DiXi Group supports the improvement of EIA in the extractive sector
The online round table held on 21 May 2021 was dedicated to the progress in implementation of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) improvement roadmap for the extractive sector.
Representatives of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Energy and the Environment inter-faction coalition, the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, the National Association of Extractive Industries of Ukraine, environmental associations and civil society discussed practical aspects of EIA timeframes, the ways of optimizing procedures for extraction companies, whether qualification requirements are needed in EIA, and fulfilment of international commitments.
The discussion was focused on recommendations of the EIA improvement roadmap developed by DiXi Group. A survey has revealed that one of the problems is a large number of EIA procedures an extraction company must perform, especially at the resource extraction stage. Another problem is the absence of sectoral standards and criteria for key phases of the EIA procedure. Speaking during discussions, representatives of extraction companies confirmed the significance of these problematic aspects.
After studying international experience, analysts concluded that Ukraine can simplify the approaches to performance of EIAs by following European directives. In particular, it concerns exploration of resource deposits, Olha Polunina, DiXi Group Manager for Sustainable Development, said.
The attendees also discussed the difficulties in organization of public hearings and the need to improve access to information about environmental impact.
“A convenient access to open information simplifies a lot of issues. Even persons without specialized qualification would still have a greater capability if they have access to environmental data; they can compare this data in dynamics, and draw conclusions concerning potential impact,” Olha Polunina, DiXi Group Manager for Sustainable Development, stressed. “We need to revise recommendations for organizers of public hearings, and think out the criteria for evaluation of proposals from the public. If people realize that it’s easier to come out and block the road than participate in public hearings about EIA, they would opt for a more “effective” instrument of pursuing their interests. We have to create conditions in which participation of the public improves environmental impact assessment.”
During the round table, representatives of environmental organizations and business associations pointed out the importance of ensuring accessibility of environmental data and shared the first experience in certification of EIA report preparers.
The attendees of this event agreed to continue dialogue and organize the next meeting with broader participation.
It is worth reminding that DiXi Group has developed the roadmap for implementation of recommendations proposed in the study Environmental Impact Assessment in the Extractive Sector: Practice and Problematic Aspects of Application. It describes the implementation of approaches that can ensure speed, effectiveness and transparency of the EIA procedure in Ukraine. More detailed information about these recommendations is available in the aforementioned study and in infographics.
The event is held by Interfaction union “Energy and Environment” in cooperation with USAID Energy Sector Transparency project implemented by NGO DiXi Group.