From tomorrow to 1 December the Commission is hosting a high-level conference in Vilnius, Lithuania on the green recovery in Ukraine. Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius will represent the Commission and stress the commitment for a continued cooperation with and assistance to Ukraine in its sustainable reconstruction efforts. Commissioners Wopke Hoekstra and Iliana Ivanova will participate in the event via video messages.
Comprising a policy and a business segment, the conference aims to take stock of the challenges ahead and discuss with Ukrainian policymakers, mayors and businesses the strategies and concrete solutions underpinning a green reconstruction and recovery. The high-level event aims to create a momentum for high sustainability ambition for the benefit of all Ukrainians. In addition to supporting Ukraine’s European perspective, a sustainable recovery and reconstruction is essential to guarantee Ukraine’s prosperity, resource autonomy, and the quality of life of Ukrainians when the war finally ends.
Holistic approach to green recovery of Ukraine
The Conference aims to offer all key stakeholders a holistic approach to the green recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine. The hybrid policy segment on 28-29 November focuses on policymakers and civil society, setting out the overall challenges and presenting the main policy support measures to the green reconstruction of Ukraine and the first concrete results of the PHOENIX initiative, launched by President von der Leyen in February 2023 during a College visit to Ukraine. The initiative aims to help Ukraine rebuild its cities in a high-quality, sustainable and inclusive way with the New European Bauhaus community. High-level personalities, such as Gitanas Nausėda, President of Lithuania, Simonas Gentvilas, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, and Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine will take part in the policy segment, followed by a debate session with Ukrainian mayors.
The business segment from 30 November to 1 December 2023 will introduce specific, applicable solutions in green reconstruction, discuss systemic barriers to the deployment of a more circular and greener economy, and connect companies from the EU and Ukraine.
Damage of the war to the environment in Ukraine
The Commission supports a range of efforts to monitor and record the environmental damage, going much beyond natural areas. Environmental damage from Russia’s war against Ukraine brings devastating consequences for essential infrastructures, natural resources, critical ecosystems and people’s health, livelihoods and security. A green recovery is about remedying that damage and setting Ukraine on a new path of environmental and social sustainability.
Damage of the war to the environment and environmental infrastructures estimated so far:
- Over €52 billion of total damage
- 497 water management facilities damaged or destroyed
- Over €1.4 billion damages in the forestry sector
- 20% of protected areas under threat
- Environmental devastation resulting from the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydropower Plant, the worst man-made disaster since the Chernobyl accident
- Ukraine is now the most heavily mined country in the world.
A press conference by Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius and Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, can be followed on Tuesday at 13h00 CET can be followed here.
The conference comes at a critical juncture, following the adoption of the 2023 Enlargement Package, where the Commission recommended opening accession negotiations with Ukraine. The Ukrainian government is also set to propose by the end of this year an overall plan on recovery and restoration, closely tied to the €50 billion Ukraine Facility proposed by the European Commission and now under adoption.
The Commission is helping Ukraine align its environmental laws with the EU acquis and build administrative structures to enforce and implement this regulatory framework. It is also building coalitions, closely interacting with international partners (such as UNEP, UNIDO, World Bank) and support groups such as the High-Level Working Group on Environmental Consequences from the War.
With the proposed in June this year €50 billion Ukraine Facility over the 2024-2027 period, the EU Ukraine Facility will help rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure, while ensuring that environmental sustainability is considered in future investments.