UNDP helps launch art exhibition depicting war's environmental toll

As Ukraine marks the sombre two-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion, a poignant art exhibition aims to promote an environmentally conscious recovery in Ukraine.

February 28, 2024
Photo: Ksenia Nevenchenko / UNDP in Ukraine

KYIV, 28 February 2024 – An art exhibition, "Nature and Culture: Portraits of Ukrainian Identity" opened in Kyiv on 22 February with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine and the Government of Sweden.

The exhibition showcases 14 pieces that intertwine folk art with scientific narratives, portraying the essence of Ukraine’s natural environment alongside factual tales depicting the war's environmental repercussions. The exhibition aims to galvanize Ukrainians towards fostering an eco-friendly reconstruction, impart an appreciation for ecosystems, and underscore the vast environmental devastation wrought by the war.

During the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Oleksandr Krasnolutskyi, First Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, underscored the important educational purpose of the exhibition. 

"The intrinsic value of nature to Ukrainians transcends monetary measures,” Krasnolutskyi said. “Our longstanding kinship with nature has moulded our identity and ethos. How we safeguard our environment amidst adversity will define the legacy we bequeath to future generations. This exhibition embodies this symbiotic relationship, and we extend our gratitude to all contributors."

Roman Shakhmatenko, the team leader of UNDP in Ukraine's Energy and Environment Portfolio, emphasized the irreversibility of some of the war-induced environmental damage, as well as underscored its enduring repercussions on ecosystems and public health, which extend far beyond Ukraine's borders.

"Henceforth, UNDP remains committed to assisting the Government of Ukraine in comprehensively assessing the environmental fallout of the war and formulating recovery strategies that harness cutting-edge green technologies, guided by the 'build back better' principle," Shakhmatenko said.

The exhibition will run until 22 March 2024 at the premises of the Ukrinform state news agency, which hosts press events for journalists from around the world. Conceived by WWF-Ukraine, the exhibition was organized by Ukraine's Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Ivan Honchar Museum, UNDP in Ukraine, the Government of Sweden, and the APENA3 project.


UNDP in Ukraine supported the exhibition as part of an environmental damage assessment project funded by the Government of Sweden.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, Head of Communications at UNDP Ukraine; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org