Finland supports Ukraine in assessment and documentation of environmental damages and in rebuilding
On Friday 10 March, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo signed two memorandums of understanding with the Ukrainian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Communities and Territories Development. The purpose of these is to assist Ukraine extensively in monitoring the state of the environment, and in rebuilding the country and in the green transition. The aim is also to support Ukraine in harmonising its regulatory framework with that of the EU and, thus, the country’s EU convergence.
Besides enormous human suffering and the economic disaster, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has caused immense environmental damages. Russia’s attacks e.g. on Ukraine’s chemical and mining industry, oil storage depots and water utilities have contaminated the soil, surface water, groundwater and air. Acts of war in ordinary residential areas have polluted the environment, including by generating massive amounts of harmful waste such as asbestos. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, the war has damaged 20 per cent of the protected areas in Ukraine.
Ukraine has requested assistance from Finland for the assessment and documentation of these vast environmental damages as part of the environmental safety section of Ukraine's peace plan (countering ecocide). Monitoring and assessing the state of the environment are among Finland’s strong areas of expertise, and Finland has for decades supported countries such as those within the former Soviet Union in developing water and air quality monitoring. There are also many companies in Finland with top international expertise in measurement technology and the monitoring of the state of the environment.
“Finland supports Ukraine’s brave defence operation. At the same time, we will also help Ukraine in building its future. Cooperation also supports Ukraine in harmonising its regulation with that of the EU and paves the way for Ukrainian EU convergence,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.
Cooperation in monitoring the state of the environment should get started this spring. Besides the Ministry of the Environment, at least the Finnish Environment Institute and Finnish Meteorological Institute will be involved in this work, but other organisations may join in later. In nuclear safety issues the cooperation in Finland is led by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).
In Ukraine on 10 March 2023:
tel. +358 40 053 6973
tel. +358 50 470 7712
In Finland on 10 March 2023:
tel. +358 40 504 7494