Select Committee on European Communities Written Evidence


Memorandum by the Ukraine Government (provided by the Counsellor for Science and Technology, Embassy of Ukraine)

ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF THE TACIS PROGRAMME IN UKRAINE

  This response has been prepared by the TACIS Co-ordinating Unit within the National Agency of Ukraine for Development and European Integration. The replies are brief and relate specifically to the situation of the Environment sector under the TACIS programme in Ukraine.

Taking the questions in order:—

1. NATURE AND SCALE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM IN THE NIS

  This is too extensive a question to cover in this reply, but the 1995 Inter-state project—"Development of Common Environmental Policies in the NIS and Mongolia" covered the ground in summary fashion.

2. PRIORITIES FOR ACTION UNDER THE TACIS PROGRAMME

  The 1996-99 Indicative Programme for Ukraine has identified the following environmental priorities:—

    —  waste water management;

    —  solid waste management;

    —  industrial pollution control;

    —  district heating;

    —  hazardous waste management;

    —  biodiversity.

  Environmental considerations under the Inter-state Programme covering NIS states, including Ukraine, have three main objectives:—

    —  encouragement of environmental considerations into the process of reconstruction to ensure sustainable development;

    —  development of institutional capacity in the participating countries, including an efficient legal and administrative framework, regulatory and enforcement mechanisms;

    —  relief to regions where human health or natural ecosystems are jeopardised by environmental hazards;

    —  to promote local and international investment.

  Because of special interest shown by EU Member States and the NIS Governments of the states bordering the EU and Phare countries, the Cross Border Co-operation Programme focuses on environment in the following areas—

    —  transfrontier nature of environmental issues;

    —  environmental degradation problems caused by industrialisation and agricultural policy;

    —  new environmental policy development;

    —  clean technology;

    —  training.

    —  pre-investment project development;

    —  small-scale infrastructure projects.

3. TACIS AND OTHER OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES

  Co-ordination of programmes is done both at a local (Ukraine) level and at a more strategic and policy level from TACIS in Brussels. The 1996 Inter-state Environmental Action programmes have an important identification element for subsequent funding by International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The 1998 and 1999 Inter-state programmes will specifically refer to further TACIS TA as an element of pre-investment development and appraisal.

  There is still a tendency for the IFIs, in particular the World Bank, to re-do appraisals to their own satisfaction. At best this duplicates work already done by other donors, TACIS included. Closer and better strategic co-ordination should reduce this problem and improve synergy.

4. PARTNERSHIP AND CO-OPERATION AGREEMENTAS A FRAMEWORK FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMMES

  Article 63 of the PCA document covers environment specifically. Given the brevity of the PCA document in general, we feel that the range of environmental topics covered is comprehensive and relevant to Ukraine/EU concerns, and they do provide a broad framework of co-operation and direction for technical assistance. More detailed priorities and actions have been developed in the four year Indicative Programme and the annual Action, Inter-state, and Cross Border strategy papers. For the future the PCA Co-operation Councils and Committees will have a task of steering priorities more closely.

5. 1996 TACIS REGULATIONS AND THE EMPHASIS ON ENVIRONMENT

  The 1996 regulations have had a significant impact on the identification, approval and financing of environmental projects. The current programs for Ukraine include the following environmental projects—

  National Programme:

    —  Strengthening the State Environmental Inspectorate in the Ministry of Environment and Nuclear Safety.

    —  Strengthening regional capacity for industrial waste treatment and management.

    —  Water treatment support for Mariupil.

  Inter-state involving Ukraine:

    —  Raising environmental awareness and developing environmental media in the NIS and Mongolia.

    —  Development of common environmental policies in the NIS and Mongolia.

    —  1995 Black Sea Environmental Programme.

    —  Widening of the Environmental Action Programme to the NIS and Mongolia.

    —  Setting-up new Regional Environmental Centres in Moldova, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine.

    —  Raising public awareness, developing environmental media, and resourcing good practice;

    —  TACIS Regional Seas Programme (1997 Black Sea).

  The Cross Border Co-operation programme includes—

    —  Accident and emergency warning system and monitoring, laboratory and information management for the Danube basin (Ukraine and Moldova sections).

    —  Carpathian transfrontier environmental network.

    —  River Bug transboundary water quality assessment.

  The 1998 Inter-state and CBC programmes are currently under preparation as is the 1999 Action Programme for Ukraine.

  In addition to these large scale programmes, there are several small scale environmental projects under Bistro, Tempus, Lien and Cross Border Co-operation facilities.

6. TACIS AS A PEOPLE TO PEOPLE PROGRAMME, AND ADMINISTRATIVE BARRIERS

  TACIS does attempt to create a real dialogue and stimulate appropriate demands for technical assistance from the Ukrainian side. This is relatively more effective and transparent in the preparation of the National and Cross Border programmes, whereas Inter-state developments appear to be driven by Brussels, generally have no NIS counterparts (the CIS institutions being irrelevant), and are often presented or discussed at a very late stage. Obviously this has an adverse impact on initial ownership and commitment from the Ukrainian side.

  Invariably bureaucratic procedures exist on both sides. The annual cycle of programme approval and the lengthy tendering procedure is very frustrating for the Ukrainian authorities and partner institutions. It does mean that some of the more immediate needs cannot be addressed or satisfied by the mainstream TACIS programmes, only by small scale project facilities which have the capability of rapid response. These small scale facilities are often inadequate in terms of finance and time available.

7. COMMISSION'S ORGANISATION

  In general the management organisation and responsibilities for the TACIS programme are inefficient, confusing, and far too costly a burden on the budget as a whole. We understand that a reorganisation is taking place in Brussels which aims to resolve some of these management issues, and we await the practical results. However, professional management resources should be concentrated more in the field where decisions and actions have to be taken, than in the centre.

8. COURT OF AUDITORS AND INTERIM EVALUATION REPORTS

  We are certain that the Commission is addressing the criticism and recommendations seriously. As far as improvement in the local (i.e., Kiev) management of the TACIS programme is concerned the resources in the EU Delegation in Kiev have been strengthened. Soon after the Auditors' Report was prepared a National Agency of Ukraine for Reconstruction and Development was created and headed up by Roman Shpek. The agency took over the responsibility for the co-ordination of international technical assistance. The TACIS Co-ordinating Unit within this agency became fully staffed and operational. In March of this year, the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement with Ukraine came into force. The agency was also given the responsibility for co-ordination of PCA implementation of economic and social issues within the government network, and changed its name to the National Agency of Ukraine for Development and European Integration. Close and effective co-operation between the Ukrainian authorities and TACIS is demonstrated by the fact that the TACIS Action programmes for Ukraine for 1997 and 1998 were the first to be fully prepared and were presented to the TACIS Committees for approval at the earliest opportunity, in January of both years.

9. BEST VALUE FROM CONSULTANTS AND "OWNERSHIP" BY BENEFICIARIES

  Since the start of the technical assistance programmes and since independence, considerable know-how has been transferred to Ukrainian counterparts. There is now significant local expertise that could profitably be used in a contractual capacity on TACIS projects, thereby increasing relevance, effectiveness and value for money. Some relevant expertise also exists in Phare countries which have gone through stages of the transformation process much earlier than Ukraine. Having the prior experience of similar central command economies, they are sometimes in a better position to understand and sell the transformation process necessary. It may be useful to extend the scope of TACIS—eligible contractors to companies or organisations from the Phare countries.

  In terms of ownership, see item 6 above.

10. ENVIRONMENTAL NGOS

  We are aware of 53 NGOs active in the environmental sphere in Ukraine and their number continues to grow. NGO capacity building or development is specifically built-in to all the TACIS environmental projects, and much of the practical project implementation is channelled through these NGOs. Such NGOs are also supported by other ODAs.

11. PHARE EXPERIENCE

  See 9 above.

  In terms of Cross Border Co-operation projects for Ukraine, partners in the Phare countries are obligatory and they bring their valuable experience to those projects.

12. THE ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY

  Many of the initiatives under the Inter-state programmes are as a result of inputs by the EEA. They are actively involved in the Black Sea Environmental Programme and Common Environmental Policy projects.

Volodymyr Koval

25 May 1998



 
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