Ukraine Facility: a chance for sustainable development if implemented right


WWF Central and Eastern Europe applauds the recent adoption of the Ukraine Facility by the European Parliament and Council. The new dedicated instrument of the EU will support Ukraine's recovery, reconstruction and modernisation, while supporting its efforts to carry out reforms as part of its accession path to the EU.

This landmark decision not only underlines the EU´s strong support for Ukraine and its struggle to defend common values; it also marks a significant chance for advancing sustainable development, environmental protection, and climate resilience in Ukraine. WWF welcomes the fact that the final text of the Ukrainian Facility was adopted in line with the principles and recommendations suggested by environmental NGOs.

The adoption of the Ukraine Facility brings forth several crucial amendments that underscore the European Union's commitment to promoting environmental sustainability and supporting Ukraine's transition towards a greener future. Among the key amendments are:

1. Environmental safeguards and policy cohesion. The incorporation of the Do No Significant Harm (DNSH) Principle underscores the importance of minimizing negative impacts on the environment and biodiversity when pursuing development projects. Investments will also have to be aligned, to the extent possible, with the EU climate and environmental acquis and be consistent with the implementation of the Ukrainian National Climate and Energy Plan.

2. Earmarking of funds for the environment. Allocating 20% of funds from both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 for climate, environment, and green objectives demonstrates a strong commitment to addressing pressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainable practices.

3. Alignment with International Agreements. Multiple mentions of compliance with Ukraine's commitments under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the Paris Agreement goals, and the EU climate and environmental acquis highlight a concerted effort to uphold international environmental standards and agreements.

4. Support for biodiversity. Increased mentions of biodiversity demonstrate a recognition of the importance of preserving biodiversity for the well-being of present and future generations.

5. Participation. Emphasizing meaningful participation and consultation of stakeholders, including civil society organizations (CSOs), underscores the importance of inclusive decision-making processes and community engagement in shaping environmental policies and initiatives.

In order to ensure that these amendments will come to full fruition, environmental CSOs are calling for the swift development of guidelines for applying the DNSH principle in Ukraine under the current circumstances and for conducting meaningful public consultations. Another important success factor will be to fully apply Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments.

WWF-Ukraine is committed to actively engaging in the implementation of the Ukraine Facility Regulation, leveraging the organisation´s expertise, networks, and partnerships to support sustainable development and environmental conservation efforts in the country. We believe that by working collaboratively with stakeholders and adhering to principles of transparency, accountability, and inclusivity, we can achieve lasting positive impacts for people and nature.

We extend our gratitude to the European Council, European Parliament and EU Commission for their leadership and support in advancing environmental sustainability in Ukraine, and we look forward to contributing to the realization of the Ukrainian Facility's objectives and future reform plan.