In Ukraine, there have not been climate cases against specific public authorities’ decisions to approve projects that could lead to an increase in emissions or ineffective adaptation.
The lack of a comprehensive national climate law is an obstacle to this type of climate lawsuits, but the 2017 Environmental Impact Assessment Law could provide a future ground.
In Environment-People-Law (EPL) vs. Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and others (2011) (described in scenario 1) the NGO’s complaint against the government and the State Environmental Investment Agency included a request to oblige the State and the Agency to establish and enforce procedures for issuing permits for GHG emissions and to set emissions limits. The grounds relied on by Plaintiffs for this claim was Law 2707-XII on the protection of atmospheric air. Plaintiffs stated that its interests protected under law regarding the protection and preservation of the environment was violated. This claim was dismissed by Kiev District Administrative Court.
Other potential grounds: The law of Ukraine ‘On Environnental Impact Assessment’ (2017) prescribes the obligatory assessment of the impact of a planned activity on the climate, and as such, it may provide a valid legal ground for public project-based litigation in Ukraine.
Regarding standing, Ukraine’s law allows both individuals and organizations to bring lawsuits against public authorities. Particularly, Art. 21 of the Law on Environmental Protection (1995) assigns environmental NGOs the right to appeal to court for the protection of the environment. Secondly, Art. 6 of the Code of Administrative Justice gives each person the right to bring a case whenever her rights, freedom or interests may be affected by the public authorities’ activity or inactivity.
Regarding remedies, in EPL vs. Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and others (2011), plaintiffs asked the Court to oblige the State and the Environmental Investment Agency to develop, submit, adopt, and enforce a procedure on permitting of activities that involve greenhouse gas emissions. The Kiev District Administrative Court dismissed this claim based on its finding that Plaintiffs failed to specify laws or standards that would require the government or its ministries to develop and adopt procedures for issuing permits specifically.
For more country specific context and relevant national climate change law see: https://climate-laws.org/geographies/ukraine
This country report has been produced by Carlotta Garofalo, C2LI Research Assistant, Humzah Khan, C2LI Senior Research Assistant and Kate McKenzie, C2LI Legal Analyst. This summary is based on Mariia Muravska, “Climate Change Litigation in Ukraine” in F. Sindico and M. Moise Mbengue, Comparative Climate Change Litigation: Beyond the Usual Suspects, Springer, 2021.