Human suffering and devastated foundations of life in Ukraine – help from the international community

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke working for green recovery of Ukraine / Launch of a Platform for Action on the Green Recovery at the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024
11 June 2024
Press Service – No. NN/24
Environmental protection / international

The Platform for Action on the Green Recovery in Ukraine, an initiative by Federal Environment Minster Steffi Lemke, is being launched today at the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024. The official signing of the Joint Statement will take place in Berlin this afternoon, attended by international partners including UNEP, the OECD and UNECE. EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna are also participating in the ceremony. The platform aims to support the Ukrainian government in anchoring environmental protection in the recovery process. The Federal Environment Ministry is providing 5 million euros in funding for the platform.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke commented: “I want to support Ukraine in anchoring environmental protection in the recovery process. We are already laying the foundation stone for this during the ongoing state of war. It is evident that good environmental infrastructure is the basis for a sustainable and competitive economy. That is why we must create the conditions and incentives needed for businesses and municipalities to invest. This is why we are launching a Platform for Action on the Green Recovery to support the Ukrainian government on the path to EU accession. I am very pleased that the OECD, UNEP and UNECE are signing this cooperation agreement today.”

The Platform for Action was developed with the support of the Federal Environment Ministry by three international organisations – OECD, UNEP and UNECE – on the initiative of Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke in coordination with Ukrainian partners and the European Commission. The platform aims to support the Ukrainian government in anchoring environmental protection in the recovery process. Specifically, the platform seeks to integrate economic and environmental expertise in the recovery process and focus on the necessary framework conditions in regulations and finances to facilitate the green recovery and adopt and implement the EU environmental acquis. The Platform for Action will also gain an overview of Ukraine’s needs and the support options for donors and other organisations.

Environmental protection is a prerequisite not only for sustainable recovery, but also for EU accession: In order to join, Ukraine must adopt and implement the EU environmental acquis. Moreover, a green recovery also needs to be linked to the economic reconstruction process.

Today Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and Ukrainian Environment Minister Ruslan Strilets are co-hosting a panel discussion which, for the first time at a Ukraine Recovery Conference, stresses the importance of environmental protection in Ukraine’s recovery process. Also taking part in the panel discussion “Green Recovery and European Green Deal for Ukraine” are Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries; Margot Wallström, a former EU Environment Commissioner, Sweden’s former foreign minister and co-chair of a high-level working group on war-related environmental damage; Mark Bowman, Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and – representing civil society – Nataliya Adrusevych, Chair of the governing board of the Resource and Analysis Center “Society and Environment”.

The panel will consider what conditions must be met for a green recovery of Ukraine. This will include discussing a functioning environmental infrastructure as a prerequisite for private sector investment and strengthening competitiveness. The panel will also identify current obstacles to investment in environmental infrastructure in Ukraine and highlight the role of municipalities and NGOs in a green recovery.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke: “The war is causing immense human suffering. Families are mourning their dead. Children are growing up without their fathers. People are losing what they have spent a lifetime building. At the same time, the war is causing massive environmental damage. In many places, the infrastructure for drinking water and waste water disposal has been largely destroyed. The main focus is, currently, the safety and health of the Ukrainian population. This primarily concerns basic services, in particular drinking water. For the success of the recovery process, however, it is important that from the outset environment and climate issues are considered alongside economic and financial matters. Water supply, waste water disposal, a stable energy system and healthy nature are essential for the health and safety of the people, but also for the competitiveness of industry.”

The environment panel discussion 4.3. is taking place from 5.45 pm to 6.45 pm. The live stream can be accessed on the URC homepage at


Following the last Ukraine Recovery Conference in London, this year’s conference is taking place on 11 and 12 June in Berlin on the invitation of Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. By hosting the Ukraine Recovery Conference, the German government is underlining its support for Ukraine and its commitment to Ukraine’s recovery. Long before Russia’s war of aggression, the Federal Environment Ministry enjoyed close cooperation with Ukraine. Besides the cooperation to date, since the Russian invasion the Federal Environment Ministry has been supporting Ukraine above all with emergency response measures in the field of infrastructure. This includes assistance in securing basic services such as drinking water.