Ukrainian Ministry insists on Environmental Assessments of E40 Waterway

The Ukrainian Minister of Environment, Roman Abramovsky, has stated that “the Ministry will insist on Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessments” being carried out before work on the E40 waterway moves forward. Abramovsky made this statement on Facebook following a meeting with a group of environmental activists and NGOs, held at the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine at the end of last year. He further assures, in his post, that as part of its procedures the Ministry will continue to comment on the E40 waterway project. During the meeting itself, Abramovsky stated that the Ministry knows about the E40 waterway project, is aware of the risks of transporting dangerous goods, and does not believe in the project in full, but allows its implementation in the Ukraine-Belarus section. The Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds, a member of the Save Polesia coalition, attended the meeting.

Recent developments

At the beginning of 2020 the Administration of Seaports of Ukraine posted a tender for dredging works on the Pripyat river as part of the construction of the E40 Waterway. The terms of the tender omitted the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment, although this is required by Ukrainian Law prior to construction works.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Energy subsequently addressed the Ministry of Infrastructure to clarify this breach of Environmental Law:

“According to Article 96 of the Water Code of Ukraine, the implementation of projects of economic and other activities without assessing their impact on water fund is prohibited, and in accordance with part one of Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment”, environmental impact assessment is mandatory in making decisions on the implementation of planned activities specified in parts one and two of Article 3 of this Law.”

However, the Ministry of Infrastructure ignored these violations of law. Between July and October 2020, the limited liability company SOBI who won the tender, dredged the Pripyat in at least seven locations to deepen and widen the river as part of construction of the E40 Waterway.

To date, neither a Strategic Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Assessment has been conducted for the E40 Waterway project. The Save Polesia partnership acknowledges the statement of Ukraine’s Minister of Environment and once more highlights the need for full assessments of the environmental impacts of the planned E40 waterway.

Top image is of Roman Abramovsky during the meeting held at the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine on December 24th, 2020. Photo credit: Oleg Lystopad


  • Read the recent Guardian article on the lack of proper risk assessments for the E40 Waterway here.

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