The Emerald Network is a European-wide protected area network established to protect species and habitats that are threatened to become extinct on a continental scale. This network is designed to comply with the Bern Convention requirements. According to the plan, following Ukraine’s joining the European Union, the Emerald Network will receive considerable funding for the protection and restoration of species and habitats in its areas. Currently, the Network consists of 271 sites, covering 10% of Ukraine’s area. Meanwhile, the average value among the EU countries is 18% of the country’s area.
Primary sites with supporting information related to the Emerald Network created by the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group. You can explore this information on the web map.
Establishment of new Emerald Network Sites
Decisions about inclusion of sites to the Emerald Network are taken at the Council of Europe level. Currently the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group is engaged in this process in Ukraine: we are stakeholders of the international biogeographical process to identify the sites that need to be included to the Emerald Network. Our team is writing papers substantiating the introduction of new Ukrainian sites to the Emerald Network.
More than 60 professional biologists involved in this activity. Since 2016, we have participated in each of the international meetings held in order to determine sufficiency of the network for the protection of each species and habitat. During 2018-2019, our team qualified our state to participate in these events and also represented Ukraine along with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.
For several years Ukraine has nominated 106 sites we have elaborated for inclusion in the Emerald Network. This list was submitted for approval to the Bern Convention in 2019. This will increase the area of the network by an additional 3% of the territory of Ukraine.
Monitoring of violations in the Emerald Network sites
Our team is monitoring cases of activities that might damage the nature of the Emerald Network and combating them. Based on our claims, the Bern Convention has taken under control 5 cases of destruction of Emerald Network sites in Ukraine (military exercises in the Black Sea Reserve, soil plowing in the “Taruta Steppe” reserve, construction of a wind farm in the Borzhava valley etc.). We also monitor all cases where the intentions of damage to the network sites are becoming available to public within the mechanism of EIA, then we submit relevant recommendations.
Promoting the Emerald Network among researchers
During 2017-2018, we organized 9 workshops in regional centers for 400 professional biologists and specialists, which led many researchers to become aware of the Emerald Network and to join us in projecting it. We also organized 20 lectures at 12 universities to introduce the Emerald Network to over 450 students specializing in life sciences. We published public and research manuals on Emerald Network site establishment, a habitat guide and a catalog of areas proposed for inclusion to the Network. In addition, members of the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group published the National Catalogue of Habitats of Ukraine and the first regional guide «Emerald Network of Donetsk region», both of which are ordered by Ukrainian state.
Participation in the legislative process
Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group members participated the development of the Ukrainian Law ” On Emerald Network Sites” and the National Emerald Database, to be approved soon. In 2018, according to proposals from Ukraine (in particular, with the participation of UNCG Members), the Bern Convention introduced 3 new habitat types to Resolution 4 of the Bern Convention. The conservation of these habitat types in Europe specifically depends on their conservation in Ukraine.
Plans for development
We aim to make the Emerald Network qualified, validated by real data on the distribution of species, and include the maximum natural areas in country. We plan to expand the Emerald Network to 20% of the area of Ukraine, elaborate feasible management plans for these sites and secure the necessary funding for this. Once these plans are implemented, we will be confident that the valuable natural areas on 20% of our country’s land will be securely protected at the European level.