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Ukrainian Activities on the Local Level on CCA


Ukrainian Activities on the Local Level on CCA

In September and October 2013, a series of intergovernmental seminars "Support regional efforts to develop regional action plans on climate change adaptation" were held in three Ukrainian cities (Ternopil, Donetsk, and Poltava) as the first stage of development of the regional action plans on CCA. Representatives of the local authorities, the public, and representatives of environmental departments and offices attended it.

During those seminars, experts have determined aspects in which the cities are the least adaptable to climate change. So, Ukrainian cities are the most vulnerable through the density of population and harmful conditions of urban ecosystems.

For the climate change vulnerability assessment, the working groups analyzed city data according to the following criteria:

  • vulnerability to heat stress;
  • vulnerability to flooding;
  • the existence and quality of urban green spaces;
  • vulnerability to extreme weather events;
  • vulnerability to the quality and reduce the amount of potable water;
  • vulnerability to the spread of infectious diseases and allergens;
  • vulnerability of the energy system of the city.

Ukrainian cities should be prepared to challenges, which depend on the geographical location and economic development. For Ternopil and other western regions of Ukraine, the greatest hazard today is floods. For justification, workshop participants presented data flooding in July 23-27, 2008, when 26 districts have been flooded, and 24 agricultural objects have been destroyed in the whole area of 2074 ha.

All meteorologists agreed that in the Ternopil region in the last decade is much warmer. "Since 1997, the annual temperature was fixed above the norm, for example, 2000 and 2007 years were the warmest in the history," - said Oksana Sofinska, Head of the Ternopil regional hydrometeorology center. According to her data for the last 10 years, average amount of dangerous weather events in the Ternopil region are from 90 to 100 during the year (in 2010 there were a record number of hazards - 115), 5-6 extreme weather events and extreme weather changes 2-4.

Different situation is in the Donetsk region. The most dangerous hazard from climate change is a vulnerability to heat stress and a decrease in quantity and quality deterioration of drinking water. Although the Donetsk region does not rich in water resources, at the same time, its heavy industry is characterized by huge water consumption. According to hydrologists’ information, spring tide of the Seversky Donets River in the period from 2000 to 2013 (except 2003 and 2006) was on average 20-40 % of the norm, and in 2013 was not observed at all. Such situation is not typical for this pool.

According to Vera Balabukh’s research (Head of synoptic meteorology department in Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute), the average, maximum, and minimum temperatures for the period of 1961-2011 years have increased markedly. The number of ordinary rains have reduced, however, the number of heavy rainfalls have increased. In consequence of that fact, huge amount of rainfalls fall down in a short period in a large volume. Also in the Donetsk region the frequency of severe weather events has increased. Appropriate conditions for greenhouse gases accumulation in the atmosphere are increased too: the number of unwind days and days with fog.

The Working Group of the Poltava region state that their region is not very sensitive to heat stress and flooding. A key problem has been defined as vulnerability of green areas of Poltava (the appearance of new pests and invasive species, the disappearance of traditional forms under the influence of high temperature), and the complexity of new weather conditions for agriculture. Already in current time it is necessary to change some crops more resistant to drought and high temperatures.

Importantly that the workshops were conducted under the auspices of the State Agency of Environmental Investment. The results of the expert group workshops will be used for development the regional plans on climate change adaptation.

Thematic articles in Ukrainian are available here:  cliategroup.org.ua/?p=2193