Germany and Ukraine expand cooperation on climate protection and nature conservation

Germany and Ukraine plan to expand their cooperation in the field of the environment. This was agreed by the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, Michael Müller and the Ukrainian Vice Minister for the Environment Stepan Lysun during the meeting of the German-Ukrainian Environment Commission in Kiev. "The conservation of resources is becoming more important in Ukraine," said Müller. "The economical use of energy has become a priority there. This is a vital aspect of climate protection. We want to extend our cooperation in this area with pilot projects, consultation and know-how transfer."

Cooperation with Ukraine has been significantly increased in the framework of the Federal Environment Ministry's International Climate Initiative. The Federal Environment Ministry currently supports four projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and energy saving. In the transport sector, projects are being carried out to expand local public transport systems. In the buildings sector, an energy-efficient model quarter is being constructed in a pilot project aimed at providing impetus for sustainable town-planning, the establishment of an efficient heat and power supply and the use of energy efficiency technologies and renewable energies in buildings. The Federal Environment Ministry has earmarked a total of 6 million euro for these projects over the next three years. In addition, a credit programme amounting to 1.5 million euros supports investments in energy efficiency measures in SMEs and private households.

The meeting of the German-Ukrainian Environment Commission also discussed the possibility of using the financing instruments of the Kyoto Protocol for cooperation on climate protection. For example, the transfer of modern energy technologies from Germany to Ukraine could be funded by using joint implementation (JI). Both sides want to cooperate more closely in this area in future, and also involve the private sector. The flexible mechanism JI allows an industrialised country to meet part of its GHG reduction commitment by financing a climate protection project in another industrialised country. Alongside climate protection, nature conservation is a further focus of the cooperation. At the meeting, Müller agreed that Germany would advise Ukraine in particular with regard to setting up nature conservation areas and national parks. It was agreed that a working group would be established to pass on Germany's experiences to Ukrainian experts and politicians. This is expected to make an important contribution to the conservation of biodiversity in Ukraine.

Germany also plans to support Ukraine in its approximation to EU environmental standards, even though current negotiations on a new agreement between the EU and Ukraine have not yet opened up prospects for accession. Cooperation in this area can benefit from Germany's many years of experience in implementing EU twinning projects in the field of the environment. In the framework of these EU-funded twinning projects, staff members of EU member state administrations are sent to their counterpart authorities in accession or applicant countries. The goal is to support these countries in their endeavours to harmonise their legislation and to set up the necessary institutions.