Environmental Compact for Ukraine is not only about holding Russia accountable for environmental damage, but also about the future for the next generations – Andriy Yermak

The Environmental Compact for Ukraine, developed by the High-Level Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of the War, is an unprecedented document that will make Ukraine an example to the world in environmental protection. This was stated by Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak, at a briefing following the meeting of the High-Level Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of the War in Kyiv.

Andriy Yermak stated that the Environmental Compact for Ukraine, developed by the High-Level Working Group, is an unprecedented document.

“This has never happened before in history, when a country at war not only thinks, but works to restore the environment, punish the guilty, and also show the whole world what and how can and should be done to ensure the future for the next generations,” he said.

The document focuses on three priorities. The first is to assess the environmental damage caused by Russia on the territory of Ukraine.

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius emphasized the importance of gathering evidence of Russia’s environmental crimes.

“We provide satellite imagery and finance the collection of evidence so that ultimately Russia will be held accountable not only for crimes against humanity and Ukrainians, but also for the damage inflicted on the environment. These crimes will remain after the war: chemicals from shelling, destruction of buildings and water infrastructure, thousands of tonnes of scrap metal, landmines, and so on. All of this results in pollution,” said the EU Commissioner.

The second priority is to punish for committing these crimes. Andriy Yermak expressed confidence that each fact of Russia’s crime will definitely become the ground for future legal proceedings, and ultimately the ground for compensation and reparations.

The third priority is the environmental recovery and the elimination of damage done. According to the head of the Office of the President, it is not just about recovery, but about improving people’s living space through modern technologies and environment-friendly solutions.

“It’s about the water we drink, the air we breathe, how invaders will pay not only for each life, for lost health, but also the death of animals, and the destruction of our nature,” he said.

According to the head of the President’s Office, soon this compact will be passed on to all world leaders for consideration and will be a topic of discussion at international forums and conferences. It will also lay the groundwork for specific political decisions at the conference that will take place after the inaugural Global Peace Summit at the leaders’ level, including the working group that operates under point 8 of the Peace Formula “Ecological Safety.”

Andriy Yermak thanked Margot Wallström, co-chair of the working group, and all its participants for their work and support of Ukraine.

The co-chair of the High-Level Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of the War, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Margot Wallström, said that the group members focused on approaches to assessing the environmental damage inflicted on Ukraine by the war, as well as on holding the aggressor country accountable and the green reconstruction of our state.

Margot Wallström said that approximately 30 out of 50 recommendations outlined in the Environmental Compact address the Ukrainian government, while the rest concern assistance from partner countries and civil society.

“What Ukraine is doing now is innovation, it is leadership in the world. Ukraine emphasizes the importance of the environment and, despite the war, gives it priority. Through this document, we provide the world with new methodologies, technologies, and standards for assessing the environmental damage caused during the war,” she said.

According to her, thanks to the Environmental Compact, Ukraine will be able to ensure accountability for environmental damage and will also serve as an example of environmental recovery to the world, based on cutting-edge technologies.

Vice President of the European Parliament and former Minister for International Development of Finland Heidi Hautala added that members of the High-Level Working Group continue their work, cooperating with governments of other countries, including representatives from the Global South.

“We need to convince governments and international organizations that this document is the best plan to address environmental damage. We will continue to work, if necessary, as advisors and ambassadors of this plan,” said Heidi Hautala.

She also said that the implementation of this document will facilitate Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, which also pays significant attention to environmental issues.