UABT, NISS with the support of the UN Office in Ukraine held an international round table on Ukraine's position on the European Green Deal

14
10.2020

On October 13, the Ukrainian Business and Trade Association (UBTA) together with the National Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS), with the support of the UN Office in Ukraine, held an International Round Table "Climate Change: European Green Course and International Commitments, Priorities and Opportunities for Ukraine ".

The representatives of the Ukrainian Government and Parliament, Ukrainian business, and Officials of International Organizations, discussed the topics on climate change, the Second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC2), the Paris Climate Agreement, the European Green Deal, and the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), the position of Ukraine and the interests of Ukrainian producers focused on exports to the EU.

The roundtable participants supported the efforts of Ukraine and its Government in fulfilling their previous commitments under key international environmental agreements. They also supported the ambition of the First Nationally Determined Contribution. At the same time, they warned the Government of Ukraine to make such commitments in the Second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC2) that Ukraine will not be able to fulfill a priori. The Paris Agreement gives considerable leeway for maneuver, given the vulnerability of the Ukrainian economy and the limited access of Ukrainian producers to the financial support needed for a "green transition". Therefore, the obligations of our state in the framework of NDC2 must be formulated on the basis of the principle of economic sustainability, otherwise they risk significant losses for various sectors of the economy of Ukraine.

Such a balanced and at the same time ambitious and responsible position of Ukraine should take into account that the New European Green Deal (EGD) contains significant risks in the format of potential trade barriers for Ukrainian producers with the new EU EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). Much will depend on the position that Ukraine will defend in the relevant dialogue with the EU.

The UN's Sustainable Development Goals are part of the Global Compact to Care for the Environment and Climate Change.

Speaking at the roundtable, The UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani, stressed that "Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are the basis of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of long-term UN sustainable development goals. NDCs embody each country's efforts to reduce national emissions and adapt to change." The UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine also said that "an international climate summit would be held in London on December 12, to gather momentum and call for much greater climate action and ambitious and high-quality climate plans, as well as post-COVID recovery plans, new financial commitments and measures to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. "

The task of business and interested business associations is to help the Government develop a negotiating position on adaptation to the EPC, which would prevent the application of additional trade barriers in the form of carbon tariffs while maintaining Ukraine's ambitious contribution to combating climate change.

Nazar Bobitski, Head of the UBTA Office in Brussels, called on the roundtable participants to focus on the interests of exporters in shaping Ukraine's position: “EGD is a nubber one challenge for Ukraine's economy. It is not only about the EU fulfilling its climate commitments, but it is changing the rules of the game for business, it brings potential trade barriers for Ukrainian companies and direct and indirect subsidies for European producers. In an environment where we cannot afford significant financial subsidies, the unimpeded access to EU markets is our indirect subsidy. UBTA is ready to help the Government and relevant ministries to form a position that would take into account the interests of Ukrainian business and help avoid new barriers within the EGD."

The agricultural sector will be one of the sectors that will experiencel the effects of both climate change and measures to prevent it. Currently, the industry ranks third in the world in terms of greenhouse gas emissions after the metallurgical industry and the energy sector. In Ukraine, this figure is much lower.

According to Roman Slastyon, Director General of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, the EGD also contains risks and challenges for the agricultural sector, including a strategy to reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides "From farm to fork" and CBAM: "It is impossible to compare Ukraine with the EU in the use of fertilizers or pesticides, because Ukraine in general uses them less. For example, the level of pesticide use is 2.3 kg per hectare in Ukraine against 4.6 kg per hectare in the EU. These seemingly technical examples are what we need to pay attention to and use all the levers to postpone or not apply such requirements."

As a result of the event, recommendations for the Government of Ukraine will be formulated, and a publication will be prepared with key theses and proposals of participants on the European Green Deal, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism of Imports and the Second Nationally Determined Contribution.

Proposals for recommendations to the Government on the abovementioned issues are accepted at info@ubta.com.ua