Ukraine challenge ahead

Anniversary satellite event courts donor support for sustainable initiatives in Ukraine

June 17, 2015
AT THE TABLE: Side event participants mull project strategy in Szentendre.

During last week's celebrations of the REC's 25th anniversary, a satellite event for project donors titled "Local Initiatives for a Sustainable Ukraine" took place. Raffi Balian, head of section in the Regional Environment, Science, Technology and Health Hub Office at the Embassy of the United States in Hungary, used the occasion to invite project donors to join the US initiative to develop 'local environmental and energy action plans' (LEAPs) in Ukraine in order to promote sustainable development, energy diversification and civic engagement in the country.

"Identified problems and challenges are so big that no single donor could deal them alone," Balian exclaimed.

Jon Opem, senior advisor in the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway, followed with a summary of Norwegian support for this new multi-year programme, after which Sergiy Kurykin, deputy minister in the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, argued that a process of decentralisation is crucial for Ukraine and expressed his support for initiatives that the REC has implemented in the country.

MAKING THE CASE: Kurykin (from left), Balian and Lausevic lay out future challenges and opportunities.

"The goal of the framework programme is to contribute to a more participatory and transparent mode of governance that will improve local sustainability planning and resource management in Ukraine, leading to reduced energy dependency," said Lausevic.

High-level representatives from several REC partner countries - including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland and Switzerland - contributed to a discussion on how to  coordinate the approaches of environmental sector donors in the context of the current crisis in Ukraine.