The conference participants discussed topical issues of environmental control in the context of russian aggression and war. Serious arguments were made for the need to reform the environmental control system, in particular the State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI).
One of the main issues was the discussion of the powers and capacities of the SEI to monitor the implementation of environmental legislation and record environmental damage from military events.
The issue of reforming state environmental control in Ukraine has been a long-standing one, and it is especially acute today in the context of a full-scale invasion and all the environmental consequences that go with it.
UKRAINE URGENTLY NEEDS TO REFORM THE SYSTEM OF STATE ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL –OLENA KRAMARENKO
“The war has posed new challenges to state environmental control and to the State Environmental Inspectorate because some functions have been added that were not inherent before the war. Today, the main function of the SEI is to record the damage and calculate the losses to the state and the environment caused by the full-scale war and russia. And collecting this data and recording these crimes is the main goal of the only body that currently performs this function, the State Environmental Inspectorate,” explained Olena Kramarenko, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine.
They also discussed the work of laboratories, their number, and their principles of operation. It was noted that the collection and analysis of information on the environmental impact of military operations must be properly documented and processed, and environmental inspections play an important role in this process.
RESTORATION OF UKRAINE’S NATURAL SYSTEMS MAY TAKE 60 TO 100 YEARS
“Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, more than 30% of the territory has been mined—more than 180 thousand square kilometers of land, incredibly fertile land, because Ukraine owns one quarter of all the fertile land on our planet. And now this one-fourth of the most fertile land on the planet is being mercilessly destroyed, turned not even into a desert, because a desert is an ecosystem, but simply into scorched earth. This includes Kherson, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, and Donetsk regions,” said Olena Kravchenko, Executive Director of the International Charitable Organization “Ecology-Law-Human”.
The participants of the event noted that the draft law “On State Environmental Control” No. 3091 has been in the Verkhovna Rada for several years and that its adoption could help improve the work of the SEI.
“The Environmental Prosecutor’s Office opens criminal proceedings for environmental damage, but the main burden of collecting evidence falls on the SEI. This is a huge burden. The Prosecutor’s Office has opened 265 proceedings on environmental damage due to the aggression of the russian federation and another 14 cases under the article Ecocide also due to the crimes of russia. Plus, we have heard how many violations are taking place inside the country. We need to provide the SEI with all the opportunities so that it can do its job effectively. The reform is very much needed, it is overdue. As for the law, will it solve all the problems? No, but it will solve some of the problems. The law is a step we will climb,” said Oleg Lystopad, expert of the National Interests Advocacy Network “ANTS”.