Green economies and the perfect balance

October 21, 2021

Opening remarks by Dafina Gercheva, Resident Representative, UNDP in Ukraine, at the National Eco Forum “Green Economy: How to Achieve Balance”, 21 October 2021

Dear Participants, colleagues, and partners,

On behalf of UNDP, I am pleased to welcome you all to the Green Economy Forum. 

In September 2015 UN Member States adopted Agenda 2030, which is the boldest manifesto the humanity has ever had. It gives us a sense of direction and an Action Plan for protecting the people and the planet, and promoting peace, prosperity, and partnerships. Advancing this agenda and achieving its 17 Global Goals calls for a paradigm shift and a new economic model, which will improve livelihoods, reduce inequalities, eradicate poverty, and protect the environment.   

Over the past decade the concept of green economy has emerged, and many countries, including Ukraine have embraced it.

Green economy is socially inclusive, produces very little carbon, and is resource efficient. Public and private investments in increasing the share of renewables, enhancing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste, are the key driver of economic growth, jobs, income, and prosperity. 

Transitioning to a green economy is at the core of Ukraine’s EU Association Agreement. While some progress has been made towards the approximation of the EU acquis, much more needs to be done to catch the green wave and leapfrog to green economy.   

The COVID-19 emergency is hitting hard on the fundamentals of human development, namely: health, income and education. The recovery from the pandemic will be a long and painful process, which however provides an opportunity to boost the transition to green economy and leverage the power of sustainable and inclusive growth.  According to the UNDP 2020 Human Development Report, countries that forge new, more sustainable pathways will be stronger, more resilient, and much more prosperous than they could have ever imagined before the pandemic. 

In Ukraine, we are implementing a wide range of environmental initiatives, including in eastern Ukraine. We are focusing much of this effort on environmental protection and disaster risk reduction and management in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Under the framework of the recently launched disaster management programme, we are strengthening the capacity of local communities, public authorities, and state Emergency Service for addressing the climate change induced challenges.  

As part of a package of activities under the Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, we are helping communities to develop ecological strategies and individually tailored local initiatives to accelerate local economic development while protecting the environment.  Within this initiative, we developed an action plan for reforestation in the Luhansk Oblast. We also piloted an innovative early warning system in the targeted communities that has the potential to detect a wide range of environmental risks. The system will help ensure a quick and effective response to hazards and crises, such as forest fires.

We are supporting local communities to improve the management of household and industrial waste, through establishing an open dialogue between industry representatives, businesses, government, and civil society. Reducing this waste, or ensuring its proper disposal is a critical part of Ukraine’s ongoing development process to protect lives and livelihoods and transition to a vibrant green and sustainable economy.

At the national level, UNDP supports a twin transition of Ukraine towards a carbon neutral and more resilient future. We also facilitate a post-COVID19 green and resilient recovery, partnering with the corporate sector representatives and facilitating direct access to private green and resilient finance.

In closing, I would like to express my confidence that the insights, ideas, knowledge and experience, which will be shared here today will determine the direction of our world towards one in balance with nature and aligned with our full potential as creative human beings. 

Although the vision articulated in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030 is ambitious and far sighted, it can be achieved through the passion, energy, and innovation of people like you here today. 

I wish you all good luck with fruitful deliberations.

Thank you!