The Compliance Committee recently considered submitted by the Ukrainian government text of the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” adopted by the Parliament on October 4, 2016. In view of each point of the decision V/9m of the Meeting of the Parties, 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. Back in 2005, the Meeting of the Parties made the first decision on Ukraine’s non-compliance with its obligations within the Convention regarding public participation, which after that were adopted at each subsequent Meeting of the Parties. For over 10 years, Ukraine has been in non-compliance with the Convention, and now for the first time after review of the submitted by the government Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” the Committee concluded that it is sufficient for implementation of the decision on the case initiated by the public back in 2004.
However, the Committee emphasized that in view of the veto imposed on the law by the President of Ukraine, the decision on Ukraine cannot be considered implemented. Ukraine has never been so close to implementation of the decision; in fact, the President’s signature is the only barrier separating the country from the long-awaited result.
In the light of the next Meeting of the Parties to be held in Montenegro in September 2017, the Compliance Committee of the Aarhus Convention warned Ukrainian government about the last chance to remedy the situation. The Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” or other legislative measure with identical content (in the context of the decision V/9m) has to be adopted by 20 February 2017. Otherwise, the Compliance Committee will have to recommend in its draft decision on Ukraine for the next Meeting of the Parties to adopt the decision to suspend the special rights and privileges accorded to Ukraine under the Convention. It is especially regrettable in view of the fact that in the history of the Convention such a strict decision has never been adopted regarding any Party, and Ukraine has all the chances to be the first to win this “anti-award”. Moreover, in view of Ukraine’s failure to launch the institute of environmental impact assessment, the state faces a number of other adverse consequences within the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” calls on high officials to pay serious attention to the text of the Committee’s conclusions, because remarks of the President of Ukraine underlying the veto related among others the procedure of public participation. Nevertheless, the most competent body in this field – the Compliance Committee – found these provisions to be sufficient for implementation in Ukraine of clear and transparent procedures for effective public participation. Full text of the Committee’s conclusions regarding the progress in implementing the decisions V/9m on Ukraine can be viewed here.
International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” addresses members of the Parliament, the Administration of the President of Ukraine and personally Oleksiy Poroshenko with the appeal to immediately review, adopt and sign the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” and in this way save the face of the country in the light of the Aarhus Convention and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.