Ukrainian sirens overshadow hopes of facing climate change... In gray, the Ukrainian pavilion expresses the mood of a people suffering from war at Cop27
Welcome, Mr. Oleksiy Ryabchin, member of the Ukrainian delegation at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The Ukrainian pavilion impressed me, reflecting artistic touches despite your war with Russia. What does Kyiv expect from the climate summit, and what is your message to the world?
Thank you for visiting the pavilion, as you can see, most of the participating pavilions are beautiful and full of color and light, but the dominant color on the Ukrainian pavilion is gray and it reflects the general mood of our people and the extent of the devastation left by the war there.
The pavilion has two parts: the first, its muzzle in the soil, resembles those created by projectiles. This year's climate summit is an African summit. Drought prevents African countries from producing crops, and our country has the best soil in the world and helps Africa with food, but Russia is destroying our fertile soil now.
Not only is climate change destroying the earth, but wars do the same thing, causing death and dying. This part of the pavilion tells the story through a number of videos and samples of the missiles.
The second part is a green Ukraine, because we believe we will win this war and we will rebuild our country with the help of the international community, Ukraine will be green again, but when we do this we will rely on modern technology, our homes will be energy efficient. Oil refineries have been destroyed but we can make electric cars, we can rely on green hydrogen and biofuels, wind and solar power. We believe in the importance of green development for our country. This is the message we want to deliver.
You have a green development plan. Did we talk about this?
As I said, this summit is an opportunity to talk with African countries that are strongly influenced by the Russian view. African countries know the meaning of liberation and independence, but the Russians want to take us back to the age of colonialism. We went through the same experience, our country fell under the Russian occupation and after that we became independent and we want to continue our independence, and the Russians are trying to influence our decision which we do not accept.
We fight to win the hearts and minds of people on other continents. We launched this initiative knowing that many people are going hungry, and climate change will make things worse in the future. Food security is very important and that is why we are not only talking about weather and energy, but we are also talking about the food aspect. We can provide more food, agriculture and green products to the African continent, but the problem is that Russia is using this hunger to achieve its goals and make Ukraine suffer more. Our Head of State and Minister of Agriculture will represent this initiative next week and we invite you to speak to the Minister next week.
How do you see country leaders coming here and talking about combating climate change when their own countries are responsible for it?
Every country wants to attract investment for its green agenda, especially if they have a sustainable development plan and can deal with the emissions issue. Developed countries, including the European Union, have pledged to pay $100 billion each year to deal with the issue of climate change. Ukraine is trying to take advantage of this support, but the problem is that Russia occupies the best places to generate energy from wind and sun in Ukraine.
He added that Moscow is destroying solar panels and wind turbines, they are destroying the investments made by Ukraine in the field of environment, they do not care about the weather issue, and this is another message we want to deliver to the world. We will liberate our country and we will resume its green development. Our message to the world, we want to rely on green energy and clean technology.
Do you hope that this year's edition of the summit will be for implementation and action?
This is a big problem, that wars, the global energy crisis, inflation, things that affect the world. The money people spend on oil and gas should be spent on dealing with climate change. The war waged by Russia negatively affects this. The developed countries are unable to fulfill their obligations because of the war, because of the energy crisis.
Are you optimistic that the war will end this year and that your state will gain its freedom?
The Ukrainian president presented his response to the Egyptian president's invitation in a video message to the summit. He said that the world must stop Russia and stop this war. We believe that we will win the war. We are optimistic that we will be able to analyze our country.
Have you attended previous summits? Is there any difference between them and this summit?
This is the seventh time I've attended a climate summit, I've attended previous summits, and by the way, African summits are always special. All the people participating from Egypt feel proud of their nationality, whether the people standing by the doors, serving tea or even taxi drivers, they are all very welcoming. African summits have always focused on the needs of developing countries and the responsibility of developed countries towards these countries. The hope is that all of this turns into serious business.
Do you think this summit is different from the other seven climate summits you've attended in the past?
I thought that this summit would deal with technical matters while preparing for major decisions, but the truth is that the summit has turned into a political event. A large number of state leaders attended, although this matter was not clear two weeks ago, and we are waiting for more leaders to arrive soon, and this is a good sign that the Egyptian side was able to attract all these leaders, which sends a very strong message, and we are now waiting for the negotiators We want to see how they will negotiate and how they will prepare their papers, which is very complicated and boring.
What are the goals that the Ukrainian Minister of Environment wants in this summit?
The minister will hold a press conference, he will meet the leaders in Egypt and talk about all the issues he brought here, he will talk about the grain initiative and the Russian war. There is a lot of Russian money that has been frozen in other countries and we want to be compensated for the damage they have inflicted on our country.
We know that Egypt has suffered a lot from wars and conflicts. And when we take compensation from the aggressors, those aggressors will realize that there is a cost to their aggression, not only in destroying our country but also in destroying the environment.
Tell me about the war and how young Ukrainians see it, right?
This is a very complicated thing. Talking about the climate is very difficult amid the roar of sirens.
I was a member of the Verkhovna Rada and had the same problems; the climate is mainly about money, about green jobs, about green technology. That is why politicians and officials should speak to the people.
Do you think that the necessary funding to deal with the climate change file can be obtained through this summit, especially in light of the global economic deterioration?
Ukraine is one of the developing countries, and that is why it feels the same pain. It is trying to attract the same funding, and this puts it in competition with Egypt and other countries. The solution from our point of view, which is what the Ukrainian president said to the Egyptian president, is to stop this war. This will make the world safer and will give the world an opportunity to spend money on solving global problems such as climate change, not on wars.
Is there anything you want to say in conclusion?
I want to thank the Egyptian side for the support it provides to our country. We have many business cooperation with Egypt. It would be good if our countries could work and win, not fight, and this would contribute to the well-being of our people, and this would qualify us to deal with climate change.
Ukraine pavilion at the UN Climate Change Conference: the first-time presence
The United Nations' Climate Change Conference (COP27) is helding at Sharm EL Sheikh International Convention Center in Egypt from 6 to 18 November 2022. Ukraine, which had previously participated in the event for many years, is represented by its own pavilion for the first time. The main task is to demonstrate the devastating effects of the war to the whole world and to gain support for the revival of the country. The presentation of the pavilion took place on November 7. On November 8, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will address the participants.
At the main annual world event dedicated to the fight against climate change, Ukraine also plans to hold various events. The goal is to start an international dialogue to agree on common approaches to calculating the damage and consequences caused by war. In particular, the "Green Grain Paths" initiative will be presented, which raises the issue of the global threat to world food security and the creation of partnerships at each stage of the grain supply chain.
"Our task is to tell the world about Ukraine's commitment to climate goals, aspirations for development, as well as to reveal Russia's climate crimes and their global consequences," says the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Ruslan Strilets. — The Ukrainian delegation will block all attempts by the Russian Federation to legitimize its illegal climate reports. Also, as part of this year's negotiation process, it is important for Ukraine to receive financial support and market and non-market mechanisms for implementing the goals of the Paris Agreement."
The Ukraine pavilion consists of 3 sense blocks. In its center is an installation in the form of a shell funnel. Fertile Ukrainian lands are now dotted with them. Inside the funnel visitors will find more than 500 cubes created from 100% recycled and 100% recyclable plastic material Polygood by The Good Plastic Company with 16 types of Ukrainian soil — a reminder of Ukraine's enormous potential and its importance for global food stability. Thematically, the pavilion is divided into 2 blocks - the consequences of the war for the climate and the vision of the future of Ukraine, as one of the guarantors and participants of the climate goals of the UN.
"The pavilion presented by Ukraine demonstrates that climate justice remains at the core of the Ukrainian government's plan for sustainability and recovery, even in this difficult time for the country," says Christophoros Politis, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Ukraine, who supported the creation of the pavilion.
"We are confident that the Ukrainian government's commitment to national climate policy and participation in the global agenda will provide additional support for the country in its eventual green revival," adds Rémi Duflot, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine.
"Ukraine is to play a decisive role in the renewed system of European energy security, free from Moscow's blackmail. We are fully prepared for the renewable energy of the future, focused on solar, wind, hydrogen generation. And the creation of the first Ukrainian pavilion during the war is the best proof of this determination," says Maksym Timchenko, CEO of DTEK, the largest private investor in Ukraine's energy sector.
The Ukrainian pavilion at COP27 is created by the teams of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, with the support and assistance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the European Union, the Federal Cabinet of Germany, International Climate Initiative, the German Society for International Cooperation GIZ, the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine, DTEK Group (the largest private investor in the energy sector of Ukraine), EPAM IT company, Moving forward together organization. The concept of the pavilion was developed by the Gres Todorchuk agency in collaboration with the FORMA architectural office.