Zaporizhia is one of the largest industrial centres in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, home to major ferrous and non-ferrous metals industry, mechanical engineering, power, chemical and construction enterprises. With these industries often a host of environmental concerns accumulate and become a cause of great concern for the local residents. Owing to cooperation between Zaporizhia City Hall and PLEDDG in supporting the city development strategy, the community of Zaporizhia has finally been heard about a poignant issue – the environment. As full-fledged participants of the strategic planning process, local residents and NGO representatives insisted that environmental aspects be considered in the continued development of the city. Following numerous discussions, the community made a strong case for their position, and environmental protection became one of the key aspects of Zaporizhia’s development for the decade to come.
Zaporizhia City Council approved the City Development Strategy up to 2028 in 2017. The roadmap for the strategy’s implementation was developed by the Coordination Council with the involvement of representatives of the public authorities, local residents and the business community with the expert support of PLEDDG consultants. This process involved outlining a strategic vision, directions and goals of Zaporizhia’s development as well as drafting the Action Plan for Implementation of the City Development Strategy for 2018–2020. This represents the first stage of effective change and details specific actions, time frames and allocation of responsibilities and resources.
Large-scale industrial development in Zaporizhia comes hand in hand with substantial industry-induced impacts on the environment, which cause air, water and land pollution and is often detrimental to public health. The environmental challenges faced by the city are further exacerbated by the proximity of major industrial enterprises to residential neighbourhoods. With this in mind, prior to approval of the Zaporizhia City Development Strategy, a strategic environmental assessment work group prepared the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Report as part of the City Development Strategy with the assistance of the relevant experts from PLEDDG. More than 50 people joined the search for effective ways to combine economic and environmental priorities. This included representatives of the public, environmental organisations, elected officials, executive committee of the city hall, business community as well as educators and scholars. Experts are confident that SEA should become an integral part of strategic planning of the development of cities, thereby ensuring the highest efficiency and speed of approval of managerial decisions that improve the environment instead of harming it.
Needless to say, Zaporizhia’s industry will continue to play a substantial role in the nation’s economy. However, changing the paradigm of a modern economy as an element of sustainability calls for drastic changes in approaches to economic activities, sparing consumption of all sorts of resources and a search for ways to mitigate adverse environmental impacts in the course of growth.
Strategic environmental assessment is a new environmental policy in Ukraine, which is founded on a simple principle: it is better to prevent adverse environmental impacts of operations at the planning stage instead of identifying and rectifying them at the stage of implementation. Major cities with intricately structured economies stand to gain a great deal from SEA, since environmental assessment sends a good signal to investors while being positive for the state as a whole. Since Ukraine positions itself as a country committed to common European values, environmental protection is an important part of its image and future development.
As advised by the SEA work group, the ‘City of a Healthy Environment and Conservation of Resources’ aspect was singled out among the strategic development aspects in the city of Zaporizhia. As part of this, stage one of the Zaporizhia City Development Strategy will see the implementation of such projects as construction of a solid domestic waste landfill, restoration and maintenance of favourable hydrological conditions and cleanliness of rivers, thermal modernisation of 60 buildings of publicly funded institutions and retrofitting the heat supply system.
A result of the SEA has been the creation of the ‘Eco-Coalition of Zaporizhia’ — an informal association of residents that has brought together public activists, journalists, scholars and people’s representatives committed to monitoring the steps taken by the public authorities toward improving the environment. According to representatives of environmental organisations, SEA implementation became a valuable experience for them, helping them both comprehend the essence of the project and realise the need for continued training that will enable them in the future to choose independently the appropriate indicators for measuring project performance and find ways to get residents more actively involved in strategic processes in the city.
Experts note that effective public involvement is a key component of SEA success, since it is extremely important to make sure that the community, who is directly impacted by the development strategy, has been given a chance to express their opinions on its implementation. Representatives of the city’s flagship enterprises also have a profound understanding of the need for improvement of the environmental situation.
Considering environmental impact is an essential component of PLEDDG’s approach. Environmental considerations implemented in all strategies, programs, initiatives and action plans of the 16 Project partner cities without exception. After all, integration of an environmental policy with socio-economic development offers a way to not just stabilise the environmental situation in Ukraine but also advance to a sustainable development model. The environmental situation in Zaporizhia has been identified as the key component of the city’s balanced development. Successful implementation of the planned environment renewal and preservation efforts will help achieve the overriding goal of the Zaporizhia City Development Strategy up to 2028 — to turn it into a modern European city.
|Download success story|