On 21 and 22 June, the UK and Ukraine organised the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 with the aim to mobilise international support - in particular of the private sector - for Ukraine's economic and social stabilisation and recovery from the effects of war. WWF was heartened to see so many governments, international organizations and private businesses confirm their solidarity with Ukraine and its people and commit to a greener future. Ukraine government members shared their vision that Ukraine should even become a key exporter of green energy, fertiliser and metallurgical products to the EU. WWF welcomes this bold vision, but cautions that it will take careful planning to make sure the needs of Ukrainians for renewable energy are met first before excess energy should be traded abroad. WWF also recommends a detailed spatial planning exercise that determines which areas are most suitable for renewable energy production and which should be left for other purposes such as biodiversity conservation or drinking water provision.
Overall, WWF is concerned that biodiversity loss and climate change issues were absent from the debates in London. The benefits of investing in nature as a provider of essential ecosystem services such as erosion control, climate change adaptation, water provision or pollination are obviously overlooked. While it is clear, that trade-offs and quick decisions have to be made when helping people directly impacted by the war, medium to long term planning for a successful reconstruction has to aim at an economy that is both climate-neutral and nature-positive. This is in line with EU ambitions, international obligations, and the sustainability principle agreed in Lugano, the location of last year´s Ukraine Recovery Conference.
WWF´s recommendation for the future is to involve non-governmental organisations more consistently in the development of recovery plans and conferences for Ukraine. This would ensure “ground-proofing” of ideas and mobilise the know-how and active involvement of civil society in a truly green recovery this country and its people so much need and deserve.
For more information:
Irene Lucius, Regional Conservation Director, WWF Central and Eastern Europe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Iaroslav Telshun, Senior Policy Expert, WWF-Ukraine, email@example.com