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Free Svydovets - Stop the mega-ski resort in the Carpathians!

Free Svydovets - Stop the mega-ski resort in the Carpathians!

Illegal logging and corruption threaten Ukraine's last primeval forests

(BUCHTINO/CORNA TYSA, UKRAINE) Representatives of an international coalition of environmental NGOs have today raised concerns regarding the planned development of a huge ski resort in one of the last untouched mountain forest regions of the Ukrainian Carpathians.

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Lukas Straumann, the Executive Director of the Swiss Bruno Manser Fonds said that 20 European civil society organizations had written a letter to the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March recalling the Ukrainian government’s international commitments under the Carpathian Convention and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. „We are still waiting for an answer from President Poroshenko.“

Esther Gerber of the European Civic Forum stressed the importance of respecting the rights to information of the local population as stipulated by Ukrainian laws. „So far, the local population has not been adequately informed on the project and its potential consequences on water supply and increased flooding risks due to deforestation.“

The NGO representatives also said they were concerned about the lack of transparency regarding the project which is in contravention to the Aarhus Convention of which the Ukraine is a signatory.

Nicholas Bell of SOS Forêt France and the European Civic Forum said it was shocking to learn that the project would entail the clearcutting of well over 1,000 hectares of mountain forest in the immediate vicinity of the UNESCO-protected Carpathian biosphere. “This will take place in a region already strongly affected by illegal logging and deforestation.“

Bernd Kräftner, Senior Lecturer at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, recalled that central European winter tourism is currently in a stage of transformation due to climate change. Water shortages and lack of sufficient snow cover have become the most important problems for all ski resorts located at an altitude below 2000m. The planned ski resort is expected to have a major impact on the water cycle in the region.

The civil society representatives spoke at the invitation of the Free Svydovets movement, a coalition of Ukrainian environmental and civic rights NGOs which are aiming to stop the planned mega ski resort and enhance the protection of the Carpathian environment.

(20 June 2018)

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