On May 15-16, the International Forum "Ecology and Peace" was held at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. It combined an international scientific and practical conference with the same name and a competition of startup projects and scientific and technical developments in the environmental field as a section of the traditional All-Ukrainian Festival "Sikorsky Challenge", which is scheduled for October 2024.


The forum was organized in the CLUST Space, a smartcover of the KPI Scientific and Technical Library, a new university space that has recently been actively used for various public events. It was held in two modes - in-person and online.

The participants, including prominent politicians, high-ranking officials, diplomats, scientists, public figures, representatives of enterprises in the fields related to environmental and energy security, as well as foreign experts, discussed ways to overcome the most pressing problems facing our country due to Russia's full-scale aggression. 

The topic of the Forum also determined the specific areas of this discussion. They are clear: the massive rocket attacks on large areas of our country, the widespread use of heavy aircraft bombs, large-caliber shells, and mines have not only resulted in numerous human losses, but also caused land and soil degradation, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and a serious decline in agricultural productivity. It also leads to limited access to land, roads, and water supplies, which in turn creates a new set of social, economic, and environmental problems. Problems that need to be addressed now. The Forum also focused on the organization, technical and personnel support for humanitarian demining of Ukrainian land, restoration of infrastructure, the environment, and attention to energy and environmental safety. 

"Representatives of a number of non-governmental organizations - the Environmental Safety Council, the Ukrainian Peace Council, and the scientific community - proposed to create a permanent platform for analyzing the damage that the war is causing and has already caused to Ukraine. And today, with this Forum, we are launching the work of such a platform," said Mykhailo Zgurovsky, Rector of the KPI, Chairman of the Ukrainian Peace Council, opening the meeting. He also formulated the main goals of the Forum: finding solutions aimed at preserving the natural diversity of our country, combating ecocide, uniting the public, scientists, educators together with government agencies and local governments in the struggle to achieve a just peace in Ukraine, improving cooperation in this area with the international community, governments of different countries, politicians, military, and representatives of civil society. Summarizing the opening remarks of the Forum, Mykhailo Zgurovsky noted that if the best objective knowledge and assessments on the issues under consideration are collected, analyzed and summarized, it will allow us to better understand the full range of problems faced by our country and help the three branches of government to make the right decisions. Moreover, he believes that such a platform as this Forum can also help to overcome the traditional fragmentation of our civil society.

First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Kornienko welcomed the participants. He spoke about the relevance of the Forum in view of the environmental aspects of the war that is raging in Ukraine and the crimes committed by Russia on our land. "Among other things, the Russian Federation is also an anti-environmental dictatorship," he emphasized, "and therefore the topic of the conference, this Forum, is, in my opinion, very appropriate. 

Even in the very first, traditionally congratulatory speeches, there were very specific things and proposals. There were also eloquent statistics on the human and economic losses that Ukraine is currently suffering and the damage that the war has caused. Thus, from the very first minutes of the Forum, the discussion of real issues and problems that Ukraine has to overcome now began. For example, Valeriy Tsybukh, Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Peace Council, Deputy Chairman of the International Public Organization "Council for Environmental Safety", Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, in his report "Countering Ecocide in the Context of the Ukrainian Peace Formula", cited some impressive statistics. "There are no boundaries in life processes, which are also determined by the state of the environment," he emphasized first. "Every day of war results in losses of 4 billion hryvnias for the environment of Ukraine. According to the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, the country's total environmental losses already exceed UAH 2 trillion - more than $60 billion! More than half of them are attributed to losses due to air pollution. Slightly less is the damage caused by the degradation of land resources caused by the war, because Russia violated all international principles and norms during its aggression against Ukraine... Ukraine has recorded 2300 cases of crimes against the environment. Some ecosystems have been lost forever, for example, due to the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. There are still risks of a nuclear disaster... 30% of Ukraine's territory is mined and potentially dangerous due to unexploded ordnance!" 

Yuki Sekiguchi, Executive Vice President of Cognitive Research Labs, Ink. and retired Rear Admiral of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces, spoke in detail about the assistance in humanitarian demining of Ukraine's territories, including the organization of training for specialists in the relevant field, which Japan can provide to our country. Such assistance is extremely important for our country, because the experience that the Land of the Rising Sun has gained in this area since World War II, including humanitarian demining in Kampuchea, Laos, and Vietnam, can certainly be of great help to us. 

"Is it possible to bring Muscovy to justice for the environmental damage caused to our country?" asked Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine Yuriy Sergeyev, who is well known to many of our compatriots as the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations in 2007-2015, at the beginning of his report "Environmental Crimes of Russia in Ukraine in the Light of International Law". And he confidently answered: "Difficult, but possible!". And then he cited a number of available legal opportunities that, despite the imperfections of international environmental law, give Ukraine and humanity the tools and mechanisms to restore justice in this matter.

In general, there were a lot of interesting speakers and presentations at the Forum. For example, the report "Nuclear Terrorism and Blackmail of the Russian Federation - a Threat to International Security" by Yuriy Shcherbak, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Minister of Environmental Protection of Ukraine in 1991-1992, scientist, well-known writer and publicist, was devoted to surprisingly important issues, or the speech "Enhancing the Anti-War Potential of International and National Environmental Security Systems" by Vasyl Shevchuk, Minister of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine in 1998-2001, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine in 2002-2003, and now Chairman of the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Nature, and reports by other prominent experts for our country. The word "ecocide" was used quite often, because ecocide crimes are what, among other things, the aggressor is committing in Ukraine. It is systematic and purposeful. 

Ways and approaches to overcoming the consequences of environmental crimes of the Russian Federation were considered by the Forum participants at the sessions whose titles speak for themselves: "Humanitarian demining of Ukrainian lands", "Countering Russian nuclear terrorism in Ukraine. Elimination of contamination from nuclear risks", "Energy and environmental safety. Water and Reservoirs Purification". Here is a list of only some of the reports reviewed and discussed by the experts: "Humanitarian Demining in Educational Challenges of Wartime and Postwar" (authors Prof. Oksana Vovk, Director of the Institute of IEE of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, and Prof, acting Head of the Department of Geoengineering Head of the Department of Geoengineering of the ER IEE Natalia Zuevska), "Problems of demining the territories of Ukraine during the hostilities of 2022-2024 and prospects for restoring land for economic activity" (Director of the Strategic Communications Agency Mykhailo Kostynskyi), "Determination of chemical contamination of land and water resources of Ukraine as a result of hostilities" (Pavlo Zelenyi, Head of the Laboratory of the State Research Forensic Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine), "Manifestations of Russian nuclear terrorism in Ukraine" (Anatolii Nosovskyi, Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Director of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), "Operation of Nuclear Energy Facilities of Ukraine under Extreme Conditions" (Vadym Kononovskyi, Vice-Rector of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute). Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Vadym Kondratiuk), "Modern sensor systems of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute for monitoring the air environment: for peace and martial law of Ukraine" (prof, Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Technology of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Olga Linyucheva), "Protection of aquatic ecosystems from pollution by mineralized wastewater" (professor, Head of the Department of Ecology and Technology of Plant Polymers of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Mykola Gomelia), "Problems of assessing environmental damage from Russian aggression" (senior researcher at the Center for Aerospace Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Andriy Demydenko) and others. 

And, as mentioned above, the Forum held a competition for startup projects and scientific and technical developments in the environmental field. It considered 20 projects selected by the international jury out of 46 submitted to it, and 8 were recognized as winners. Moreover, the teams that presented the developments that were recognized as the most promising, according to Inna Maliukova, the head and one of the founders of the Sikorsky Challenge startup school, will be able to take part in the acceleration training program for free to participate in the main Sikorsky Challenge 2024 festival in October. And these are really relevant projects: the winners' diplomas were awarded to the authors of the projects Robotic Systems Based on Artificial Intelligence, Mechanical Method for Cleaning the Surface of Water Areas from Oil Products, MineGuard (as the name implies, it is a mine action project), Magnetic Separation - the Basis of Environmental Technologies of the Future, and four others.

In total, 218 government and political figures, scientists, domestic and foreign experts, teachers and students from 18 universities and institutions of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, as well as representatives of volunteer and public organizations from Ukraine, the United States, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom took part in the Forum. The participants heard 31 reports and 8 speeches.

The participants adopted the Forum's Declaration, in which they identified a number of key messages that they sought to convey to the international community. This document, after being finalized by the Organizing Committee, will be sent to ECOSOC, UNESCO, the IAEA, the European Commission, other influential international organizations and governments of the world in order to initiate the prosecution of Russia for the crimes of military ecocide in Ukraine. 

The Forum concluded with a concert staged and conducted by Herman Makarenko, People's Artist of Ukraine, Head of the UNESCO Chair "Music, Education, Science for Peace" at the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine, UNESCO Artist for Peace, Ambassador of Ukraine, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Kyiv Classical Orchestra, Conductor of the National Opera of Ukraine.

Finally, about the organizers of the Forum. They are the Ukrainian Peace Council, the All-Ukrainian Innovation Ecosystem Sikorsky Challenge Ukraine, and the International Public Organization Environmental Safety Council. Co-organizers: Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ukrainian Chamber of Construction, Women's Union of Ukraine, International Institute - Association of Regional Environmental Problems, Ukrainian Alliance. The general sponsor is Raiffeisen Bank. 

Dmytro Stefanovych

For two days, participants will discuss the problem of environmental genocide caused by war.

Among the topics to be discussed:

🔹 Japan's experience in humanitarian demining,
restoration of agricultural land,
🔹 nuclear waste disposal,
🔹 protection of the atmosphere from emissions caused by military operations.

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