WWF applauds environmental objectives of EU Ukraine Plan

Posted on April, 05 2024

WWF acknowledges the strengthened environmental aspects of the Ukraine Plan issued by the government on 18 March in the context of the EU Ukraine Facility, compared to an earlier version leaked in early 2024. However, WWF believes that certain aspects need strengthening during the implementation and revision cycles of the Plan, particularly if Ukraine is serious about acceding to the EU in the foreseeable future. This strategic document outlines how the EU's recently adopted support package of 50 billion EUR, the Ukraine Facility, will be utilized, making it a potential cornerstone for fostering a nature- and climate-positive future for the country.

WWF particularly welcomes the overall environmental objectives outlined in the Ukraine Plan, including the commitment to mainstream climate and environmental considerations and adherence to the principles of "do no significant harm" (DNSH) and "leaving no one behind." The emphasis on promoting organic farming, restoring agricultural soils, reducing agrochemical use, and transitioning to a circular economy approach is commendable. Additionally, aligning governance of state-owned enterprises with EU standards, expanding the network of protected areas, and enhancing transparency in the forestry sector are laudable goals. The Ukrainian government's expressed commitment to ongoing dialogue with civil society is also appreciated.

WWF has identified weaknesses in the Plan, particularly concerning unclear implementation mechanisms that raise doubts about how environmental objectives will be achieved. Inconsistencies are apparent in some areas, such as the target to increase annual timber production conflicting with biodiversity conservation and climate goals. The timeline for achieving climate neutrality by 2060 and the proposed nuclear expansion present significant environmental risks. The focus of the short-term investment plan for biodiversity solely on tourism infrastructure in national natural parks overlooks the need to bolster management capacities in these areas. Moreover, the Plan lacks a robust commitment to reducing derogations for environmental assessments, and it remains unclear if "institutionalized engagement formats" for civil society organizations will align with best EU practices.

For more information, please see a more comprehensive analysis from WWF CEE and WWF Ukraine. 
Fields of wheat in the east of Ukraine.
© Photo by Polina Rytova on Unsplash