The war in Ukraine is still raging and changing the world beyond comprehension. It has not only caused immense human suffering and socio-economic damage but also significantly impacted the natural environment.
The first priority for WWF has been ensuring the safety and security of its staff and partners as well as the viability of our operations. With partner organizations, we have also monitored the environmental impacts of the war and responded to legislative changes that could further threaten the integrity of Ukraine’s natural capital. We are also looking forward, anticipating the time when active conflict finally ends and the focus shifts to reconstruction. The war has already been an unmitigated disaster. But there is nevertheless an opportunity that must be seized to “build back better”.
Although the war is still raging, discussion and planning for eventual recovery have already started inside and outside Ukraine. A draft of the Recovery Plan for Ukraine will be presented by high officials at the international Ukraine Recovery Conference (July 4-5, Lugano). Ukrainian environmental organizations insist that the recovery can and must go far beyond a quick-fix rebuild and create a sustainable future for coming generations.
Seize the moment – together
At WWF, we believe that the focus of post-war reconstruction efforts must not be simply on rebuilding what has been destroyed, but rather on investing in the future – investments must be transformative and sustainable, fit for the future, and not simply be about reconstructing the past. Therefore we call on governments, development banks, financial institutions, and aid agencies to join efforts for ensuring that post-war reconstruction efforts in Ukraine are designed in partnership with the Ukrainian authorities and civil society – while aligning with international standards and nature-positive, climate-smart and inclusive reconstruction.
WWF principles for reconstruction
WWF is suggesting the following Principles for Sustainable and Transformative post-war reconstruction of Ukraine and is ready to support Ukrainian and international entities involved in the recovery so that these principles are implemented. The four principles are as follows:
Ensuring transparency, inclusiveness, participatory and accountability principles are applied in post-war reconstruction efforts;
Driving capacity development for innovation and use of best-available technologies;
Streamlining a nature-positive and climate-smart approach in all sectors;
Following international best practices and standards, including approximation to EU legislation.
Preparing for the future
In 2022, and in continuation with coordinated efforts deployed in the previous months, WWF is planning to mobilize its global expertise, professional partnerships as well as the scientific community, and to involve critical stakeholders including corporate and financial institutions. In particular, WWF will develop, advocate and support the implementation of an overall vision and specific recommendations and initiatives for building back better, including:
- Developing a blueprint for the recovery of Ukraine to inform high-level decision-making;
- Defining specific recommendations for key selected sectors and areas (e.g., Forestry, Energy and Climate, Transport, etc.);
- Identifying and developing initiatives to build back better that work with nature rather than against it, and that can increase resilience to climate change in the future;
- Developing and implementing an international fundraising campaign to support building back better in Ukraine;
- Promoting investments in a nature- and climate-positive future.
In doing so, WWF will seek to work closely with relevant authorities, the expert community, civil society, and other stakeholders both inside and outside of Ukraine to identify and cultivate the best strategies and solutions.
The challenges facing Ukraine are immense. But there are also opportunities. Facing these challenges and seizing these opportunities can only be done by working together.