UNDP mainstreams Rio Conventions implementation at the regional level

Jun 1, 2016

Millions households in Ukraine, particularly living in rural areas, rely directly on natural resources for their livelihoods. But human activities affect the state of environment in many ways, thus negatively impacting the ecosystems, causing biodiversity loss, exhausting natural resources and polluting air, water, soils. Desertification and land degradation are problems of global concern, and they appear to be an emerging issue for Ukraine too. Greenhouse gas emissions is another global threat, but its consequences are vivid also in Ukraine.

Three UN Conventions, on Climate Change, Biological Diversity and Desertification - address these threats.

UNDP is promoting implementation of these conventions at policy level and by enhancing capacities of local Government and spreading knowledge on threats and ways to overcome or even better – to prevent them. Among recent initiatives of UNDP in Ukraine – launching of three regional projects. We are pleased to share brief outline of what they are aiming to achieve.

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Restoration of lands destroyed due to illegal excavation of natural resources is extremely essential for preservation of ecosystems. Natural self-recovery of ecosystems can require decades. Forests in Polesia, which is one of the largest forest areas on the continent stretching to lands in Western Ukraine, are vulnerable to land degradation, while they are unique natural habitat for rare species of plants and animals. Forests perform many functions: they reduce greenhouse gases, they naturally control climate and are valuable in terms of natural resources. Unfortunately, so far in Ukraine there is a lack of effective re-cultivation practices and there is a need to pilot different approaches and mainstream them.

To this end, UNDP has launched a demonstration project on recovery of territories affected by illegal extraction of amber. The project is implemented at the oxbow of Uborot river, near valuable natural preserves, and it will combine scientific research and knowledge sharing component. It is expected that local communities will be engaged in project implementation. Another significant output of the project – development of methodological recommendations on restoration of affected sites in protected areas, which will be presented to the local authorities.     

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The second initiative is establishment of the Center of Best Practices of Sustainable Development in Ukraine, with the aim to promote knowledge of sustainable development and facilitate integration of Rio Conventions into national legislation, as well as into regional and local development plans. Apart from setting up the center, a range of educational activities is planned, such as workshops for local authorities, private sector, educators. The key focus will be on preservation and revitalizing of environment, waste management, protection of endangered species and biodiversity, rational use of natural resources by local communities, optimizing land use and safe treatment of pesticides. The Center will be located in village Bygraiv, Cherkasy oblast.

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Armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine has resulted in loss and damage of infrastructure, residential and industrial buildings, as well as in negative impact on the environment. Restoration of eastern regions of Ukraine will require much time and efforts and it should be based on balancing economic advantages with social and environmental benefits (which is a core principle of sustainable development). Recently UNDP has supported the idea of setting up the Center for Recovery of Eastern regions of Ukraine on the principles of sustainable development in Sloviansk. The center will serve as a platform for exchange of data about facilities and sites which are damaged and require restoration; information about ongoing technical assistance projects in this area. At the same time the center will be an information hub for local governments, donor organizations, NGOs. This project will integrate research, information and demonstration components. It is believed that this initiative will allow to collect and spread best practices of restoring communal sector, environment, social infrastructure.   

Importantly, all three projects will contribute to implementation of globally adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ukraine.

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