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The GEF and Ukraine: 25 year-olds jointly overcoming environmental challenges

October 3, 2016

Dnipro river and bridge in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Dnipro river and bridge in Kyiv, Ukraine.

By Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ukraine

The Ukraine, as an independent country, is the same beautiful age of 25 years as the GEF. It split away from the Soviet Union in 1991, the year that the Global Environment Facility was established to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues.

Since then the GEF has been providing significant support for reforming Ukraine's environmental sector, demonstrating and piloting new environmental principles and methodologies in the fields of biodiversity conservation, integrated water resources management, energy saving, nutrients and POPs reduction, climate change etc.  Applying these new methods became a background for developing a new national, sound environmental policy compliant with the main international conventions and helped to build the country's capacity to pave its way towards sustainable development despite its economic difficulties. The first steps towards integrated water resources management of the Dnipro, Dniester and Tisza river basins, with GEF support, for example, led to the development of a new Program of Water Resources Management until 2020 and further amendments to the Water Code. In total more than 50 projects have been implemented in Ukraine: many more are planned for the future.

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (the authority in charge of cooperation with the GEF) confirms the importance of further such cooperation for Ukraine. Only actions coordinated at the highest international level and implemented practically at national and local levels are effective in improving the condition of the global environment.