Eco Forum — 2020 took place on October 15-17, 2020 in Zaporizhzhia. Climate change was this year’s key topic.
Eco Forum — 2020 took place on October 15-17, 2020 in Zaporizhzhia. Climate change was this year’s key topic. Zaporizhzhia City Council and the Zaporizhzhia Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-hosted the event. This year, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, has become the Forum’s partner because climate change is one of the priority areas of our work. The Foundation supported the development of environmental management criteria to reduce the environmental impact of the Forum.
The International Zaporizhzhia Ecological Forum has been conducted 4 times in a row, and it has become a powerful platform for dialogue between local governments, industrialists, and public representatives. Strengthening the links between these stakeholders was of the highest importance for the further greening of the industrial region, therefore even in the context of the spread of coronavirus infection, organizers decided not to cancel the event but to hold it with a limited number of participants and fully met the quarantine requirements. More than 80 Ukrainian and foreign speakers attended the Forum. In addition, many experts had to participate online due to the pandemic.
The Eco-2020 environmental exhibition took place simultaneously with the Forum. Among the participants were industrial enterprises and utility companies, presenting their exhibits and thematic developments. The Forum included various round tables and panel discussions on severe environmental issues in the region. Participants also joined the nationwide Greening Ukraine project.
The Climate Conference, held on October 15, was the key event of the Forum. At the beginning of the event, Iryna Stavchuk, the Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, congratulated the participants via video uplink. She pointed out the importance of holding an eco-forum and focused on the priorities of Ukraine's climate policy in the coming years.
At the opening of the forum, Zaporizhzhia joined the European Union's Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and signed a corresponding document. Under the agreement, the city has committed to reaching a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030.
"I would like to congratulate Zaporizhzhia on the signing of this Agreement. The city makes voluntary commitments, in particular, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The main thing is that Zaporizhzhia really has an action plan in this direction," said Kostiantyn Hura, the acting Chairman of the State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine.
First Deputy Mayor Serhii Mishok has noted that environmental improvement has been and remains a significant issue both for local governments and Zaporizhzhia residents. In this regard, signing an agreement with industrialists, as well as Zaporizhzhia joining the Covenant of Mayors, constitute an essential step today.
"I am sure that it will be a powerful impetus for further development of the city in general. Zaporizhzhia should continue its work in this direction and transform into an eco-friendlier and more comfortable city," said Serhii Mishok.
Climate Change and Energy Policy Program Coordinator at Heinrich Boell Foundation, Kyiv Office — Ukraine, Oksana Aliieva, also took part in the plenary part of the Forum.
"Ukraine should strive for an eco-centric approach when people consider the needs of the environment and biodiversity when planning development. The European Green Deal, which offers socio-environmental transformation as a solution to current economic difficulties, is based on these principles. We need to rebuild our infrastructure and rethink our attitude toward the environment by countering climate change and adapting to its consequences. This provides an opportunity to build a fair society because climate change has the strongest impact on vulnerable populations and deepens social segregation," she stated.