This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Ukraine Country Manager Anastasiia Bushovska
The unusual weather events in Ukraine throughout 2021 were mostly related to record-breaking temperatures (for both highest and lowest records). May had a mean monthly temperature of 12.4 °C, an average 2.8 °C cooler than the climate norm. Mid-May was also marked by sudden snowfalls which is far from typical for weather during the month. Such weather patterns delayed the beginning of meteorological summer, but then July started to beat the records in another direction; Ukraine became 3.3 °C hotter than the climate norm with the daily mean of 24.6 °C. July was also marked by breaking daily temperature records several times. Between June 1 and July 15 there were 12 daily temperature records.
In addition to lower than usual spring temperatures, there were unusually ample rains. Of course, it prevented the possibility of the drought and in many parts of Ukraine vegetation growth was more intensive than usual. Unlike most other parts of the country, the typically dry region of southern Ukraine suffered from unusually abundant rain. That brought some losses for the agricultural sector which did not expect such conditions and had no chance to adapt. Some farmers lost their watermelon harvest to hail while others were forced to reseed watermelon up to 4 times because of flooded fields. Cold and moist spring also brought agricultural challenges in the form of a higher rate of plant diseases.
There are no specific regulations aimed at climate change adaptation or extreme weather events preparedness measures. Both are usually region-specific (following on the decentralization reform) and may be defined in regional strategies. Up until now, adaptation strategies exist in several cities in Ukraine (for example, Zaporizhzhia), while in many others the questions on adaptation are not considered. Adaptation and extreme weather events preparedness is lacking on the national level. There were some local initiatives on adaptation, but these need to be scaled up to be effective.
The first state document mentioning adaptation is a Concept of Implementation of State Policy in the field of Climate Change for the period up to 2030 (introduced in 2016, with an activity plan to be provided in 2017), which shapes the governmental policy for climate change mitigation and adaptation and defines some general measures to be taken for climate change adaptation.
The Project of National Strategy for Environmental Safety and Climate Change Adaptation until 2030 still needs to be finalized and approved after public consultations. That would define the general adaptation context and sector specific guidelines for adaptation. Ukraine also has a Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation for agriculture, forest, and fish industries until 2030 (2019), and a National Plan to Combat Land Degradation and Desertification (2016). Hopefully, these strategies will be implemented to strengthen the response to extreme weather events. So far, the measures taken do not seem to help Ukraine adapt to extreme weather events.
There is a lack of knowledge exchange and coordination between entities engaged in adaptation-related measures, especially in centralized and local governmental institutions. There is also a lack of intersectoral research to consider risks, vulnerability, and prediction of climate change on national level. Moreover, currently used environmental monitoring needs to incorporate GIS and satellite technologies to enable better analysis and prediction of climate change and its implications for different sectors.
Current ability of the country to adapt to extreme weather conditions it faced in 2021:
Rating: ** Fair
Four Stars (****): Outstanding
Three stars (***): Good
Two stars (**): Fair
One star (*): Unprepared
Head of the Department of Climate Change Adaptation and Climate Reporting, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources