Preparation of a Strategic Action Program for the Dnipro River Basin and Development of SAP Implementation Mechanism


Jump to: navigation, search
edit  ·  Case StudiesWater Knowledge Fair 2006
Browse other video exhibits from Cyprus | Egypt | Jordan | Lithuania | Morocco | Romania | Somalia | Tajikistan | Crimea | Uzbekistan
Other Exhibits from:

Albania | Armenia | Belarus | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Caspian Sea Basin | Danube River Basin | Dnipro Basin | Kazakhstan (1) | Kazakhstan (2) | Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan | Macedonia/Prespa Lake | Montenegro/Lake Skadr | Peipsi/Chudskoe Basin | Romania (1) | Romania (2) | Turkey (1) | Turkey (2) | Turkey (3)

Other Case Studies:

Cap-Net/UNDP | Enhancing Access to Information and Public Participation in Environmental Decision-making | ‘Value Base Assessment procedure’ and the use of Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) in relation to transboundary water management | TEST - Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology in the Danube River Basin | IW:LEARN: Facilitating Knowledge Sharing Among GEF International Waters Project Portfolio and their Partners | GloBallast - Invasion of the Killer Species

Related resources:

Summaries of Forum I: Status of IWRM in Europe, CIS and the Arab States / Forum II: From the HDR 2006 to Action on the Ground / Forum III: Stakeholder Management in Water Projects | Lessons from the Virtual Knowledge Fair as KM-event (behind the scenes) |

Dnipro River countries strengthen cooperation

The Dnipro River (Dnieper) is the third largest river in Europe. After the Danube, it is the second largest river that empties into the Black Sea. It intersects Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. The Dnipro basin has been described as a ‘classic example of unsustainable development' because people have tried to convert a traditionally agricultural region into a major industrial one in the space of a few decades.

The situation has been complicated by the extreme social and economic difficulties all three riparian countries have faced in their economic and political transitions. To address the serious pollution issues facing these countries, a project was designed to provide a scientific basis, structure and action plan for national and international activities to clean up and protect the Dnipro River.

The project set out to promote a response to complex environmental problems. But first, project implementers needed to understand the causal chain between perceived problems and their societal root causes. In this regard, there was a need to revise and update the Dnipro Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), which had been first prepared in the mid 1990s. Accordingly, the revision of the TDA became the first priority of the project.

The revision was intended to be a concise document that policy makers could easily understand. It was to focus on transboundary issues and clearly highlight those that might be eligible for GEF funding. As part of the first component, a transboundary management regime and coordinating body was created.

The second step will involve developing a Strategic Action Programme for protecting the transboundary environment of the Dnipro Basin. It should incorporate clear milestones where achievements can be measured. It will also describe the multi-country institutional arrangements needed for ensuring implementation of the programme and for monitoring its effectiveness.

The impact of the project cannot be measured in terms of short-term water quality improvements, but rather in the extent to which it has laid the foundation for regional collaboration and national actions to improve water quality over the long term. In this regard, the project has had a positive impact.

As a result of the project, the Dnipro Basin countries are allotting funds in their national budgets to improve the water quality of the Dnipro. In particular, Ukraine's budget for water-quality related investments and control measures along the Dnipro and its tributaries has increased threefold since 2001.

The project has had a positive impact on the amount and extent of information being shared between environmental officials and technical experts amongst the three states. During the evaluation mission, more than a few local beneficiaries and experts indicated that they viewed it to be one the most successful internationally funded projects they know of.


Preparation of a Strategic Action Program for the Dnipro River Basin and Development of SAP Implementation Mechanism

This was a self-standing GEF project designed to develop a programme of measures and their respective implementation mechanisms in order to sustainably protect Europe’s third largest river, the transboundary Dnipro and through this, to contribute to the protection of regional and global international waters. The management capacity both at the level of individual countries and at the regional level would be strengthened; and wider global benefits would accrue to the basin countries as well as those of the Black Sea.

The long-term objectives of the project were to remedy the serious environmental effects of pollution and habitat degradation in the Dnipro River Basin, to ensure sustainable use of its resources, and to protect biodiversity in the basin. The project included seven specific objectives:

  1. Create a transboundary management regime and co-ordinating body;
  2. Assist countries in the formulation, review and endorsement process of a Strategic Action Programme;
  3. Improve financial/legal/operational mechanisms for pollution reduction and sustainable resource use;
  4. Formulation of National Action Plans by Inter-ministerial Committees;
  5. Improve conservation of biodiversity in the Dnipro River Basin;
  6. Enhance communication among stakeholders and encourage public awareness and involvement in addressing the problems of the Dnipro Basin; and
  7. Build capacity for SAP implementation.

Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

The beneficiary countries were the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

The Project covered the whole Dnipro Basin and was primarily focused on transboundary pollution issues.


This project was part of the GEF Black Sea Basin Strategic Approach. The Dnipro Project is to be executed by UNOPS, with full involvement of specialised UN Agencies where appropriate and with the International Development Research Centre (Canada) acting as partners for the execution of specific components. The partnership with IDRC facilitated continuity with on-going projects in the region and greater leverage of donor funds.


* Lubomyr Markevych, CTA and Project Manager,


Background and Significance

The Dnipro River is the third largest in Europe and is also the second largest river (after the Danube) emptying into the Black Sea.

The Dnipro basin itself has been described as a “classic example of unsustainable development” due to the past legacy of trying to convert a traditionally agricultural region into a major industrial one in the space of a few decades. The situation has been complicated by the extreme social and economic difficulties all three riparian countries are facing in the transition to market economies

About 33 million people live in the Dnipro basin however the Dnipro river is no longer a self-regulating river-ecosystem and the severe environmental and health problems which have arisen not only impact the ecosystems and inhabitants of the Dnipro Basin, but also of the entire Black Sea region.

Many of the consequences of the environmental degradation in the Dnipro basin are transboundary in nature. The break-up of the former Soviet Union resulted in new societal divisions and different economic and political objectives and strategies amongst the newly independent riparian states.

Recognizing the above, the Ministers of Environment from the three riparian countries signed a statement in June 1996, in Helsinki expressing their intention to provide resources and participate equally in the development of a programme for the rehabilitation of the Dnipro Basin. This was a clear statement of commitment by the governments of the region, and shows their intention to work closely together towards clearly defined common goals.

As a result of this process, the first Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) was completed and submitted in 1997. A key recommendation of the first TDA was the need for a more comprehensive study that examined social and economic issues and the need for a more inter-sectoral approach towards managing the Dnipro Basin.

For all of the above it was recognized that now is the critical time to establish an international management regime for the Dnipro River in order to avoid potential friction and conflicts resulting from misunderstandings between the riparian countries and to protect the Black Sea commons with the establishment of an emergency system which would prevent trans-frontier pollution crises.

The Dnipro project arose from the recommendations for improvements and restructuring of the system for institutional capacity building and the establishment of a new tranboundary institutional framework.

Goal and Objectives

The goal and objective of the Dnipro project focused on one aspect of the environmental problem, the transboundary management of the river basin with the objective of protecting international waters regionally and globally.

The first step in promoting a response to complex environmental problems was the need to understand the causal chain between perceived problems and their societal root causes. In this regard there was a need to revise and update the Dnipro TDA prepared in the mid 1990s. Accordingly the revison of the TDA became the first priority of the current project. The revision was intended to be a concise document that could be easily understood by policymakers. It was to focus on transboundary issues and clearly distinguish those that might be eligible for GEF funding from those that are part of the “country baseline”.

The second step was to develop a Strategic Action Programme for protecting the transboundary environment of the Dnipro Basin. It should incorporate clear milestones where achievements can be measured. It will also describe the multi-country institutional arrangements needed for ensuring the implementation of the programme and for monitoring its effectiveness.

The Experience: Challenges and Solutions


The Development of a Revised and Updated TDA

The deficiency of recent and reliable information on the state of the Dnipro river led to the preparation of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) which focused on priority environmental issues that were transboundary in nature. The preparation of the TDA involved the assessment of the impacts (both environmental and socio-economic) of transboundary issues, and the identification of institutional, legal and policy issues that needed to be addressed.

A comprehensive analysis of transboundary issues provided a factual basis for the formulation of recommended options for improving the environmental situation and ensuring the sustainable development of the Dnipro Basin. The TDA was produced on the basis of comprehensive studies of the physical and geographical features, water uses, and the socio-economic and environmental situation in the Dnipro Basin that extends into the territories of the three riparian countries.

The TDA identified information gaps and deficiencies in the national legislative and institutional framework of the riparian countries. The experts examined the role of various economic sectors, the socio-economic situation, and the existing level of public awareness and involvement in decision-making on environmental issues. As a result of this analysis six priority transboundary issues were identified relating to five major areas of concern.

The Development of a Strategic Action Plan(SAP)

The preparation of a SAP was the logical next step after obtaining the scientific results and recommendations from the TDA. The SAP builds directly from the TDA findings, providing a set of six long term objectives, designed to address the six priority transboundary environmental issues set out in the TDA in a “stepwise” fashion. These steps comprised a set of coherent, logical and complementary actions that constitute a programmatic tool for achieving the specified objectives. In the process of detailed elaboration of these options, special focus was placed on the financial resources, legislative and institutional improvements required to ensure the implementation of priority actions, planned over 5, 10 and 15 years.

The preparation of the Dnipro SAP was a significant achievement in the region and as such it provided a strategic vision statement of the acceptable level of environmental rehabilitation that can be achieved through the joint effort of the three riparian countries. At the present time Belarus and Ukraine have approved the SAP at the highest government while in Russia the process remains pending.

The Preparation of a Priority Investment Portfolios(PIP)

Following on the recommendations contained in the SAP the next logical step was the preparation of several strategic investment proposals which would immediately address the “problem at hand” (i.e., “Repair Damages Resulting from Pollution” and “Implement New Technologies and Cleaner Production Process”).

However, the portfolio approach went beyond solving the immediate problem. Investments were also to include projects that deal with ancillary pollution risks as well as addressing the efficacy and success of mitigating the main cause(s) of pollution. Opportunities for the development of downstream or upstream activities and associated businesses were investigated, as the integration of these can add a valuable element to the financial viability of the overall undertaking.


The Implementing Agencies

The GEF Implementing Agency was UNDP and the main Implementing Agent was UNOPS. The UNDP contracted the UN Office of Project Services (UNOPS) for project administration, with policy issues handled by the UNDP GEF IW Technical Advisor in New York. The UNDP country offices played a financial role, providing invoicing and payment services for the regional thematic centres and local consultants.

This project had an unusual design in that it operates on the basis of a very close partnership between UNDP and an independent organisation, the International Development Research Centre of Canada. The reason for this partnership is that in the immediate years prior to the project IDRC conducted important pioneering work in the field of institutional development and environmental protection in the Dnipro Basin, particularly in Ukraine. As a result, it had established a strong institutional network and had comparative technical advantages in some areas. Incorporation of IDRC improved the effectiveness of project implementation and reduced the start-up time for the project. The existing IDRC infrastructure was used as the basis for the project co-ordination unit (known as the Programme Management Unit) in Kyiv.

In addition to the services of IDRC, the project worked closely with a number of UN specialised agencies, also on the basis of comparative advantage for technical implementation. These included UNIDO and IAEA.

The Main Stakeholders Included

• The Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources for the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine;

• National Focal Points;

• Regional scientific and technical organisations concerned with environmental quality and management/rehabilitation of natural resources;

• National, local and municipal governments in the participating countries;

• Research institutes and private sector

Non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, including schools, concerned with environmental protection and sustainable development.

Target Beneficiaries

The primary target beneficiary of this project is the population of all three Dnipro countries, in particular the population which lives in the Dnipro Basin. The Basin population should benefit from a more active role in the management of the Dnipro Basin and from the implementation of a co-ordinated programme of improved policies, regulatory tools and investments for improving its management. These in turn, are expected to lead to improved water quality, rehabilitation of the renewable natural resources of the River, protection of its biological diversity and protection of human health. It should provide better opportunities to present and future generations to use the Basin environment in a sustainable manner and to develop a sounder basis for economic development. Populations in the coastal zone of the neighbouring Black Sea should also benefit from major economic, social and ecological benefits of the decrease in eutrophication and chemical pollution of the Sea.

In the short-term, governments and institutions would benefit from institutional strengthening as a result of networking, training programmes and the provision of key items of equipment and in particular from the development of National Action Programmes. Proper environmental assessments and pre-investment studies should facilitate the release of vital credits for improving waste management and for stimulating the development of key sectors.

The target beneficiaries will be:

• the resident population of the Dnipro Basin who will benefit from improved water quality and supply, enhanced fishery resources, recreational opportunities and strengthened protection and management of natural habitats;

• the coastal population of the Black Sea who will benefit from improved fisheries, tourism, recreational opportunities, and ecosystem and public health; and

• future generations of the human population both within and beyond region who will benefit from the opportunities created by the conservation of biodiversity in the region - the present project enables the present generations to respect the rights of future ones instead of transferring the consequences of irrational development to them;

• the world population at large will benefit through the direct contribution made to the improvement of an important international water body and the demonstration effect which this project will have for other international waters and regional seas.


The project was implemented on the territory of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and specifically wwithin the Dnipro basin where approximately 33 million people reside. The Dnipro basin has been described as a “classic example of unsustainable development” due to the past legacy of trying to convert a traditionally agricultural region into a major industrial one in the space of a few decades. The situation has been complicated by the extreme social and economic difficulties all three riparian countries are facing in the transition to market economies. In the Dnipro Basin, this combination of circumstances has resulted in:

• a high industrial density and urban population;

• intensively farmed areas with a history of over-fertilisation (to compensate for the loss of agricultural land due to urban, mining and industrial development) but with little current use of agrochemicals but severe erosion and falling productivity;

• the excessive damming of the river system, with its six major reservoirs on the main stream and over 500 smaller dams on the tributaries to generate electricity for heavy industry;

• the practice of flooding of fertile lands in river valleys in connection with the construction of dams; and the draining of wetlands to provide more land for agriculture, resulting in a gross reduction of biodiversity in the whole region;

• large-scale and extensive water extraction for agricultural and industrial use, particularly for metallurgic industrial complexes;

• poorly regulated deposits of tailings from mining complexes including wastes from uranium mining;

• industrial accidents, the most notorious being the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster which led to the contamination of vast areas of eastern and northern Europe with radioactive fall-out;

• frequent accidental spills of contaminated wastewater into the river, and on occasions, into the drinking water system; and For the natural environment and its human population, the consequences of the deterioration of the Dnipro are considerable. The absence of reliable supplies of safe drinking water is one of the more obvious consequences.


The Dnipro Basin project commenced in September 2000 and was completed in 2005. Project implementation took longer than anticipated owing to numerous political changes in the respective government ministries which caused unavoidable delays in implementation. This was followed by a PDF-B project commenced in 2006 called Implementation of Priority Interventions of the Dnipro Basin Strategic Action Program: Chemical Industrial Pollution Reduction and The Development of Joint Institutional Arrangements."


this section needs editing. it is too long. it needs to be made more concise TwinkleC

The project was developed along the following lines
  1. Component I
  • Project co-ordination:
    • Create a transboundary management regime and coordinating body;
  1. Component II
  • The strategic action programme process:
    • Assist countries in SAP formulation, review and endorsement process;
    • Formulation of National Action Plans by Interministerial Committees;
    • Build capacity for SAP implementation.
  1. Component III
  • Improve financial/legal/operational mechanisms for pollution reduction and sustainable resource use
  1. Component IV
  • Biodiversity conservation:
    • Improve conservation of biodiversity in the Dnieper River Basin;
  1. Component V
  • Improving stakeholder participation in transboundary issues
    • Enhance communication among stakeholders and encourage public awareness and involvement in addressing the problems of the Dnipro Basin.

Component I Project Coordination

Project Management

The PMU was put together in late 2000, with the hiring of a Project Manager which quickly grew to include a Deputy / Technical Expert, NGO / Public Awareness Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. The PMU shared resources and office facilities with the IDRC.

Preliminary national meetings for the DBEP were held in December, 2000 in Belarus and January 2001, in Ukraine. The Inception workshop took place in March, 2001, and the 1st Joint Management Committee (JMC) meeting occurred in April, 2001, as did the 1st Russian national management committee meeting. By May 2001, the management structure for the project was essentially in place.

Working Groups and Regional Thematic Centres

The Project was designed to include 6 Regional Thematic Centres (RTCs) coordinating specified sets of project activities carried out through international working groups (IWGs). The RTCs were to serve as the focal points for regional training, capacity building, information exchange and TDA/SAP development. Two RTCs were apportioned to each country, decided through negotiations amongst the Chairmen of the National Project CommitteesRegional Thematic Centres by country:

• Belarus – Cleaner Production; Pollution Prevention and Control.

• Russia – Biodiversity; Legal, Regulatory and Economic Issues.

• Ukraine – Pollution Monitoring; Information Management.

The intent with the RTCs was to create regional centres of excellence. This was not realised, as the RTCs served mostly as national entities, gathering information between IWG experts in the three countries. The Dnipro RTC effort, while problematic, has demonstrated a higher degree of success, mostly because of the small number of countries to coordinate (three in total), a common language base, and similar regulatory and monitoring structures (legacy of the Soviet era).

Nevertheless, the following shortcomings to the RTC format should be considered:

• Some of the institutions selected were not key national or regional centres of excellence and their staff lack necessary skills and professional stature.

• National governmental financial support was insufficient for establishing real centres of excellence, and in some cases GEF / IW support may have led to reduced national funding to the RTCs, as the international support enabled ministries to use their limited budgets elsewhere.

• RTCs were thwarted in their efforts to play a regional role by IWG colleagues, and other research institutes, who had a vested interest to limit their encroachment, and especially to limit their access to national data and information.

• National political support for the RTCs was in some cases dependent on key senior elected officials, which called into question RTC sustainability in light of frequent governmental changes.

Dnipro Regional Council and a Dnipro Basin Convention

The project included setting up the Dnipro Regional Council (DRC), to include participation from oblast level representatives, as well as persons from other relevant state ministries, NGOs, research institutes and the private sector. The DRC presented an opportunity to bring in a wider audience into the review and decision making process for TDA / SAP development

The creation of the Council took time. At the October 2002 JMC meeting the IDRC received approval to form the Dnipro Regional Council, and contracted with the Water Resources Research Institute in Kharkiv (RTC – pollution monitoring) to coordinate the effort. The 1st of two Council meetings was held in Kiev, June 2003. The 2nd meeting was held in Minsk, December 2003. There was to be a follow up (3rd) DRC meeting scheduled for May, 2004 which did not occur. For the two Council meetings, the level of involvement from environmental ministries, research institutes and NGOs was generally strong, with the level of participation from Oblast level officials, other Ministries and the private sector generally weak. There was initial resistance from some environmental ministry officials to participate in the DRC meetings, and general confusion over its purpose, intended outcomes and audience. Should it be a decision-making body or a public forum for taking comment on government strategies for basin management? The agenda’s for both meetings indicate that the purpose served was information exchange on TDA/SAP development.

The DRC experience has been positive. The two meetings were useful public forums, bringing together government officials and civil society representatives to discuss Dnipro basin issues, with a resulting greater appreciation of each other’s views and competence. The DRC has not been a decision making body, and is unlikely to be viewed by the three countries as the proper foundation for the Dnipro Basin Commission. Nevertheless, future basin management efforts, through GEF IW and through a Dnipro Basin Commission, should retain this public forum approach, to include periodic public meetings with private sector interests, NGOs and local officials. In addition, it will be important for the future Commission to include external stakeholder representation.

Component II The Strategic Action Programme Process

Monitoring Capacity

The DBEP included several activities for assessing and improving monitoring capacity amongst the Dnipro countries. Within the IDRC remit, and under the coordination of the Pollution Monitoring RTC (Kharkiv), and the information management RTC (Ukraine, meteorological inst) initial assessments were done to consider current water quality monitoring and data collection systems and to identify equipment needs. An initial meeting on Monitoring Capacities was held in Kharkiv, leading to a strategy for transboundary monitoring, including equipment lists. The National Management Committees then approved the strategy. The resulting information was used to develop the Transboundary Water Monitoring Programme (TMP) annexed to the SAP.

Approximately 10% of the project budget (US $700,000) was set aside for equipment purchases. This included computer and copy machinery for the RTCs and lab equipment for water quality monitoring laboratories.

It is important to note that some breakdowns occurred in the lab equipment procurement process. In particular, each country received a digital chemical analyser (approx. US $100,000 each plus consumables), for designated water quality monitoring labs. In Belarus and Russia the customs process took several months and the machines were functioning at the time of the final evaluation. In Ukraine, the customs process took over a year, and the analyser was still in its box awaiting start up.

In Belarus delays occurred because there were no arrangements in place for tax-free transfer to government institutions. In Russia, the delays were experienced due to the absence of detailed invoice descriptions. A long delay in Ukraine was blamed on project registration problems. In Ukraine, neither the UNDP country office nor UNOPS registered the project at start-up, which is required to bring in equipment without taxes and duties. Registration is typically the responsibility of the UNDP Country Office, however the roles are not so clear for multi-country GEF projects.


The TDA was developed between June 2001 and January 2003, by a team of regional experts, with the Thematic Centre on Pollution Monitoring (Kharkiv, Ukraine) playing a coordinating role, the PMU and IDRC jointly managing the process, and contributing assignments provided by various local experts and research centres under contract with IDRC, UNIDO and IAEA. External consultants included Laurence Mee & Martin Bloxham, Plymouth Univ. UK and Jan Barica (Canada). The TDA development effort commenced in June 2001. Over two workshops in Russia and Ukraine in September / October 2001, the basic TDA concepts were introduced, a reporting structure was agreed to and assignments were allocated. The effort included thre main activities:

1) expert meetings & regional workshops to discuss root causes;

2) identification of pollution hotspots;

3) drafting and finalising the TDA. A draft table of contents including 9 chapters and annexes was agreed to, with each regional thematic centre and team carrying out specific assignments and developing socio-economic studies. Teams were required to develop summaries of transboundary relationships of issues (cause/effect).

A second phase of the TDA process commenced in April 2002, following a status review of the effort. At this point, the PMU invited Laurence Mee and Martin Bloxham of Plymouth University (UK) to prepare materials for presentation at a May 2002 TDA progress review meeting in Kharkiv. Their presentation involved recommendations to revise the TDA using a modified Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) methodology. After considerable discussion, agreement was reached to alter the TDA process, and modify the scoping exercise, to focus greater attention on causal links and transboundary impacts. A revised work plan was developed, providing an additional 6 months for completion of the TDA.

Four workshops were held in July 2002 to adapt previous work to the new format / layout. A final workshop in early August was held to complete the draft causal chain analyses for inclusion in the TDA. In October 2002 the draft TDA was presented at the Joint Management Committee (JMC) and a final draft was submitted in early 2003.

The TDA identified six high priority problem areas, and ranked them as priority A and B issues:

• Chemical pollution (Priority A)

• Radionuclide pollution (Priority A)

Eutrophication (Priority A)

• Loss/modification of ecosystems or ecotones and decreased viability of stocks due to contamination and diseases (Priority A)

• Flooding events and elevated groundwater levels (Priority B)

• Modification of the hydrological regime (Priority B)

The Dnipro TDA constitutes a very good analysis of the status of the Dnipro basin biodiversity and water quality, and the causes and impacts of water quality impairments. It provided a solid scientific basis from which to establish a basin-wide strategic action plan. While it could have been useful to focus more attention on nonpoint / diffuse sources of pollution, and on groundwater quality in the basin, the identified high priorities are defensible and the background documentation is well conceived. The TDA effort enabled the participating experts and institutes to consider transboundary cause and effect relationships. The process enabled new applied research, for instance assessing fish species health across the basin for the first time. Through the TDA process, the countries were able to document the extent to which hydrological modification is affecting ecosystems health in the basin.

The SAP and the NAPs

The SAP provides a series of expected actions by the three countries to reduce transboundary pollution, with general timetables and general costs calculated. SAP documentation includes a Priority Investment Portfolio, with 20 top priority investments (10 for Ukraine, 5 each for Belarus and Russia). The inclusion of the PIP as an annex to the strategic actions was agreed to by the three countries and constitutes a crucial link between the policy and capacity building objectives in the SAP, and the need to invest in the clean up of specific pollution hot spots.

The Strategic Action Plan development proceeded after TDA conclusion. The PMU managed the process, through the thematic centres and country teams. The SAP was drafted for country reviews and approvals by the end of 2003. Ukraine approved the SAP in early 2005, and in late May, Belarus did likewise, (with several caveats on financing). In June 2005 Russia signalled its intention to approve the SAP pending further financial review.

The SAP builds directly from the TDA findings, providing a set of six long term objectives, designed to address the six priority transboundary environmental issues set out in the TDA in a “stepwise” fashion. These Long Term Ecological Quality Objectives (LTEQOs) include:

1. Sustainable nature use and environmental protection in the Dnipro Basin,

2. Environmental quality that us safe for human health,

3. Conservation of biological and landscape diversity.

Each LTEQO sets out policy and institutional reform steps that are needed for their achievement. Activities and expected results are included under each step, with general timetables and approximate costs. The total estimated required investment for achievement of the long-term objectives is US $1.7 billion over 15 years.

The SAP development process would be considered highly successful, but for the fact that Russia has found it difficult to approve the document. The Russian hesitation has been attributed to financial considerations. Additional factors may be the limited importance of the Dnipro to Russia, and institutional indecision due to the continuing reorganisation of the environmental management portfolio.

The SAP process was noteworthy in its “home-grown” development, relying on regional expertise, not international consultants. Second, the SAP was developed through a collaborative process, with ample opportunity for ministry officials to comment. Interestingly, minor criticism was received about the SAP process from management at UNIDO and IAEA, who felt they did not have sufficient opportunities to participate in the SAP formulation. Some issues recommended by IAEA for inclusion into the SAP, such as the remediation of uranium tailings ponds, did not end up as high priorities in the SAP. Nevertheless, both agencies support the final document.

All three of the Dnipro states have drafted NAPs, which are at various stages of approval. Ukraine has been implementing its pre-existing National Action Plan for the Dnipro Basin while a revised NAP, consistent with the new SAP moves through the approval process. Belarus has received Academy of Science approval for its draft NAP. Russia has a draft NAP that is on hold, pending Russia’s further financial review and approval of the SAP.

Build Capacity for SAP Implementation

Regional Environmental Data Base

The regional thematic centres in each of the countries carried out a database development effort, with a combined database put together by the TC on Information Management (Ukraine). The combined system appears to be appropriate to regional conditions. A key feature is its simplicity and ease of use. The PMU worked extensively with the TC to ensure that the database system was user friendly, and simple to operate, without heavy pictures and tables that would clog slow Internet access systems.

The database has been well-received by the environmental protection agencies, especially in Ukraine, where the government has elected to model the database in other river basins, including the Dneister. The Ministry of Environment in Ukraine has submitted an environmental information law for consideration, which would stipulate a broad array of environmental information to be made available to the public.

The combined database includes information only up to 2002. The three countries agreed to the capping of the data at 2002, pending agreement on a Dnipro Basin convention. For the database to become a real management tool, it is important that “real time” data gets included. An additional shortcoming is the fact that the database does not include hot spot data. It would be useful in the future for the database to include GIS-based data plotting hot spot discharges and ambient water quality data, to enable a clearer picture of the extent of impairment from significant point sources.

The database does not have a password protection system; so all persons have access to all information. It also does not provide options for country / ministry experts to provide direct data update. Rather, the information is submitted to the RTC via disk or Internet, and the RTC inputs the data. Future modifications should be considered to streamline the data entry system, allowing direct inputs from each national data centre.

There are no mechanisms in place for continued updating of the database after conclusion of the GEF project. The database is now in limbo, pending further GEF IW support, and/or the signing of additional agreements between the three countries.

The State of the Dnipro Report

The Project included development of a ‘State of the Dnipro’ Report. The Ukrainian Land Resource Monitoring Centre was contracted from IDRC to develop the SOE, with the contract signed in December 2002.

The ProDoc was unclear as to the particular uses for this document and its intended audience. It was merely stated that such a report should be developed “based on existing information, supplemented by new studies conducted within the Scope of the project”. The PMU decided the State of the Dnipro Report should be a baseline study against which future SAP implementation could be objectively measured as to success and/or failings.

Developing a “State of the River Basin” report has specific implications in the Danube and Black Sea context, where it is agreed to meet the EU Water Framework Directive requirements for a ‘State of the River Basin’ report. For the Dnipro River, the agreement to harmonise with EU environmental norms suggests that a State of the Dnipro Basin report should be produced as a key output of the Dnipro Basin Commission, once established.

The River Expeditions

The project supported two scientific expeditions to gather water quality data along the entire river system, focusing on the transboundary areas. The expectation was to use similar equipment and methodology across all 3 countries and also include seasonal data gathering. It was noted that initial disagreements had to be overcome regarding which institutions and research methods to use. Also, Russia was slow to get involved, and did not participate in the 1st research cruise. The expeditions were successfully carried out, and provided essential information for the TDA development. In particular, the expeditions enabled a one-time snapshot of water quality conditions across the length of the basin. The basin countries should consider periodic follow-ups (3-5 years) to provide trend data and look further into specific issues, such as benthic health and sediment contamination, and the impact of variable flows downstream of dammed reservoirs.

Component III Facilitating Investment in Reducing Transboundary Pollution

This component was largely carried out under the responsibility of UNIDO, with the IAEA reporting on radionuclides hot spots.

Industrial Hotspots

For the identification of hotspots and development of a portfolio of priority investments (PIP) UNIDO chose to utilise outside expertise through an RFP (request for proposal) process. SNC Lavalin emerging as the preferred supplier of consulting services. The SNC-led team, comprised mostly of persons from the DBEP IWGs reviewed various hot spot approaches, such as those carried out in the Danube, Baltic Sea and in South America using the GIWA framework. They were looking to find a pragmatic / practical approach. The SNC-led effort developed their own approach, agreed and commenced through workshops held in Kyiv and Kharkiv in May-June 2002.

The hotspot identification and prioritisation effort was highly successful both in identifying critical investment projects along the Dnipro and in developing a hot spot ID method that can and should be replicated in other projects. The hot spot prioritisation process was notable for its consideration of both qualitative and quantitative factors. The team developed a methodology to determine and rank dischargers based on the type and extent of discharges. The specific methodology and mathematical calculations were developed by one of the local team experts (from Russia). The methodology enabled a systematic ranking of hotspots based on objective criteria. An economic analysis was then done as a final step in the determination of the priority hotspots, to consider whether in addition to the severity of pollution, there was also a positive cost/benefit ratio to investing in abatement technologies. The method has been published now by UNIDO, and has received interest from other organisations working to identify and rank hot spots.

The qualitative / quantitative culling process reduced the priority hot spot list to 10 hotspots in Ukraine, and 5 each in Belarus and Russia that together comprise Dnipro River Basin Project Investment Portfolios (PIP). These are included in an appendix to the SAP. The investment portfolios provide an analysis of the discharge problem, together with remedies and their investment costs, set against the expected return on investment. All sites will require full feasibility studies prior to any further investment. Most are for improvements to the Vodokanals (WWTs) in addition to several industrial sites, as well as a stretch of intensive livestock production in Russia. Four of the projects were subjected to follow-up assessment: “Technical and Economic Assessment(s) of Environmental Mitigation Measures” for the: Kyiv and Smolensk Vodokanals, the Mozyrsky Refinery and the Zaporozhsky Aluminium plant.

The project included a donor conference, (late 2004). The PIP’s were presented at the conference, but no agreements were reached on funding any of the projects. The timing and use of donor conferences needs to be considered in future GEF IW projects.

The Use of Economic Instruments in Municipal and Industrial Pollution Control

The economic instruments component was managed through IDRC, and produced three pilot studies: two in Ukraine and 1 each in Russia and Belarus:

• Belarus: Salt production at the Open Joint Stock Company Mozyrsol

• Ukraine: Nizhyn Polluted Water and Municipal Treatment Facilities System

• Russia: Starodubsk Butter and Cheese plant, Briansk

Each of the pilot studies included a training component, an environmental audit and final workshop to discuss results.

Management of Waste from Intensive Livestock Production

SNC Lavalin carried out the assessment under the remit of UNIDO. The report was issued at the end of 2003. The effort included coordinating the work of national teams of experts in the three states. The intent was to provide input into the SAP process.

The assessment included a legislative review, a desk study of typical waste practices / mitigation measures, more detailed reviews of specific farms and the identification of problems and recommended solutions. The case studies included one large livestock operation in each of the 3 riparian countries. None of the three were included in the Priority Investment Portfolio. The report includes a useful checklist and methodology for livestock enterprise environmental audits. An interesting set of statistics from the report are that during the 10 year economic transition period (1992 - 2002), livestock production fell by nearly two thirds in Ukraine and Russia and nearly half in Belarus. The general trend was an increase in livestock at individual farms, coupled with large reductions in industrial / collective enterprises. Yet manure usage during the period did not fall nearly as dramatically, due to “inefficient conversion ratios of feed to produced meat”.

The discussion on legal norms in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine was essentially a recitation of the environmental norms in place, without much discussion of what they mean in practice for livestock management. It would have been perhaps useful to have more information provided on the extent of farm management assistance in each country, especially as the report recommends the development of better agriculture extension services.

One recommendation given is to lease land to foreign operators for establishing centres of excellence. A better approach would be to support the development of local centres of excellence. Best practices will be more likely emulated if shown to be cost effective, and applied to local conditions by local farmers.

Donor Conference

Managed by the PMU, a Donor conference was held in (2004) after the SAP and PIP were completed, but prior to SAP approval by the Dnipro countries. The priority investment portfolio and SAP were presented and received interest. While the conference was well attended by bilateral and multilateral donor representatives, there was weak participation from investment bankers (EBRD, etc). No investments have yet been initiated as a direct result of the conference.

Laws, Regulations, Licensing and Enforcement Systems

This component was carried out through UNIDO. The intention was to evaluate the regulatory system(s) for pollutant discharge compliance and polluter responsibility. The objective was for these evaluations to translate to specific actions the countries would agree to take collectively (through the SAP) and independently (through the NAPs) to improve discharge compliance and polluter responsibility.

The original objective was revised during the course of the project, as the resulting reports are focused on country-by-country assessments for harmonisation with EU legislation. Hence the study “Harmonisation of Environmental Legislation of Dnipro River Countries with Legislation of the European Union”, notable mostly for a detailed review of Ukrainian law and harmonisation analysis, based largely on a previously developed 2001 report to the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources on EU harmonisation.

A second report, entitled “Environmental Legislation of Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia compared with the Principles of EU environmental law, with focus on water legislation” (June 2002), provides information of greater relevance to the original ProDoc objective. The report was developed by an international consultant, based on information generated by the legal RTC and IWG experts. A key finding of the report concerns environmental liability laws in the three Dnipro states, and the difficulty in seeking damages from industries for environmental impairment caused by illegal discharges. The report provides good recommendations on strict liability statutes, special laws dealing with major accidents, the use of tax incentives for environmental improvement and opportunities for environmental investment technology under the Kyoto Protocol.

EIA Policies and Practices

Within the UNIDO set of responsibilities, a report was produced in 2003 focused on EIA policies in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, comparing them to international norms, and providing recommendations on reforms. The effort was primarily a desk study, based on literature reviews and discussions with national EIA experts. In particular, the report focused on the EU EIA directive, and included a useful set of gap tables setting EU EIA norms against legislation in each of the countries. A review of technical and institutional capacities of the countries to carry out EIAs was not part of the study, which is unfortunate as it would have been useful to include some review of current performance, such as the number of (SEE & OVOS) assessments performed, approved, revised and rejected. There is a good discussion of administrative procedures in each country. Procedural guidelines and greater transparency arise as significant recommendations.

Policies, Practices and Management Guidelines for Industrial Waste Ponds

The component was completed in 2003, under UNIDO coordination. It includes a set of four reports in English and each local language, and includes an integrated report. The integrated report provides a well-researched background piece on the extent of the problem of accumulated industrial wastes and sludge.

The report authors estimate 8.5 billion tonnes of industrial waste in storage facilities in the Dnipro basin (2001), 50% in Ukraine, 10% in Belarus, 40% in Russia. The facilities are primarily petrochemical, fuel industry, metallurgy, coal mining, ore mining & processing. 10 million tonnes of the stored waste is sewage sludge from the Vodokanals, contaminated with heavy metals. The report also notes a significant problem with seepage from solid municipal waste sites improperly lined.

The recommendations section is brief and without much substance, which is unfortunate in light of the serious problems facing the three countries in dealing with stored industrial waste. There is little in the way of suggestions on reducing the generation of industrial hazardous waste. Also, the report provides no specific recommendations on the creation of additional waste processing facilities. There is no mention of alternatives, including incineration, waste to energy, encapsulation, etc. There is one very important recommendation made with respect to improving waste manifest systems. The TDA includes waste storage as a high priority environmental problem, and the SAP includes an objective to “strengthening the capacity for industrial and municipal waste management” within the next fifteen years.

Nuclear Facilities and Disposal Sites

IAEA produced in November 2002, the report “Radioactive contamination of the Dnipro River Basin: Contribution to the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and Recommendations for the Strategic Action Plan”. The report provided a scientific assessment of data on radioactive contamination in the basin and radiological consequence, with special attention to the current and possible future migration of radionuclides and any transboundary impacts.

It was noted that since the Chornobyl disaster, water-monitoring stations have been in place in the exclusion zone and along the major rivers. Migration has reportedly decreased significantly. Concentrations of Caesium and Strontium in flowing rivers are now well below permissible levels set by national authorities and below internationally acceptable levels. The report notes that lakes without regular outflow remain a real problem, especially those that are peat based. Some have concentrations 1-2 magnitude levels above fish consumption advisories, and ingestion of forest food or dairy and beef that has graze in contaminated flood plains remains a problem.

In addition to the residual threats from Chornobyl, the report indicates that radioactive waste storage disposal sites are a moderate risk in Ukraine and Belarus. Also, obsolete nuclear research reactors near Minsk and Kyiv present major problems with respect to decommissioning, but do not represent environmental / water quality risks.

The IAEA report recommended as priority hot spots the Pripiat flood plain – due to Chornobyl, the radioactive waste dumps on the former PCP (Pridneprovsky Chemical Plant), site in Dniprodzerzhinsk and uranium processing operation in Zhovti Vody, and the inhabited areas near Chornobyl with enclosed lakes. None of these made the final list of high priority hot spots in the priority investment portfolio. The TDA and SAP included the IAEA report information and listed radionuclides as a priority transboundary issue.

Water Abstraction and Water Returns

Within the IDRC outputs, the Scientific Research and Technological Institute of Municipal Economy, in Kyiv, produced a report in March 2003 on water abstractions and returns. The report includes very useful summaries of the key water volume and abstraction issues for each of the states.. The report indicates that the deterioration of wastewater quality in the Dnipro Basin is caused by the decreasing efficiency of industrial water treatment plants and ineffective treatment facilities in small towns and medium-size cities. While the report was not completed until March 2003, some of the findings on water abstraction and returns were available and included in the TDA. The report provides a few general recommendations at its conclusion, mostly aiming to improve the sharing of data on abstractions and discharges between the three countries. Recommendations are also made to improve the inspection and certification of public and private wastewater treatment facilities, and to improve treatment. The report notes that groundwater is the primary source of drinking water in the Russian, Byelorussian and Northern Ukrainian sections of the Dnipro Basin, with surface waters being used primarily in the southern Ukrainian sections. It would have been useful for the assessment to pay greater attention to groundwater abstraction issues as part of the basin study.

Component IV Biodiversity Conservation

Component IV was successfully completed, managed through IDRC. A mix of local and international consultants and experts were involved in a series of sub studies and reports. Reports were developed on agriculture, biodiversity legislation, protected areas and pilot projects, biodiversity strategy, fisheries and forestry. The results were incorporated into the TDA and SAP.

Protected Areas, Priority Ecosystems and Biodiversity Hotspots

Project reports were developed covering all areas within the subcomponent, including: • An assessment of protected areas, led by Smolensk State Pedagogical University, Russia;

• Ecological corridors, led by Taras Shevchenko National University Kiev;

• The Dnipro Source Nature Reserve, led by the Environmental Fund, Renaissance of the Dnipro River, Smolensk; and

• Protection of wetlands in the Zhoblin-Rechitsa Area, led by the NGO, Ahove Ptushak, Belarus.

Biodiversity Legislation

A report entitled “Review of Dnipro Basin Biodiversity legislation ensuring Public Participation Support” was developed by three sets of national expert groups, under the coordination of the Belarus State University, Management and Social Technologies Department and submitted in December 2002. The main report was produced in Russian with an English summary. The summary report includes a review of the legal protections accorded flora and fauna, protected areas, endangered species and public participation in the three countries. The report acknowledged that there are no regional institutions in place to coordinate activities towards biodiversity conservation.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Agricultural Practices

A research effort was carried out to consider agricultural practices with respect to transboundary protection of biodiversity. The Institute of Land Organisation and Use, Ukrainian Academy of Agriculture, led the effort.

Fisheries and Aquaculture

The report: “Review and Status of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Region in Relationship to Biodiversity Conservation: Identification of Gaps and Problems, was submitted in October, 2002 by the Hydrobiology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine. The objectives for the research were to analyse the current status of fisheries in the basin and identify outstanding issues and proposals for the SAP. The assessment covered biodiversity considerations as well as the impacts of the fisheries industry and aquaculture.

According to the study, the greatest threat to biodiversity and the health of fish populations along the Dnipro is the damming of the river, resulting in “impoverished river biotopical diversity” and unfavourable reproduction conditions, because of the abrupt daily water level fluctuations. Other unfavourable factors include the substantial contraction of flooded meadowlands, overgrowth in shallow areas by aquatic vegetation, agricultural and municipal discharges.

A significant accomplishment of this research effort is its creation of the first ever inventory of fish species inhabiting the Dnipro Basin. The inventory includes 90 species, lists 9 introduced species, 9 interventionist species and 5 invasive species.

The report provides a final table listing actions that should be taken to improve biodiversity and protect indigenous fish populations. It is well conceived and provides useful categories rating the recommendations in terms of priority and the status of achievement in the three countries. In particular, it is important that the riparian states develop a monitoring system for assessing fish resources and tracking species health.

Future work in this area should provide recommendations on how the aquaculture industry can be expanded in a way that promotes ecologically sound practices. Incentives to develop on-land ponds and facilities, and stricter regulations for reservoir and in-stream aquaculture production, could help to reduce direct pollution and invasive species risks, while providing economic opportunities in depressed rural/ agricultural areas.


The Biodiversity RTC in Smolensk developed a report on forestry issues. The full final report was written in Russian, with a summary in English. The English summary was well written, taking a unified, basin-wide approach and including excellent recommendations.

An interesting legal aspect from the report is that all three countries are (slowly) developing forest certification systems, which may in time provide a powerful tool to promote more environmentally friendly forestry methods.

The report provides a concluding set of 25 recommendations in the areas of Forest Policy and Legislation, Forestry Management and Use Practices Environmental Protection Practices, and Research, Monitoring and Education.

Both the TDA and SAP include useful forestry information, built from this study. The SAP includes a short-term (5-year) goal of developing and implementing an interstate basin wide programme of actions on the expansion of forests.

While the report summary provides some statistics on the amount of forest-cover in the river flood zone and embankment areas, it would have been useful to provide additional information on the significant role that forests play in reducing stream bank erosion, and mitigating nonpoint source runoff.

Regional Strategy for the Protection of Biodiversity

The “Regional Strategy for Conserving Biological and Landscape Diversity in the Dnipro Basin” (BLDC Strategy) was finalised in February, 2004, developed by the Biodiversity International Dnipro Centre and the Biodiversity IWG, under IDRC contract.

The strategy was designed to assist the countries to eliminate root causes of biodiversity loss, and was established in pursuance of the international commitments on biodiversity of the three countries, including the Convention on Biological Diversity. The strategy covers issues involving agriculture, fisheries, forestry, the assessment of reserve and priority areas, and the comparative analysis of biodiversity legislation. The BLDC strategy was not developed in time to feed into the TDA / SAP process, and in fact builds from the the TDA/SAP, the NAPs and national conservation strategies, to create a unified biodiversity strategy.

The BLDC Strategy lays out regional and national actions needed to meet the following objectives:

1. Optimal forest area that provides stability of the Dnipro Basin ecosystems with due regard of zone particularities.

2. Environmentally sound and coherent network of preserved and restored wetlands as a part of the Pan-European Ecological Network.

3. Environmentally stable condition of meadows and steppes.

4. Environmentally justified and optimised network of conservation areas and agro-landscapes.

5. Environmentally sound and optimised network of protected natural territories and eco-corridors.

6. Environmentally balanced reproduction of indigenous, endemic and transitory fish species.

7. Environmentally sustainable condition of water areas, flood-plains and riverside ecosystems.

8. Preserving the species variety, natural habitats of species, population structure and continuity of the environmental framework.

The BLDC includes financial considerations, with an estimated US $276 million needed for implementation through 2020, broken down by spending to achieve each of the above eight objectives, by country and including international donor and other funding sources (approximately $25 million from donors and $100 million from other sources).

The BLDC strategy is a useful addition and expansion of the biodiversity LETQOs (Long term environmental quality objectives) set out in the SAP.

Component V Improving Stakeholder Participation

The component was managed by IDRC and included objectives and activities designed to build greater stakeholder participation, especially building competence and participation from local governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The NGO support effort included the establishment of national and regional NGO forums, and a small grants program. During the course of the project there were three national forums held (one in each country) and two international forums. One general issue on NGO support came up frequently during the project. The issue concerns the dual aims of NGO involvement –towards local, grass roots environmental protection, and towards pressuring changes in government environmental policy and management. The NGO participants indicate that a frequent hot topic of debate at the forums was the extent to which they should be critiquing government action, or rather should focus their energies out in the field, on monitoring and cleaning up activities. Of course these dual aims are not mutually exclusive and a vibrant NGO community will have practitioners of both. Part of the tension in the debate may relate to the sensitive position of GEF IW projects being government-sponsored and managed, yet including components designed to improve the capacity of government critics.

It should be noted that the environmental ministry officials interviewed were positive on the role of NGOs and the support provided to them from GEF IW. Some senior officials were initially sceptical of the role of outside parties in the Dnipro Basin Council, however the resulting exchange of views was seen to be positive.

Impacts of Transboundary Pollution on Populations in the Basin

A study was developed by the Council for Analysis of Production Forces of Ukraine.

Development of a Project Web Site

The subcomponent was designed to provide a communication tool within the project and then to enable a wider audience to have access to project information. The subcomponent was contracted through IDRC to the Information Management RTC, the Ukrainian Scientific and Research Institution of Hydrometeorology.

The web site was established and benefits from a clear and simple layout. Sustainability is an issue, as no programme for regular updates was established. As a consequence, the news section had not been updated since 2003. The site is now a static rather than active information source.

Consultative Meetings with Broad Stakeholder Involvement

This objective meshes with other objectives to establish the Dnipro Basin Council and hold NGO forums. Through these two other mechanisms, the DBEP was able to build broad stakeholder involvement, at least amongst interested persons in the environmental and water resource sectors. The project was less successful in getting private sector and economic interest involvement. For instance, the Dnipro Basin Council meetings involved little or no participation from the agriculture, mining, industrial and transportation sectors.

Internet Access for Key Stakeholders

The DBEP included an objective to improve communication between key stakeholders, through improved internet access and equipment, especially targeted to the local and oblast level. In Russia, the effort was managed through the NGO: Environmental Fund, Renaissance of the Dnieper River, in Smolensk. In Ukraine, equipment was provided to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and to six regional offices. In Belarus, the Ministry created a web site. By the end of the project all the equipment in several regional offices was delivered and functioning properly. All three countries have Dnipro basin information available on the internet.

Publication and Dissemination of Project Materials

The publication and dissemination of project materials was implemented through the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine. Outputs included publishing a series of quarterly bulletins and several posters. The project also published a user-friendly version of the TDA, available in each country and their respective native languages (not in English). The quality of publications for the general public was very good, and the use of NGO assistance very much appreciated.

NGO Forums

Three national and two international forums were held, managed through IDRC as part of the small grants programme, albeit under a separate activity and budget line. The national forums were held in Bryansk, Russia in May, Kiev, Ukraine in June, and Minsk, Belarus in June 2002. The international forums occurred in Kiev in October 2002 and Moscow in December 2002. The TDA was the main topic of the international forums, with many NGOs providing criticism of the process, and their lack of involvement in the development process.

Small Grants

One series of small grants was tendered and concluded under the IDRC. The programme included twenty-four grants, mostly focused on awareness raising and educational projects. Three of the projects have the potential for longer-term commitments:

• Civil / Environmental Rights Support Centre

• Bryansk Oblast of “…an electronically linked network of centers of environmental monitoring”.

• “Building Environmental Awareness of Boyarka Residents…”

other notable grants included an IDRC contract to a “Green TV” company for video about the DBEP, including footage from the expedition. Also, the NGO Mama-86 developed the project “Dnipro as seen by children, providing an opportunity for children ages 6 – 16 to submit their visual sense of the Dnipro. Over 600 drawings were submitted.

Results and Impact

• The project was designed to provide a scientific basis, structure and actions for joint and national activities to protect and clean up the Dnipro river. Its impact can not be measured in short term water quality improvement, but rather in the extent to which it has laid the foundation for regional collaboration and national actions to improve water quality over the longer term. In this regard, the project has had a positive impact.

• As a direct result of the DBEP, the Basin countries are expanding their national budgets to improve Dnipro river water quality. In particular, Ukraine’s budget for water quality related investments and control measures along the Dnipro and its tributaries has increased threefold since 2001.

• The project has had a positive impact on the amount and extent of information being shared between environmental officials and technical experts amongst the three states. The DBEP has made a significant applied research contribution, with pioneering work on quantitative assessments of hot spots, and first time regional fisheries and biodiversity assessments.

• Hot spot identification, leading to a priority investment portfolio, has set the stage for increased external investment to reduce pollution discharges. UNIDO is already involved in one follow-up project.

• The Dnipro and its tributaries are showing a modicum of water quality improvement, largely as a result of the economic downturn in the region, resulting in reduced agricultural and industrial inputs, and as a result of the passage of time since the Chornobyl accident. The key test of the DBEP will be whether it has established a basis for continued improvement as the regional economy improves.

• The project contributed lab and computer equipment, provided training opportunities for experts and ministry staff, and enabled the expansion of information on causes and impacts of water pollution. These actions should lead to improvements in the capacities of local, oblast level and national governments to monitor and control pollution discharges into the Dnipro and its tributaries. Nevertheless it is difficult at this stage to indicate a positive impact, especially as political change continues to shuffle government personnel and responsibilities, especially in Russia, and in Ukraine. Also, water quality labs and research institutes in the region suffer from insufficient government funding.

• With respect to legal and policy reform, mention can be made of the connection between the project’s EIA review effort, and the decision of Belarus to draft a new EIA law. The legal reform effort underway in Ukraine may be more a result of its EU harmonisation focus, but has also benefited from DBEP policy review efforts. In Russia, progress on environmental legislation is moving slowly, due to continuing structural changes. Legislation and regulatory controls in the three countries remain unclear with respect to environmental liability, while environmental impact assessment requirements remain weak and implementation is inconsistent.

• The “Kyiv Declaration on Cooperation in the Dnipro Basin” and the SAP represent binding country obligations, however their successful implementation will require greater interministerial coordination.

• The Project demonstrated positive impact in relation to the continuing expansion, involvement and competence of the environmental NGO community in the region. Through the Dnipro Basin Council, and the NGO Forums, the DBEP was able to successfully engage NGOs directly into the policy formulation process. This was an important contribution, and ministry officials acknowledged that their input led to changes in the SAP. Through the small grants programme, NGOs were able to participate in the DBEP, especially to build greater public awareness.

Lessons for Replication

• The usefulness of a training module for TDA/SAP development was made clear during the DBEP and the issue has now been addressed with production of an IWLearn TDA/SAP module.

• The skills needed to effectively manage a GEF IW project include not only technical competence but also communication and diplomacy. The PMU team, as well as IDRC and UNIDO project managers could all speak Russian and / or Ukrainian and had previous experience in the region. The Project Manager had a legal background, with a technical expert as deputy. A mix of talents coupled with local knowledge provides a strong foundation for project success.

• Experience from the Dnipro suggests that the establishment of regional thematic (activity) centres is problematic and not sustainable. A significant amount of RTC capacity building was needed, as several of the centres were not sufficiently staffed or experienced in their focus areas. In the case of the DBEP, the structural weakness of having RTCs in a prominent role was compensated for by the general high calibre of experts in the IWGs, and good management skills from the PMU and IDRC. For future GEF IW projects, the aim should be to find and engage the very best experts within an international working group structure, coordinated through PMUs and basin commission secretariats.

• The experience from the Dnipro suggests improvements can be made in the coordination of UNDP/GEF IW project management, with respect to UNOPS (PMU) and UNDP country office coordination. Project implementation can be enhanced if there is upfront agreement on country office responsibilities and if the PMU consistently works to keep the UNDP country office managers informed and involved. In discussions with the UNDP Country Representative for Belarus, the idea of a GEF/IW presentation and discussion at upcoming regional Resident Representatives meetings was raised. This could help to provide an overview of the GEF IW efforts in the region, and coordination with UNDP country programmes.

• The DBEP supervisory experience suggests the possibility to streamline formal committee structures in future GEF / IW projects, including the DBEP follow-up. Having a separate joint management committee and steering committee was proven to be redundant. If not a reduction in management committees, then at least sequential and combined meetings need to be held to reduce time demands on senior ministry officials. When a river basin commission gets established, and if the GEF IW project is still being implemented, this question of committee overlap will be even more important. The overlapping roles of national programme managers and commissioners suggest that where possible, the positions should be held by the same person in each country, enabling joint project steering committee and commission meetings.

• Donor conferences are a common feature in GEF / IW projects. In many cases, the conferences have been useful from the standpoint of information sharing, but have failed to deliver with respect to generating funding for specific projects. One problem is that the timing of donor conferences typically conforms to project timetables, not to the funding cycles for potential investors. Another difficulty is that many projects identified and presented at donor conferences are at the concept stage, and will require pre- and feasibility studies before investors can seriously consider them. The donor conference component for GEF / IW projects should be reconsidered, to move away from the one hit, large audience format. ProDoc writers should consider including a PMU staff position for an investment project portfolio manager, who meets with key potential investors early on, to determine timing requirements, priorities and potential interest. The goal should be to translate hot spot ID and PIP development efforts into actual investments in pollution abatement.

Interviewees and Key Contacts

Quotations and comments received during the final project evaluation:

• The SAP process was noteworthy for its “home-grown” development, relying on regional expertise, not international consultants. Second, the SAP was developed through a collaborative process, with ample opportunity for ministry officials to comment. Interestingly, minor criticism was received about the SAP process from management at UNIDO and IAEA, who felt they did not have sufficient opportunities to participate in the SAP formulation.

• The NGO participants interviewed indicated a frequent hot topic of debate at the forums was the extent to which they should be critiquing government action, or rather should focus their energies out in the field, on monitoring and cleaning up activities.

• During the evaluation mission, more than a few local beneficiaries and experts indicated they viewed it to be one the most successful internationally funded projects they are aware of, especially with its use and development of regional expertise.

Project Reports and Background Documents


1. Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis of the Dnipro River Basin.

2 Assessment of the Existing Pollution Levels in the Transboundary Sections of the Dnipro Basin. Joint Report on the Expeditions Results

3 Strategic Action Plan, Dnipro Basin Environmental Programme


6 D M Management of Agricultural Waste From Large Intensive Animal Husbandry Operations Project Input to the Dnipro River Basin Strategic Action Program

7 Environmental impact assessment policy review. Input to the Dnieper River Basin Strategic Action Plan. Final Integrated Report.

8 Harmonization of Environmental Legislation of the Dnipro River Countries with the Legislation of EU Member States. Final Integrated Report

9 Analysis and assessment of management policy, normative and practical activity addressing the issues of maintenance of storage facilities for industrial waste. Recommendations for SAP and NAP. Final Integrated Report

10 Environmental Legislation of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus Compared with the Principles of EU Environmental Law

11 Priority Investment Portfolios

12 Technical and Economic Assessment of Environmental Mitigation Measures., Kyiv Vodokanal.

13 Methodology for Hot Spot Evaluation


15 Radioactive Contamination of the Dnipro River Basin: Contribution to the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and Recommendations for the Strategic Action Plan. Summary Report.


16 Regional Thematic Center on Pollution Prevention and Control: Equipment (BY)

17 Regional Thematic Center on Clean Production: Equipment (BY)

18 Regional Thematic Center on Biodiversity: Equipment (RU)

19 Regional Thematic Center on Legislation, Economic and Regulation Issues: Equipment (RU)

20 Regional Thematic Center on Pollution Monitoring: Equipment (UA)

21 Regional Thematic Center on Information Management: Equipment (UA)

22 The International Dnipro Basin Council, The First Session

23 Second Session of the International Dnipro Basin Council

24 Pilot project Analysis of Water Supply and Wastewater Disposal Prices as well as of the Consumer’s Attitude to Water Consumption Using Kremenchug City as an Example (UA)

25 Assessment of the Operating Capacity of Water Treatment Facilities, Water Extraction and Discharge Methods and of their Transboundary Environmental Impact

26 Strategic Resume of the Report “Assessment of Protected Areas, Priority Ecosystems and “Problem” Biodiversity Areas”

27 Strategic Resume of the Report “Creation of "the Dnipro source" nature reserve” (RU)

28 Strategic Resume of the Report “Development of the Environmental Corridor Concept for Transboundary Areas of the Dnipro River Basin” (UA)

29 Strategic Resume of the Report “Review of Agricultural Practices in Relation to Transboundary Protection of Biodiversity (in the Context of Reducing Contamination and Conserving Soils)”

30 Strategic Resume of the Report “Analysis of Forestry Use and Management Practices in the Context of Landscape and Biodiversity Protection in the Dnipro Basin”

31 Strategic resume to the Report Review and Status of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Region in Relationship to Biodiversity Conservation; Identification of Gaps and Problems

32 Strategic Resume of the Report “Review of Dnipro Basin Biodiversity Legislation Ensuring Public Participation and Support”

33 Regional Strategy for Conserving Biological and Landscape Diversity in the Dnipro Basin

34 Social and economic assessment of transboundary pollution impact on the Dnipro basin population and defining main subjects of the regional infrastructure

35 Creation of the Web Site of the UNDP–GEF Dnipro Basin Environment Program

36 Developing, Publishing and Dissemination of the Information Bulletins on Progress of the UNDP-GEF Dnipro Basin Environment Programme

37 SG, Let Us Save the Dnipro River Through Public Participation (BY)

38 SG, Information and Educational Campaign in the Ros River (UA)

39 SG, Regional Network of School Centers of Environmental Monitoring of Water Bodies in the Briansk Region (RU)

40 International Forum of NGOs for the Discussion of TDA and for the Establishment of the International Dnipro River Network

41 Second International NGO Forum on the Dnipro Problems

42 SG, Study of the nature of the Dnipro region woodlands (UA)

43 SG, Informing Population of Environmental Problems of the Dnipro Basin (RU) 44 SG, The Dnipro as Seen by Children (BY)

45 SG, Film on the UNDP-GEF Dnipro Basin Environment Project and the International Expedition to the Dnipro Source “The Fate of the Dnipro” (UA)

46 Needs Assessment: Analysis of Legislation and Existing Practice of Water Resources Protection; Conceptualisation Approaches to Dnipro Water Management and Quality Improvement

47 Specialized Expeditionary Water Quality Research in the Dnipro River Basin

48 Results of the Second (Spring-Summer 2001) Expedition to Study Water Quality in the Dnipro Basin

49 Assessment of Current Condition of Ground Drinking Water Sources of the Dnipro River Basin (within the Boundaries of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine) and the Degree of Ground Waters Natural Protection in the Belarusian and Ukrainian Parts

50 Development of an Integrated Monitoring System for Estimating the State and Biodiversity of Water Ecosystems on Protected Natural Territories in the Dnipro Basin

51 Formation of input (basic) data on the water quality of water bodies of the Russian Dnipro Basin

52 Assessment of Natural Groundwater Protection from Pollutants, Including Radionuclides, in the Russian Dnipro River Basin

Testimonies and Stakeholder Perceptions

Timeframe & Status

The Dnipro Basin project commenced in September 2000 and was completed in 2005.


See also

Water Knowledge Fair 2006

Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis for the Caspian Sea

Caspian Environment Programme

Transboundary Waters Management Experience in Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (TWME-ECCA)

Summary of the discussion of Live Forum III of the Water Knowledge Fair: Stakeholder Management in Water Projects

External Resources

UNDP-GEF Dnipro Basin Environment Programme

Global Environmental Facility

United Nations Development Programme

United Nations Environmental Programme

World Bank and the World Bank Investment Fund

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation

International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)


1120 Rating: 2.3/5 (54 votes cast)