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UN body opens case file about planned construction of Svydovets tourism complex in Ukraine

UN body opens case file about planned construction of Svydovets tourism complex in Ukraine

A planned mega ski resort in the Ukrainian Carpathians is suspected to cause significant transboundary environmental impacts – The Espoo Convention has opened a case file to investigate whether Ukraine complies with international obligations on environmental protection.

(GENEVA / SWITZERLAND) The Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention has opened a case file about the planned construction of a mega ski resort in the Ukrainian Carpathians. This can be read from a recently disclosed report on the March 2019 meeting of the Espoo Implementation Committee. The Espoo Convention, a multilateral agreement under the UN Economic Commission for Europe, sets out the obligations for countries regarding major projects with significant adverse transboundary environmental impacts.

The Committee requests the Ukrainian government to provide detailed information on the planned Svydovets ski resort and to justify its procedure with regard to the environmental impact assessment. In addition, Hungary and Romania are asked to declare whether they have been adequately informed about the large-scale project.

The Svydovets massif, one of Ukraine’s most pristine forest landscapes, is located close to the borders with Hungary and Romania. The planned tourism complex includes 230 km slopes, 23 ski lifts, 60 hotels, 120 restaurants and 390 apartment buildings for 27’000 people daily.

The source of the Tisza river, a main tributary of the Danube, is located in the territory of the planned ski resort. The production of sewage and the planned use of large amounts of water for artificial snow threaten to change the water cycle of the Tisza river with potentially adverse effects for downstream communities in Hungary and Romania.

On 3 May 2018, Hungary officially declared itself as an affected Party under the Espoo Convention. Until today, Ukraine has not answered Hungary’s written request for detailed information on the project. This amounts to a violation of Article 3 of the Espoo Convention regarding the notification of potentially affected Parties.

The Bruno Manser Fund filed a complaint for the attention of the Espoo Implementation Committee regarding the Svydovets project in November 2018.

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