At this week’s G20 summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskii set out his ten-point plan to end the war. In addition to the issues of nuclear, food, and energy security, he touched on the issues of ecocide and environmental protection. Finding solutions to all these challenges can facilitate an end to the war and while also contributing to the solution of other global problems, including, for example, biodiversity losses and climate change adaptation challenges.
Achieving these goals requires coordinated and sustainability-oriented action by all states. In this regard, Ukraine’s legislation is still far from optimal, especially as it relates to forest protection. Illegal logging in the country is ongoing, and Ukraine is experiencing year over year declines of its main “green” resources. Unfortunately, no optimal legal solution has yet been adopted, and the war has even made further negative adjustments. For example, the wartime government abolished the practice of “off-seasons,” when all logging activities are forbidden. In this issue, we team up with experts from the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group to explore current events in Ukraine’s forestry industry and how the war affects those ecosystems.
Ukrainian government plans to launch a number of controversial projects highlight the issue of food security from a new angle, including the use of the environmentally important Danube River delta as a shipping artery. UWEC expert Valeria Kolodezhna examines the project’s inefficiencies and failures from both economic and environmental perspectives.
Rebuilding Ukraine cannot take place without resolving the most important question: returning occupied territories to Ukraine. Many of these contain unique biodiversity and have significant conservation value. And one place at the top of that list is Crimea. Beginning in this issue, UWEC Work Group is launching a series of expert articles studying the war’s impact on the peninsula. In today’s issue of our newsletter, a new infographic clearly demonstrates the consequences of occupation and militarization for Crimea’s unique nature.
Of course these ten goals cannot be achieved without active engagement by civil society and environmental communities, including Russian civil society. How do Russian environmental activists work today? What do they do? Do they have the tools and ability to successfully defend their lands in the face of growing authoritarianism? What is their position on the war? Learn more in an interview with Vitaly Servetnik, Co-Chair of the Russian Social-Ecological Union.
- Resistance is not useless: How Russian environmental activism persists in wartime. A conversation with Vitaly Servetnik
You can read more news about the environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine on our website, on Twitter and Facebook.
Wishing you strength and peace!
Editor, UWEC Work Group