Capacity Building for local water management in selected regions in Ukraine

Ukraine is facing major challenges regarding the management of its river basins. The two selected regions for the project, the Ternopil region in the northwest of Ukraine and the Odessa region on the edge of the black sea, are characterized by hot summers with low precipitation. As a result, particularly small rivers suffer from significant water shortages and are often on the verge of ecological collapse due to anthropogenic influences.

The 2014 Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine also covers the field of water management and provides for a gradual approximation to the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive. A law implementing the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60 / EC) was adopted in October 2016. The establishment of river basin councils became mandatory in February 17th, 2017. However, Ukraine is still at the beginning of the process of establishing water management councils for the major river basins. The management of sub-basins and therefore small and medium-sized rivers has not received any attention to date, thus there is no national strategy for the implementation of water legislation at the level of local authorities. In particular, local authorities are facing an immense challenge in the implementation of the complex water regulations: Both the implementation of legal matters as well as the variety of preparatory activities to be performed – such as data collection – are difficult to achieve without external support.

Therefore, the project aims at strengthening both local authorities and civil society in the field of water management and to thereby contribute to a permanent reduction of environmental impacts in the Ukraine. For this purpose, results and experiences from the project “Capacity building for local water management in the Republic of Moldova” will be transferred to Ukraine and adapted to the specific conditions of the project regions. The main objective of the project is to support local authorities in the implementation of water legislation through capacity building. The objective of the exchange with experts from Germany, both from the administration and national environmental NGOs, and experts from the Republic of Moldova is to enhance transnational collaboration and to learn from experiences that have already been made during the implementation the Water Framework Directive.

The project focusses, in its first stage, on the development of a comprehensive guide on the management of small and medium-sized rivers for local authorities and environmental NGOs in the Ukraine. To this end, the guide will include 1) basics of water management and baseline situation in Ukraine, 2) concrete recommendations for the management of small river basin districts in the target regions of Ukraine, 3) overview and summary of legal responsibilities, and 4) best practice examples from Ukraine.  In the second stage of the project, a series of events and a handout on biological engineering measures along rivers will be conducted and prepared. The need for this project focus emerged during the first project workshops, when water body maintenance and biological engineering construction methods as a tool for this were the subject of manifold questions. Together with experts from Germany, online and on-site seminars in Ukraine on biological engineering construction methods and materials, as well as practical planting workshops on bank protection through technical engineering construction methods in water body maintenance, are being realized.