Ukraine will become a Party to the UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, following the deposit of its instrument of accession with the UN Secretary-General in New York on 6 July 2022. The Convention will enter into force for Ukraine on 4 October 2022. This follows the entry into force on 29 May of a law on accession to the Convention, which was adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament on 3 May, and signed by President Zelenskyy on 17 May.
UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova “welcomes Ukraine’s continued commitment and dedication to preventing and mitigating the impacts of industrial accidents nationally, and across borders.”
“The adoption of the Law by the Ukrainian Parliament and signature by the President at such a difficult time for the State shows the seriousness of the attitude of the Ukrainian leadership towards the prevention of industrial accidents” – commented Mr. Taras Polischuk from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, appointed Focal Point for the Convention. Since the start of the war, the Ukrainian State Emergency Service, in close cooperation with the local authorities, military command, municipal and on-site emergency services, has taken action to maintain safety and mitigate the effects of accidents caused by Russian bombings on facilities holding hazardous substances (such as oil terminals, ammonium nitrate storage facilities and warehouses storing chemicals and agrochemicals).
Continuous attention to industrial accident prevention and preparedness nationally and across borders is essential, in line with the Convention’s objectives and proven 30-year experience, in order to safeguard human lives, health and the environment.
Ms. Torill Tandberg, the Convention’s Chair from the Department for Civil Protection of Norway, warmly congratulates Ukraine on this achievement: “We are looking forward to welcoming Ukraine to our community of Parties and to collaborating with Ukraine in enhancing industrial safety and related transboundary cooperation in order to safeguard the well-being of people and the environment in Ukraine and its neighbouring and riparian countries, benefiting the entire UNECE region”.
Accession builds on strong engagement with the Convention
This accession culminates years of work in the area of industrial safety, seen as extremely important given Ukraine’s high level of industrialization, sizable chemical industry and rich mineral resources. As a beneficiary of the Convention’s Assistance and Cooperation Programme since 2004, Ukraine has been actively participating in a number of activities and projects aimed at strengthening the country’s capacities to safely manage its hazardous activities. In particular, Ukraine implemented the UNECE Danube Delta Project (2010-2015) which allowed to strengthen cooperation with the Republic of Moldova and Romania by enhancing and harmonizing the mechanisms and approaches for hazard and crisis management. Furthermore, Ukraine has strengthened the safety of tailings management facilities, many of which pose a great safety hot spot, with the support of the German Environment Agency under the Convention’s auspices, notably by supporting the development and testing a related checklist methodology (2013-2015), further improving it and training students at universities in its use (2016 – 2017).
The State Emergency Service of Ukraine co-organized together with UNECE a high-level mission to Kyiv in April 2018 to raise awareness of the Ukrainian authorities on how acceding to the Industrial Accidents Convention could enhance its capacities to prevent, prepare for and respond to industrial accidents, including those with transboundary effects, and to minimize their effects, should they still occur. The high-level mission prompted the Government of Ukraine to consider acceding to the Convention, announcing its related intentions at the past two meetings of the Conference of the Parties in 2018 and 2020.
Moreover, in recent years Ukraine has been actively working on the implementation of the Convention’s Strategic Approach, having undergone the process of self-assessment of the six main working areas under the Convention.
Notes to editors
For 30 years UNECE, through its Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, has been supporting member States in the pan-European region in industrial accident prevention, preparedness and response in order to protect people and the environment. The UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents was adopted in 1992, and entered into force in 2000. Since then, countries in the pan-European region, comprising Parties and beneficiary countries of the Assistance and Cooperation Programme, have been cooperating in fostering its implementation. Today, the Convention counts 41 Parties. Countries in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia have benefited from activities under the Convention’s Assistance and Cooperation Programme, founded in 2004. Through the high-level commitment declaration in 2005, the majority of these countries have set out to progressively implement the Convention’s provisions and aspire towards eventual accession.
The Convention applies to installations (so-called “hazardous activities”) holding hazardous substances covered by its annex I, which may cause transboundary effects. At the same time, it sets out to strengthen more broadly policymaking and governance for industrial safety and technological disaster risk reduction, in the spirit of the Sendai Framework. Among its key provisions are the identification of hazardous activities, and related information-sharing with neighbouring countries, the preparation of joint or harmonized off-site contingency plans, prompt notification in case of an industrial accident and mutual assistance to help mitigate consequences. The Convention does not apply to nuclear facilities.