Government adopts new strategy to make Ukraine more resilient to climate crisis

October 21, 2021

Strategy focuses on essential steps to assess climate-change impacts on society, economy and the environment in Ukraine. Adapting sectoral and local policies and making better use of climate data.

Kyiv, 20 October 2021 – The Government of Ukraine has endorsed a new strategy to make Ukraine a more environmentally safe and climate-resilient country, ready to meet the already unavoidable impacts of the global climate crisis in Ukraine.

The Environmental Security and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy of Ukraine until 2030 will also contribute to the delivery of Ukraine's international obligations under the Paris Agreement. It was developed with the support of the EU/UNDP EU4Climate Project, working according to a Decree of the President of Ukraine and the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine of 14 September 2020.

Ambassador Matti Maasikas, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, welcomed Ukraine’s new strategy which will help Ukraine strengthen its resilience to climate impacts.

"In June 2021 a new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change was adopted. The objective is to make Europe not only a climate-neutral, but also a climate-resilient society by 2050," Maasikas noted. "Today, we see how important it is to build a climate-resilient society in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And an operational adaptation strategy is essential to protect nature and people’s livelihoods and well-being. We congratulate Ukraine’s Environmental Security and Climate Adaptation Strategy and are confident that its implementation will contribute to strengthening the global resilience.”

The strategy sets the framework for adaptation action in Ukraine, focusing on essential steps to assess climate impacts on society, economy and nature, integrating adaptation in sectoral and local policies, and ensuring the better use of climate data. It defines ten vulnerable sectors and natural components –biodiversity; water resources; energy; public health; fisheries; agriculture and soils; forestry; cities and territorial communities; transport and infrastructure; coastal areas, and tourism. By 2024, these sectors are to undergo an analysis of their climate vulnerability and the risks they face. Based on this research, vital adaptation measures will be developed and prioritized in sectoral and regional adaptation plans.

The Strategy's Action Plan sets out required changes to legislation, including incorporating climate adaptation in local economic and social development strategies, an environmental assessment process, and an environmental impact assessment process. Adaptation planning should become an integral part of daily planning for local authorities, communities, and businesses.

Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine Roman Abramovsky said the strategy was the first achievement in the long task of adapting Ukraine to the coming changes in the climate.

“We thank the EU and UNDP for being a dedicated partner in setting up an integrated climate adaptation policy in Ukraine," Abramovsky said. "We hope this strategy will support our achievement of the environment-related SDGs, strengthen our adaptation capacity and the resilience of our social, economic and environmental systems to climate change, and improve education and outreach for climate change mitigation, disaster risk reduction and early warning. There is much work to do, but together we have done the groundwork for future efforts”.

The strategy was developed by over 150 members of the Climate Change Adaptation Working Group from ministries, academia, civil society, think tanks and businesses from November 2020 to February 2021. The next vital step in implementing the strategy is to help ministries conduct a climate risks and vulnerability analysis, and for local communities to integrate climate factors into their strategic planning documents.

UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine Dafina Gercheva welcomed the endorsement of the strategy, saying it would prepare Ukraine better for the consequences of climate change on human health, economic sectors and the environment.

"This year’s IPCC report on climate change was nothing less than 'a code red for humanity', as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said," Gercheva said. "And the alarm bells are also ringing for Ukraine: extreme floods, severe droughts, forest fires, storms, hurricanes, heat waves will become more frequent and cost more in terms of human lives and resources. The official number for financial losses to the Ukrainian economy in 2020 from forest fires and floods alone exceeded UAH 26 billion. A compelling adaptation strategy is vital today for Ukraine to stay on the path to achieving Sustainable Development Goals."

Background information

EU4Climate supports governments in the six EU Eastern Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) take action against climate change and move towards a low-emissions and climate-resilient economy. Funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UNDP, EU4Climate supports countries in implementing the Paris Agreement and improving climate policies and legislation with an ambition of limiting climate change impact on citizens’ lives and making them more resilient to it.

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