At COP15, Canada and Ukraine commit to working together on environmental protection and climate action
December 15, 2022 – Montréal, Quebec
Today in Montréal on the margins of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Honourable Ruslan Strilets, Ukraine’s Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to increase bilateral cooperation on climate action, environmental protection and nature conservation.
In addition to the devastating costs to the Ukrainian people, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine continues to have significant impact on farms, water, and more. Nearly a third of Ukraine’s forests have been harmed. Its agricultural water supplies are contaminated. The soil is covered in debris from explosive devices. Toxic gases are polluting the air. Natural reserves and national parks have been damaged. Canada will continue to support Ukraine as it develops new protocols to assess the environmental damage caused by war and as it implements restoration efforts.
Under the MOU, both countries have agreed to collaborate on environmental initiatives, exchange information and expertise, and support our respective ambitions in a wide range of areas, including increasing the deployment of clean technologies, enhancing water management, reducing pollution and waste, and supporting the sound management of chemicals. The MOU also outlines areas of cooperation for conserving biodiversity and nature, protecting wildlife habitat and marine environment, as well as building mitigation and adaptation measures to protect against the impacts of climate change.
“Canada remains steadfast in our commitment to support the people of Ukraine. In addition to measures like increasing grain storage capacity in Ukraine and providing urgent demining equipment as well as direct financial assistance to Ukraine, we are committing to increasing important bilateral cooperation on biodiversity, air quality management, and mitigation and adaptation to climate change.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“For Ukraine, Canada is a reliable and very special partner. From the first days of the full-scale war Canada has provided to our country broad support in various fields. In afterwar period, cooperation with Canada can help recover environment, manage water resources and air quality, implement climate-oriented and other environmental projects. Signature of Ukraine-Canada Memorandum, which will remain in effect for next five years, is proving Ukraine's lasting commitment to the objectives of environmental protection and recovery.”
– The Honourable Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine
The Canada–Ukraine Free Trade Agreement’s Environment Chapter entered into force on August 1, 2017. It commits both countries to encourage high levels of domestic environmental protection, to promote sustainable development and sound environmental management, and to encourage public engagement.
Since the beginning of Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion, Canada has already disbursed $2 billion in direct financial assistance to Ukraine so far in 2022, and committed an additional $500 million through the Ukraine Sovereignty Bond. Canada has also committed more than $2.5 billion in military, humanitarian, and other assistance to Ukraine this year.
To respond to the urgent need to increase grain storage capacity in Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion, and help improve food security in the country, the Prime Minister announced at this year’s G7 Summit in Germany a $52 million contribution towards agricultural solutions. Canada’s contribution is being channeled through the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Grain Storage Support Strategy. $50 million of that contribution is for grain storage solutions and $2 million is dedicated to lab equipment and associated technical assistance.
On December 5, the Prime Minister approved the release of $15 million from the International Assistance Envelope Crisis Pool for the urgent provision of humanitarian demining and explosive ordinance disposal equipment to the Ukrainian government. This is in addition to $15 million for demining support announced by the Prime Minister in June; Canada has now committed over $32 million in mine action support for Ukraine, second only to the United States.
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has established the Canada–Ukraine Science Partnership to connect scientists based in Ukraine with research opportunities in Canada and to assist in the rebuilding of Ukraine’s science capacity. The Partnership is open to scientists and postgraduate students who have fled or are fleeing Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
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