In nature, dark days are followed by brighter days by design. Winter holidays and the new year fall at this time of transition from long nights to sunnier days – always a time to see hope for the future, hope for change, restoration, renewal. UWEC Work Group wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We wish you and your loved ones peace, mental strength, and health.
The past year of full-scale war in Ukraine was marked by many environmental disasters and difficult events. The explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, protracted hostilities in the east of Ukraine, fires in Askania-Nova Nature Reserve. Despite these challenges, conversations about Ukraine’s restoration have been gathering energy, as many begin to anticipate ways for Ukraine to develop after the war. We take a look back at some of UWEC Work Group’s top stories in 2023:
As always at this time of year, the world gathers to participate in the UN conference on climate change. This year COP28 took place in Dubai, where there was less talk about the war in Ukraine. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s pavilion focused on the environmental impacts of Russia’s full-scale invasion, and Ukrainian experts presented their research. Ukrainian NGO Ecoaction conducted an event in the pavilion devoted to CO2 emissions during military operations:
The challenges of Ukraine’s “green” restoration were also an active topic of discussion in Dubai. Returning to Ecoaction’s analytical report, roughly 56% of war-related emissions will occur during the recovery period. So, from the perspective of the climate agenda, the processes of decarbonization of industry and transportation are extremely important. In this day and age, they must be a focus:
Our ongoing coverage shows that the process of rebuilding Ukraine is complex and far from simple. Different interest groups seek to influence the planning process and the ongoing dialogue is naturally quite complex. Power engineers are in favor of restoring the Kakhovka hydropower plant and reservoir, while environmentalists categorically oppose its reconstruction. Civil society members united forces to establish Kakhovka Platform, an association focused on promoting sustainable and nature-oriented restoration:
The environmental disaster can also be turned to other purposes, including Russian propaganda. This past fall, the UWEC team came across a document in which Russia boldly attempted to place responsibility for the consequences of the Kakhovka dam’s destruction on Ukraine. However, even the most passing examination shows, once again, that Russian propaganda distorts facts to serve its own interests:
As December draws to a close, we gathered experts for a conversation dedicated to Ukraine’s “green” recovery. The video of the webinar will appear soon on our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to our social networks and join the conversation.
We wish you strength and peace!
Alexej Ovchinnikov, UWEC Work Group