REC achieves long-anticipated milestone

REC, Ukraine Government sign agreement to formally establish REC country office in Ukraine

January 25, 2018

SEALING THE DEAL: REC Executive Director Mihail Dimovski and Mykola Kyzyo, Deputy Minister of European Integration, Ukraine Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, shake hands on the new agreement.

The REC opened a new chapter on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, with the signing of an agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the REC to formally establish a REC Country office in Ukraine. The ceremony took place at the InterContinental Hotel in Kyiv.

“Congratulations to everyone from the REC who helped to make this achievement possible,” exclaimed REC Executive Director Mihail Dimovski. “We can now keep working to achieve new goals and aim for even better cooperation!”

In 2012, the Government of Ukraine signed both the Charter of the REC and the International Agreement about the Legal Status of the REC. The Parliament of Ukraine (Verkhovna Rada) ratified the International Agreement on July 15, 2015. On November 22, 2017, the Ukraine Cabinet of Ministers adopted the Resolution No. 830-p on signing the agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the REC to establish a REC office in the country.

The agreement was signed by Mr. Dimovski (on behalf of the REC) and Mykola Kuzyo, EU Deputy Affairs Minister from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine (on behalf the Government of Ukraine). 

“I’d like to extend my gratitude to Mr. Kuzio and Mr. Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, for recognising our efforts and supporting REC projects,” Mr. Dimovki said.

Prior to the signing, the REC Executive Director and several other distinguished guests delivered opening remarks, namely: Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine; H.E. Martin Hagstrom, Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine; H.E. Ole T. Horpestad, Ambassador of Norway to Ukraine; H.E. Erno Keskeny, Ambassador of Hungary to Ukraine; and Johannes Baur, Head of Operation for Economic Cooperation, Energy, Infrastructure and Environment of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

Minister Semerak welcomed the opening of REC Ukraine, emphasising that Ukraine needs the experience that the REC will bring.

Representing the country in which the REC has its Head Office, H.E. Ambassador Keskeny was optimistic about the future in stating: “Today's event is a clear sign of the Government of Ukraine’s intention to invest further in the improvement of environmental issues with the support of the REC.”

The agreement was warmly welcomed by two of the REC’s key bilateral donors in attendance, Sweden and Norway.

“The REC, supported by Norway, has been working closely with Ukrainian local self-government and CSOs, and the signing of this agreement with the Government of Ukraine, is one more important milestone in the assistance to be provided by the REC,” H.E. Ambassador Horpestad stated.

"Environmental challenges respect no borders and deserve more political and personal attention in Ukraine," said H.E. Ambassador Hagstrom. "Sweden will remain a strong supporter of greener solutions, energy efficiency in particular. The establishment of REC Ukraine will play an important role in putting environmental issues higher on the political and personal agenda of citizens."

Immediately following the signing ceremony, Mr. Dimovski delivered his vision for the future of the REC in Ukraine.

“The REC has already completed more than 60 projects in Ukraine, valued at roughly EUR 10 million,” Dimovski said. “The REC will be reliable partner of Ukraine’s governmental institutions and civil society organisations. In completing its mission, the REC will act as a neutral, flexible and effective project-based international organisation in Ukraine.”

The REC has developed a detailed two-and-a-half-year roadmap for its work in Ukraine. During the first half of 2018, the REC will work on mapping short-term and mid-term technical assistance and capacity building needs, while also networking with CSOs and local authorities based on current projects. The second half of this year will involve a review of strategic documents with ministries in the context of implementation, as well as the preparation of project pipelines based on identified needs.

In the first six months of next year, the REC will, based on identified needs, develop and initiate several complex technical assistance and capacity building projects, and will work to establish a mechanism for effective communication with line ministries and CSOs. A major highlight of the latter half of 2019 will be a national conference on progress achieved against requirements of the Association Agreement on environment and other areas.

It is envisaged that, already by 2020, the REC will be an established as an effective partner of the Government of Ukraine in supporting national and local-level administration in environmental protection, climate change, energy efficiency and energy security.