on identification and registration of animals, protection of wild and domestic animals from cruel treatment, prohibition of exploitation of wild animals in circuses and other entertainment events
On April 20, 2021, a Draft Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning the Prohibition of the Use of Animals in Circuses and Other Illegal Entertainment Activities that Include Animals №5406 was registered in the Parliament. On April 21, 2021, a Draft Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Improvement of Legislation on Protection of Animals from Cruelty in Entertainment Activities No.5409 was registered in the parliament. Bills were not submitted for the consideration.
11. Development and approval of the strategy of forestry development, which will provide support and preservation of environmental, social and economic values of forests of Ukraine in the short and long term
The Ministry of Environment has developed a project State Forest Management Strategy of Ukraine until 2035. In November 2020, the project was publicly discussed. To date, the strategy has not been approved. Moreover, the draft strategy covers only 14 years (until 2035), which is not a long-term perspective.
12. Adoption of bylaws for the introduction of accounting and inventory of forests and afforestation of all forms of ownership, taking into account the ecosystem services of forests while making any management decisions
On April 21, 2021, the decree Procedure for conducting a national forest inventory was approved by Government. Regularions on taking into account forest ecosystem services while making management decisions have not been developed or approved.
13. Adoption of the Law on the Territories of the Emerald Network for the execution of obligations for the implementation of environmental conservation of the habitat and poultry directives.
On April 12, 2020, the Draft Law on the Territories of the Emerald Network No.4461 was registered in the Parliament. The bill is awaiting for submission for consideration and adoption.
Section 2. Main challenges in the implementation of the reform as of now (monitoring time)
Despite the fact that the President of Ukraine systematically speaks about the need to hold systemic reforms, the list of strategic documents approved by him is fragmentary. Moreover, as the leader of the dominant party in the Parliament, he cannot influence the adoption of important legislative acts that are under consideration in the Parliament.
It is interesting to note that a number of legislative bills that are not positioned as environmental have been adopted by Parliament and will have a positive impact on environmental reform in general. The Law of Ukraine “About the national infrastructure of geospatial data” is one of such examples.
The vagueness of legislative activity provokes a huge amount of legislative spam (submission of the same amendment to dozens of the MPs), requires time for formal answers instead of real work on law-making.
Cooperation with the expert community is not established and there is a pronounced element of lobbying by large polluters, who have the resources to attract professional lawyers to work on draft acts in their own interests, which are contrary to the interests of the state and society.
Section 3. Recommendations on reform priorities for 2021-2022 (next annual period, for URC 2022)
The monitoring revealed that no significant progress was made in the field of environmental protection during 2020-2021. The recommendations provided for priority actions for 2020-2021 remain relevant in the future.
The priority steps of the reform for the next year should be:
Adoption of the environmental bills that already under consideration in the Parliament. Development and adoption of bylaws in relevant areas.
Development of the bills that do not yet exist (national program to increase environmental awareness of the population, bills on monitoring, legal liability, etc.) and their subsequent adoption by the Parliament.