The challenges faced by Ukraine in the sphere of environmental protection are the following:
• increasing efficiency and optimizing public administration,
• systematic eradication of corruption,
• optimization of controlling and regulatory burden on business,
• implementation of international commitments undertaken by Ukraine,
• ensuring the rights of Ukrainian citizens in terms of access to environmental information and participation in decision-making defined by Principles 10 of the “Declaration of the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro” and ratified by Ukraine Aarhus Convention on Access to Information , Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
These challenges necessitate fast implementation of systematic reforms in the sphere of management of environmental protection.
Modern public administration in any sphere is impossible without wide use of information technologies (“electronic governance”) meant to ensure:
- Effective realization by public authorities of their defined by legislation functions.
- Simplification of communication between authorities and economic entities, in particular regarding administrative services, reporting procedures etc.
- Ensuring access to information for the public and other interested parties both via ensuring access to open information services and providing information in electronic form in reply to information requests.
In terms of functions, state environmental protection governance in Ukraine is divided among various bodies of executive authorities:
- The permit system is mostly within the competence of regional state administrations, some functions are performed by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine and State Service of Geology and Minerals of Ukraine;
- Licensing system – the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine.
- Reporting – statistics agencies, State Water Agency (regarding use of water resources) and State Agency of Geology and Minerals (use of minerals).
- Control of compliance with environmental legislation – State Environmental Inspectorate.
- Monitoring – there are a number of subjects of monitoring under auspice of the Ministry of Environment of Ukraine.
- Taxes for use of natural resources and pollution of the environment – State Fiscal Service etc.
Currently the above enlisted authorities lack systematic exchange of data in electronic form, which leads to low efficiency of public administration, excessive authorization and control burden on businesses and inability to provide the public and other interested parties with qualitative environmental information.
Such a situation is caused by the following factors:
- Lack of procedures and mechanisms of integrating data possessed by public authorities caused by lack of unified national classifiers, procedures and standards of systematic information exchange in electronic form.
- Duplicating of certain functions of authorities.
- Application of regulatory functions mostly regarding businesses (legal and physical units) without a complex approach to an object that uses natural resources and (or) causes adverse impact on the environment.
- Narrow departmental approach to environmental protection governance on behalf of majority of authorities.
Integration of public administration in the sphere of environmental protection should be performed in a complex way both in certain branches (ambient air protection, waste management, protection and rational use of water resources, minerals use etc) and with regard to functional directions (permits, reporting, monitoring and other functions).
The above mentioned integration should be performed by the following means:
- Introduction of unified national classifiers in the sphere of environmental protection that are compatible with relevant EU classifiers;
- Development and introduction of a unified national system of identification of objects that have or may have impact on the environment as well as monitoring objects.
- Development of open standards and launching systematic exchange of information in electronic format among authorities, businesses and other parties concerned including the public.
- Development and implementation of specialized software based on the above enlisted points.
A prerequisite for proper result should be introduction of parallel amendments to the legislation requiring subjects of information relations in the field of environmental protection to perform basic functions and procedures solely on the basis of the above decisions.
In order to ensure launching and maintenance of electronic governance in the field of environmental protection we recommend the following steps:
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine jointly with the State Service of Statistics of Ukraine – to review and implement unified state classifiers and reference lists in the sphere of environmental protection with account taken of identical classifiers and reference lists used in the EU countries.
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine jointly with the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine and State Statistics Service – to develop and implement a unified state system of identification and codification of objects that have or may have adverse impact on the environment.
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine – to develop and implement the state codification system of grounds of monitoring environmental indices.
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine jointly with the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine, State Statistics Service and State Agency for Electronic Governance of Ukraine – to develop standards of open formats of environmental information sharing and ensuring access to such information for stakeholders.
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine jointly with the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine and State Statistics Service – to review the templates of the permit and reporting systems as well as control systems in the area of environmental protection and rational use of natural resources with the aim to implement the above mentioned classifiers and identification systems .
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine jointly with the State Statistics Service – to review templates of primary record documentation, the procedure of developing methods for determining specific indicators of environmental impact for main production processes.
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine jointly with the State Agency for Electronic Governance of Ukraine – to develop and implement integrated electronic services for obtaining permit documents and submitting reports by nature users.
- For the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine jointly with the State Agency for Electronic Governance of Ukraine – to develop and implement electronic services for providing the public and stakeholders with environmental information.