Risk Reduction Foundation invites legal companies and lawyer associations to cooperate to protect the constitutional rights of a safe environment for the health and life. The Foundation intends to transfer the methodology and evidence base, as well as distribute the current cases of more than a thousand claimants between lawyers and lawyers of Ukraine, in order to strengthen the position of the plaintiffs with additional competence and capabilities. The Foundation also plans to conduct trainings on environmental law for lawyers in regions with increased environmental risks.
The Constitution of Ukraine states that a person, his life and health, honor and dignity, inviolability and security are recognized as the highest social value. The protection of environmental rights is guaranteed by Articles 16 and 50 of the Basic Law: ensuring environmental safety and maintaining ecological balance in Ukraine, overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster – a catastrophe of a planetary scale, preserving the gene pool of the Ukrainian people is the state's direct responsibility; every citizen of Ukraine has the right to a safe and healthy environment and compensation for damage caused by the violation of this right.
At the official level in 2010, the Law of Ukraine "On the main principles (strategy) of the state environmental policy of Ukraine for the period up to 2020" indicates that life expectancy in Ukraine is on average 66 years (in Sweden – 80 years, in Poland – 74 years ), which is due of environmental pollution activities of mining, metallurgical, chemical industry and fuel and energy complex.
The state recognized that anthropogenic and technogenic pressure on the environment is several times higher than the corresponding indicators of the developed countries of the world. However, in the last 8 years (since the adoption of the law), there have been no major changes in the sphere of ecology, moreover, the scale of environmental violations affects the growth of country risks. The investment attractiveness of Ukraine, the well-being and productivity of the population largely depend on environmental factors.
The constitutional right to a safe environment for the health and life must become a real possibility, not a declaration. In this regard, the head of the Risk Reduction Fund Vladimir Kosterin said: "The Ukrainian society has to undergo an ecological" evolution "of consciousness, when the authorities and polluters will be responsible for harming the health and low life expectancy of Ukrainian citizens. Lawyers should effectively use the capabilities of national and international legislation to protect the environment in the interests of present and future generations".
The experience of countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Switzerland showed the effectiveness of the approach when judicial decisions on environmental issues contributed to the peaceful resolution of problems – the introduction of new safety standards at enterprises, the development of the insurance sector and restoration of ecosystems.
Within the framework of cooperation with the Risk Reduction Fundftion, the legal company Imperative Plus implements projects to protect the environmental rights of Ukrainian citizens. Since 2015, there have been about a thousand court meetings on environmentally problematic facilities typical for all regions of Ukraine, various forms of ownership: private (BRSM tank farm in Vasilkovsky district), municipal (landfill in Kiev-Svyatoshinsky district), state (Tripolskaya power electric station PJSC "Centrenergo" in the Obukhov district). In Ukraine, thousands of similar facilities with increased man-made hazards associated with the storage of fuel, industrial waste and household waste.
In November 2016, the Obukhov district court of the Kyiv region issued an important precedent, according to which the enterprises of the BRSM group of companies should compensate the moral damage to the residents of the Vasilkovskiy district who filed the lawsuits. And in May 2017 the Court of Appeal of the Kyiv region confirmed violations of the environmental rights of citizens and obliged the guilty to pay compensation to the plaintiffs at the level of 80 000-160 000UAH, depending on the degree of damage caused, which in fact became the beginning of the formation of a new liability paradigm in Ukraine for environmental violations.
The claimed claims to polluters are based on the provisions of such legal acts as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Aarhus Convention, the Basel Convention, the Civil Code of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine "On Environmental Protection", the Law of Ukraine " the Law of Ukraine "On the Protection of Consumer Rights", and also takes into account the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. As evidence, we use data from the Independent Institute of Forensic Science, A.N. Marzeeva NAUMU, Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, the international organization Greenpeace; conclusions of the environmental audit of EY.
In the process of gathering evidence and accompanying cases in courts, many important aspects are also required to implement state measures aimed at preventing emergency – technogenic situations throughout Ukraine that require adequate response and political decision-making.
Since 2016, the Ukrainian branch of the European Association of Law Students ELSA has included environmental law in the priority of its activities, and uses the achievements of the Risk Reduction Foundation as a methodological material. Since 2018, the legal company "Colares" has joined the project on the implementation of international practice of environmental rights protection.
Many of the world's leading law firms show their own social responsibility in the sphere of environmental law. Lawyers of Ukraine can follow the world trend, thereby contributing to their country's contribution to the achievement of the global goals of the United Nations (Sustainable Development Goals). Combining the efforts of the civil sector and the legal community to protect the environment and reduce environmental risks will facilitate Ukraine's transition to the principles of sustainable environmentally sound development and improve the quality of life in the country.
The Swiss Reduction Foundation (Risk Reduction Foundation, Swiss) operates in Ukraine in accordance with the Decision of the Subcommittee on Sustainable Development of the Committee for the Environment, Agriculture, Local Authorities of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) of 21-23 June 2011 (AS/ENA (2011) PV 05) on "Preparation of a pilot project on integrated risk management in the PACE member countries on the example of Ukraine".
Contacts: 066 754 64 24, [email protected]