On July 15, at the extraordinary plenary meeting, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is going to consider Draft Law #4461 "On Emerald Network Territory" (Draft Law #4461) in the first reading. However, there is a need to improve this Draft Law significantly.
The business community, united by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, acknowledges the importance of proper environmental protection and protection of especially valuable areas for biodiversity preservation and the necessity to fulfill Ukraine's obligations under international treaties. At the same time, the current version of Draft Law #4461 carries numerous risks of uncertainty and additional losses, which will negatively affect doing business and respective planning in the Emerald Network territory.
Concerns expressed by AmCham Ukraine member companies' experts as well as and proposals for improvement of Draft Law #4461 have been addressed to the Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management.
Key concerns on Draft Law #4461 are following:
- Lack of an exhaustive list of cases (planned activities) when it is necessary to assess the impact on the Emerald Network.
- No criteria for assessing the impact on the Emerald Network.
- No reasonable necessity for additional assessment of the impact on the Emerald Network in the process of land management, which will significantly increase the projected implementation of projects in infrastructure, energy, agricultural sectors.
- Unjustified requirements for additional impact assessment to obtain special permits for geological research and commercial field development, which will block geological exploration as such.
- No exceptions are foreseen regarding the admissible impact on the Emerald Network by planned activities to be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of a social or economic nature.
- Newly introduced prohibitions and restrictions for business entities that already operate legally in the territory that will be a part of the Emerald Network.
- Lack of a sufficient transition period for implementation of the Law if the current version adopted.
- Significant corruption risks, which were also identified in the NACP's conclusion to Draft Law #4461.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine calls upon Members of Parliament not to support the current version of Draft Law #4461 when voting, return it for a second first reading after having considered the business community's proposals.