PLATFORM ‘The Implementation of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement Standards on the Effective and Balanced Use of Natural Resources’, 2017
On September 1, 2017, after a long process of ratification, the Association Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine/ of the other part, entered into full force.
The Association Agreement in its scope and thematic volume is the largest international legal document in the history of Ukraine and the largest international treaty with a third-world country ever concluded by the European Union.
The agreement is an important step towards approaching the next stage in the future, which is the conclusion of the treaty on accession to the EU.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution dated October 25, 2017. No. 1106 and the action plan for the implementation of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement, which provides for the implementation of 1943 tasks by ministries and other central and regional executive authorities, with the participation of other entities, concerning additions, amendments and improvements to the legislation of Ukraine to implement the provisions of the Agreement, as well as directives, regulations, conventions and other regulations of the EU defined in the annexes to the Agreement. The deep and comprehensive free trade area between Ukraine and the EU provided by the Agreement defines the legal framework for the free movement of goods, services, capital and part of the labour force between Ukraine and the EU, as well as regulatory access aimed at the gradual entry of the Ukrainian economy into the EU common market.
Ukraine’s obligations under the Association Agreement is a road map for reforming the country, reinforced in the international treaty. Its implementation requires the realization of large-scale reforms in the oil and gas and coal mining complexes and in the general energy sector, mining, agriculture, transport, housing and communal complexes of the economy of Ukraine, associated with the use of natural resources in order to introduce market mechanisms of functioning, ensuring equal opportunities, consumer protection, reducing the impact on the environment and taking into account other interests of territorial communities. Thousands of enterprises and entire sectors of the economy will face strategic technological challenges to ensure the implementation of EU standards in accordance with the Agreement. The response to these challenges should be the development and implementation of the national scientific-technical and innovation policy with the participation of relevant scientific organizations, to consolidate the efforts of competent specialists in the development and implementation of progressive technologies in the sphere of natural resources use, energy efficiency and environmental conservation. The success of the implementation of this policy directly in the production activities of enterprises can be achieved through the creation of an effective system of training, retraining and advancing the professional development of specialists and raising the level of public environmental awareness and environmental awareness of the population.
The most important factor is the support of the population for reforms requiring educational activities to highlight the benefits of the provisions implemented by the Agreement, especially with the participation of relevant public organizations.
A wide range of task of legislative, regulatory, scientific, technical and educational nature in the context of the provisions of the Agreement can be performed using such a modern tool of scientific and production cooperation and effective interaction in certain areas of all stakeholders such as business, science, the public and the state on modernization, scientific and technological development of production and improvement of the regulatory framework in the areas related to the use of natural resources to meet the needs of society.
Therefore, on behalf of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists, the TUTKOVSKY International Hub of Natural Resources has developed ‘The Implementation of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement Standards on the Effective and Balanced Use of Natural Resources’ Platform. The concept of the platform was considered and approved on November 15, 2017, at the extraordinary Conference of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists.
The purpose of the platform is to promote the implementation of advanced mechanisms and practices of the European Union in Ukraine to achieve effective, balanced and sustainable use of natural resources while recycling production and consumption waste.
The activity programme within the framework of the platform is based on a thorough analysis of the provisions of the Agreement, Directives, EU Regulations and International Conventions and provides for the development and implementation of projects in the following areas:
- Creating infrastructure to provide advisory services to bring the legislation of Ukraine on the use of natural resources and environmental protection to the requirements of the provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, other EU regulations;
- Forming an open expert environment for the efficient and balanced use of natural resources with the participation of representatives of science, technology developers, government agencies, business and the public with the involvement of foreign experts;
- Identifying scientific and technological priorities for the effective and balanced use of natural resources in the development of national science, technology and innovation policy;
- Developing measures to improve industry regulations and market relations in certain sectors of the economy to increase the innovative activity of companies, the spread of advanced technologies and attract strategic investments;
- Identifying strategic priorities of regional development in the use of natural resources and environmental protection within the framework of cross-border cooperation and development of regional policy, promotion of cross-border relations and business partnership;
- Creating an effective tool for making effective management decisions on the basis of modern geoinformation-analytical system of environmental monitoring integrated into the international network of observations;
- Involving financial, technological, expert and other resources of international organizations and institutions to improve the effectiveness of Ukraine’s implementation of international obligations, in particular, in the use of natural resources and environmental protection;
- Creating public environmental awareness, professional development of specialists and professionals for various sectors of the economy, the development of educational programs and environmental awareness of the population;
- Creating data pools of innovative solutions and the latest environmentally safe, energy and resource-saving technologies for implementation in certain sectors of the economy;
- Analysing and implementing modern European practices on reclamation and ecological restoration of the territories disturbed as a result of production activity of subjects of managing, first of all chemical, oil refining industry, power, mining and agro-industrial complexes;
- Organizing seminars and training sessions to raise the level of public environmental awareness and the qualification of specialists and professionals for various sectors of the economy;
- Promoting the distribution of environmental information and social advertising of environmental protection and the creation of appropriate information centres;
- Participating in the organization’s issuing of the proper certification of domestic products and services in accordance with international standards and technical regulations;
- Promoting participation in international scientific programs in the European Union;
- Implementing an effective mechanism to ensure proper public monitoring and control over the implementation of the provisions of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement, arranging of educational activities to highlight the benefits of the Agreement.
The platform as a new form of cooperation was presented at the VI Conference of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists by the President of the UAG Pavlo Zagorodnyuk.
In particular, he noted:
‘The scientific society invites the public and private sectors of the economy to join efforts. Only together we can achieve economic stability. The platform’s activities are primarily aimed at facilitating Ukraine’s entry into international markets. We are simply obliged to bring the quality of domestic products and services to European standards by re-equipment of production, improvement of technological processes, implementation of EU regulations and norms. In particular, the way to achieve leading positions should be energy efficient and low for natural resources. Do not forget that the government of Ukraine on October 25 this year approved a plan of measures for the implementation of the Agreement, which actually determines European integration as an integral part of the strategic planning of social and economic development of the state and causes an urgent need for reforming the domestic economy, including the field of environmental management, according to the requirements of EU legislation.’
Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klimpush-Tsintsadze in her congratulations to the participants of the conference noted the support of the geological community’s position on the need to reform social and economic relations in the field of environmental management in accordance with the requirements and provisions of the European Union legislation. Ivanna Tsintsadze also recommended the relevant ministries and departments to join the work within the framework of the platform.
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Finland in Ukraine Mr. Yuha Virtanen gave a positive assessment of the platform: ‘The implementation of the platform within the framework of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement is important and timely. We support this initiative and consider it promising. Finland is a country with a high level of culture in the use of natural resources. I hope that we will be useful to each other and appreciate the opportunity of cooperation between Ukraine and Finland in this area.’
The initiative was also congratulated by the Embassy of Hungary, the Embassy of Lithuania, the Embassy of France and the Embassy of Austria.
‘This initiative is greatly appreciated in the EFG, as the issues of natural resources and environmental conservation are pan-European, so it is important that Ukraine has been successfully implementing EU standards in environmental management’, said a member of the Board of the EFG, Marco Komats.
‘The platform offers a specific algorithm for cooperation between the public, private and scientific sectors. As for me, this is a promising symbiosis. As part of the implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU, this is an extremely relevant initiative since a number of provisions relate to strategic natural resources. For their rational use, it is necessary to restart the dialog between investors and local communities. The new legal model of cooperation between business and local communities initiated by us will provide a real dialog with the regions. People are no longer a ‘resource’ as they were in Soviet times. People have the right to decide how their region should develop,’ said Irina Suprun, the сhairman of the Board of the Public Association Science, Exploration, Production.
The Director of the DGE Group Gediminas Chizhyus shared Lithuania’s experience in cleaning up groundwater according to several directives of the European Union and expressed precatory words about Ukraine’s rapid implementation of the European experience, which is possible thanks to this platform.
The participants of the conference announced a number of proposals to involve the geological community in the implementation of measures aimed at the integration of Ukraine into the European Union, providing for the modernization of legislation in the field of environmental management. Scientists who had performed noted that the platform provides for the preparation of scientific technology initiatives and recommendations to government agencies, scientific community and businesses to solve urgent problems by intensifying innovation.
The participants of the conference unanimously decided to consider the VI Conference of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists dated December 7, 2017, as the Constituent Assembly of the Platform ‘The Implementation of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement Standards on the Effective and Balanced Use of Natural Resources’ and decided on its creation.
Moreover, the participants of the conference approved the strategy of the UAG for 2018–2025 – ‘Geology for the European Future of Ukraine’.