Keep Polesia vast and wild

This natural paradise needs to be protected for our future generations. That’s why our partnership aims to preserve the rivers in this region, not turning them into navigation channels.

2/3 of Europe’s freshwater habitats have already lost their natural status, we cannot afford further losses. We believe that the governments involved in the planning of the E40 waterway as well as potential investors should fully review the economy of the planned project. Currently, there is no evidence provided that E40 is economically competitive with existing alternative transportation routes. From our perspective the focus should primarily lie on further improving already existing road and rail logistics – thus conserving Europe’s largest natural floodplain!

Invest in our future

Biodiversity loss is one of the major environmental crises of today, and the E40 would likely lead to further irreplaceable losses. Therefore, the three governments must, with the support of international financial institutions, invest in the improved management and maintenance of their existing protected area network.

The investment in protecting Europe’s transboundary wilderness areas will enhance essential ecosystem services such as mitigating climate change impacts or reducing flood disaster damage. In addition, the Polesia can economically benefit local communities through sustainable green tourism. The status of Western Polesia, which is a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve, can also be strengthened to strive towards a green economy in the region. These are not the only benefits arising when keeping the Polesia vast and wild.

Read more on the values of the Polesia and on the threats posed by E40

We say no to the proposed E40 waterway, because we want to preserve Europe’s Amazon for nature, for us, and for future generations.

We call for:

1. Environmental accountability

The area which is impacted by the E40 inland waterway must clearly and transparently be defined. The process to delineate the territory should consider hydro-morphological connections as well as the migration routes of various species.

Whenever there is a lack of data in terms of environmental impacts, the precautionary principle must be applied to shift the burden of proof to the proponents of the E40 inland waterway.

2. Public participation

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires a strong stakeholder involvement in the development and implementation of River Basin Management Plans (RBMP). The WFD is adopted in Polish legislation and currently implemented in Belarus and Ukraine through the development of the Pripyat and Dnipro RBMPs within the framework of EUWI+East project. Based on the rules of the WFD, citizens and civil society organizations must be able to actively participate in the stakeholder consultation of RBMPs and thereby expressing their opinion about the development of the E40 waterway.

3.  Transparency

The implementation of the E40 waterway would require significant financial commitment from the three countries involved. As the E40 would mean a heavy burden on tax payer, the financial transparency about planning is critically important. Therefore, our partnership calls the governments and private and public financial institutions to be fully transparent about any financial commitment in relation to this infrastructure development.