On the eve of the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention, Environment-People-Law (hereinafter – EPL) wishes to express its position as to the draft decision on general issues of compliance, particularly with regard to the issue of Ukraine’s compliance with the Aarhus Convention.
EPL is the Communicant on the ACCC case with regard to Ukraine that led to a number of decisions on non-compliance (including decision V/9m). However, today we strongly believe that the recent progress Ukraine made in implementation of the recommendations of the Compliance Committee is tremendous and Ukraine is duly considered to be back in compliance with the Aarhus Convention.
The Compliance Committee has analyzed the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” passed by the Parliament on October 4th, 2016 (subsequently vetoed by the President). In view of each point of the MOP decision V/9m, the Committee assessed relevant provisions of the law and made a conclusion that they are sufficient for full compliance with all requirements of the decision on Ukraine. For over 10 years, Ukraine has been in non-compliance with the Convention, yet in 2017 for the first time after review of the law the Committee concluded that it is sufficient for implementation of the decision on the case initiated in 2004. The Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” was adopted again by the Parliament of Ukraine on May 23rd, 2017. It was signed by the President and entered into force in due course.
As of today, according to the Compliance Committee’s and EPL’s views, provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” are sufficient for implementation in Ukraine of clear and transparent procedures for effective public participation in environmental decision-making with regard to Article 6.
It is clear that the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” will only become operational in a few months and there is a high chance that the practice will lag behind, yet these considerations shall not govern the MOP-6 decision on compliance by Ukraine.
As the Compliance Committee has repeatedly made clear, finding that a Party has fulfilled the requirements of a MOP decision in no way precludes the Committee from again examining that Party’s legislation or practice concerning the same issue in a future case if evidence is put before it to show that that legislation does not in fact meet all the requirements of the Convention or is not being applied in practice in accordance with the requirements of the Convention.
Taking into account that actions taken by Ukraine in the view of the Communicant and the Compliance Committee fully addressed the recommendations contained in the decision on compliance, EPL supports the current draft decision on general issues of compliance (see para. 15 of draft decision VI/8 on general issues of compliance, ECE/MP.PP/2017/19).
EPL also expresses its hopes that the regulations currently being developed by the Government implementing the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” would uphold its values and follow its logic. EPL in its turn will continue to zealously protect and promote the Aarhus principles in Ukraine and, if needed, is ready to bring a new communication.
For further information please contact
executive director of EPL,
head of information and analitycal department of EPL