Moldova should review Strategic Program on the Nistru River, IPP

“The Government of Moldova voluntarily and unconsciously renounces international legal instruments that can protect its interests related to the country’s strategic water resources,” says a study entitled “How and Why the Governments of Moldova and Ukraine should amend the Strategic Action Program for the Nistru River Basin for 2021-2035?” Eight small amendments that can prevent large costs were presented in a news conference at IPN by Ion Efros, associated energy, climate and environmental policy analyst of the Institute for Public Policy (IPP).

Analyzing the Strategic Action Program for the Nistru River Basin for 2021-2035, the expert reached the conclusion that the Moldovan authorities should suspend and amend the Program so as to improve it by making at least eight amendments that can prevent large costs in the future. “If this Program is kept in the same state and with the same content after its signing on March 31, 2021, the degradation of the ecosystems, the well-being of the population and communities from the Nistru River Basin in Moldova and Ukraine will continue,” stated Ion Efros. He noted the Program should be suspended and amended as soon as possible.

The expert recommended the governments of the two signatory states to take into account all the studies centering on the management of the Nistru River as analytical basis for the Program. “One study cannot address in detail even the biggest risk factors,” said Ion Efros. The Program does not incorporate the key environmental directives from the Association Agreements of Moldova and Ukraine (environmental assessment, strategic environmental assessment and damage compensation) and also the environmental directives of the Energy Community Treaty. The Program should be supplemented with an additional set of European directives covered by the international commitments of Moldova and Ukraine, which should prevent and diminish a wide range of problems and risks existing in the Nistru River Basin.

“The lack of afforestation commitments on the part of Ukraine, by stipulating clear indicators and time limits, jeopardizes from the start any idea of a program that is designed to prevent the degradation of water resources in transfrontier context. Such elementary indicators as the number of planted trees (millions or billions), planed areas (number of hectares), with specific short-, medium- and long-term goals until 2035, should be added to this Program,” said the expert. The losses of ecosystem services should be taken into account so as to identify and take compensatory measures for partially restoring the ecosystem losses associated with the negative impact of economic activities on the Nistru.

Another recommendation of the study is for the Program to take into consideration factors from the Nistru River that are a source of climate change at the local level, such as microclimate pressure factors. Without clear, systemic and detailed exchange of information on hydropower constructions and their work regime on the Nistru, the Program is formal, hollow and inefficient, while the objective to improve the hydrological regime of the Nistru is compromised form the start. “The Ukrainian side should provide the Moldovan side not only with the draft exploitation regulations, but also with the whole set of data based on which the regulations were drafted and the access of Moldovan and international technical experts to these facilities should be ensured,” said the expert, noting investments in “green” infrastructure should be encouraged throughout the Nistru River Basin.

Ion Efros proposed verifying the legality of the signing of this transboundary Program based on the law on the government and the law on international treaties of the Republic of Moldova.

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