Over six months have passed since the war caused by Russia’s invasion began in Ukraine. People and nature are suffering because of the hostilities, and the consequences affect not just the region but the entire world.
Here at UWEC Work Group we continue to track and analyze the war’s negative impacts on the environment and climate. We are also assembling and proposing solutions to soften those impacts.
We recently joined the United Nations Environment Working Group in Ukraine, an effort to analyze the war’s environmental consequences and exchange information. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is coordinating this effort. We are also expanding our partnerships with both Ukrainian and regional environmental organizations.
For this issue, we interviewed Olha Boiko, coordinator of Climate Action Network – Eastern Europe Caucasus Central Asia (CAN EECCA) and climate change campaigner at Ecoaction. She spoke about efforts to strengthen collaboration between European and Ukrainian environmental organizations working not just to end the war, but also to minimize its consequences for the environment and climate.
One clear example of such cooperation is Greenpeace International’s investigation into the consequences of the Russian invasion in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. Together with Belarusian independent environmental media Green Portal, we review the investigation’s key findings.
- Influence of Russia’s military intrusion on the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone: Results of an independent investigation by Greenpeace International
The war and accompanying sanctions are seriously affecting global climate policy. Against the backdrop of an unprecedented drought in Europe and weather anomalies in Southeast Asia, we are reminded that we must work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. At the same, Russia is becoming more isolated and acting to dilute or cancel a number of climate policy measures. What look at what this means and how it affects the global climate agenda.
Renewal of the Cold War discourse is leading states to enclose their territories with barriers and minefields. Białowieża Forest (Belovezhskaya Pushcha) was recently divided by an impervious fence along the border of Poland and Belarus. There is also recent news about new minefields on the Ukraine-Belarus border in the Polesie forest area. Although these actions are politically justified, they can be detrimental for wildlife. It is absurd to build fences while simultaneously discussing wildlife corridors.
While the war rages, Ukrainian and Russian governments are actively “reforming” environmental legislation – mostly for the worse, but sometimes for the better. This summer, both countries updated rules for legitimizing secondary forests that have grown on disused agricultural lands. Our experts assess these reforms.
- Restoring nature on agricultural lands: a comparative analysis of legislative innovation in Ukraine and Russia
Stay tuned as UWEC continues to analyze the war’s impacts through an environmental lens not only in Ukraine but around the globe.
Peace be with us all!
Editor-in-chief, UWEC Work Group