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Ukraine has the unique status of being home to some of the richest natural environments and resources in Europe while at the same time being one of the most heavily polluted countries in the region. Ukraine is one of the least energy efficient countries in the world.

Effective management of natural resources and environmental protection are essential to preserve life-supporting biological systems, improve the quality of life and reduce poverty in Ukraine. Poor environmental management in the past has resulted in an increased number of natural and man-made disasters in recent years in Ukraine, and worsened the health of the population. At present, 40% of the total territory of Ukraine is now eroded land, and is growing at approximately 80,000 hectares annually. At the same time, it has many natural assets in biodiversity and international waters of global importance and its industrial activities and energy consumption practices have important implications for global climate change.

What We Do

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UNDP's environmental programme is addressing the issues through national and subregional activities, advocating the limitation of greenhouse gas emission through energy efficiency initiatives in district heating systems and promotion of renewable energy. Key international waters including the Dnipro and Danube Rivers and the Black Sea are the focus of sub-regional interventions, in cooperation with the Global Environment Facility. A Strategic Action Plan for the Dnipro was developed, and regional projects on pollution reduction are being implemented for the Black Sea and the Danube. The partners and agencies in the Danube/Black Sea initiative are looking at a new strategic programme including capital investments, enforcement of environmental legislation and strengthening of public participation, which will be supported by UNDP. Additionally, UNDP is supporting interventions in integrated land and water management, and forest and mountain ecosystems.

Ukraine is actively involved with international environmental issues and is a party to 19 international conventions and protocols. Participation in multisided multi-party agreements gives the country a chance to play an active role in the international negotiation process, and attract financial support for solving acute internal ecological problems. Multi-sided international agreements (conventions, protocols, and agreements) are the only real methods of averting and solving global environmental problems. The main directions for multi-direction cooperation are protection of biological diversity; protection of Trans boundary water flows and international lakes; climate change; protection of the ozone layer; protection of the atmosphere; waste management; and assessment of environmental impact.

Ukraine's soil is widely recognized as a major national asset thanks to its tremendous fertility and outstanding agricultural qualities. According to data compiled by the State Committee for Statistics, agriculture currently occupies 72% and forests 17.2% of the total land area (60.4 million ha). However, Ukraine is one of the countries that exemplify the seriousness of land degradation in the region as described in the Regional Implementation Annex for Central and Eastern Europe, of the Convention.

UNDP Ukraine assisted the Government of Ukraine in strengthening its capacity building to meet Ukraine's obligations under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, adoption of National Action Programme to combat desertification and land degradation, distribution of the information on issues of desertification and land degradation in Ukraine, raising public awareness, introducing resources-saving technologies, conducting trainings and seminars for authorities, private sector, including farmers, NGOs, etc.

UNDP is supporting the Government of Ukraine to establish a National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in part to fulfill the country’s obligations to the Hyogo Framework for Action. UNDP is also working with the Government of Ukraine in developing a national strategy for disaster risk reduction.

Harmonization of Ukrainian practices with EU environmental legislation standards, and guidelines are essential in view of the objective of integration. This is being achieved through application of international experiences in pollution control, promotion of bottom-up initiatives in communities and regions, and development of environmentally sound practices, integrated ecosystems management, waste management, and ecotourism.

Sustainable development is an integral part of UNDP in Ukraine's primary goal of poverty alleviation, as a healthy environment can allow for a healthier society, both physically and psychologically, and thus develop confidence in individuals to take charge in developing their communities and, hence, reduce poverty.