MAMA-86 held the round table "Right to Water and Sanitation in Ukraine: Global Perspective and Local Reality" Print
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 14:28

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MAMA-86 held the round table "Right to Water and Sanitation in Ukraine: Global Perspective and Local Reality" as part of the International Environmental Forum "Environment for Ukraine" on April 27, 2016.

Representatives from the State Sanitary-and-Epidemiological Service, regional state administrations, non-government organizations, Ukrainian and international experts, and MAMA‑86 network partners took part in the event.  The event was moderated by Anna Tsvietkova, the MAMA-86 Drinking Water and Sanitation Program Coordinator.

Results of the self-evaluation of securing the equal right to water and sanitation in Ukraine were presented to the participants.  The survey was conducted in 2015 by MAMA-86 regional organizations in 12 regions of Ukraine (Zaporizhzhia / Zaporizhzhia oblast, Kyiv, Kirovograd and Kirovograd oblast, Luhansk, Mykolaiv and Mykolaiv oblast, Nizhyn, Nova Kahovka and Nova Kahovka City Council, Bilyky village and Poltava oblast, Sumy and Sumy oblast, Kharkiv and Kharkiv oblast, Khmelnytsk and Khmelnytsk oblast, Yaremche City Council) (Video of A. Tsvyetkova's presentation of the self-evaluation results).

The survey used a self- methodology employing the Instrument's evaluation tables developed by international experts for the purpose of assisting governments and non-government organizations dealing with implementation of the Water and Health Protocol.  Ukraine has been a party to the Protocol since 2003. Early 2013, MAMA-86, together with the State Sanitary-and-Epidemiological Service, took part in pilot testing of the Self-Evaluation Instrument.  Toward the end of that year it was approved and recommended for practical use at the Protocol Parties' Workshop in Oslo, Norway.

Major achievements and conclusions of the survey were presented to the round table participants. Main results include in the first place a number of concrete examples of geographical and social inequality in various regions.  More specifically, in the capital, Kyiv, 30,000 (1.06%) of residents do not have an access to the city sewerage system (video of N. Chyzhmakova's report on the situation in Kyiv). 17% of 5,200 residents of Bilyky village in Poltava oblast, do not have an access to safe potable water and use water from draw wells in competition for water with the local pig farm "Village Tradition" (video of Y. Berezhna's report on the situation in Bilyky village and Poltava oblast).  There is a gross inequality between urban and rural areas with regard to an access to water and sanitation services.  Coverage with sanitation services (wastewater services and access to sewerage systems only) is substantially smaller in villages.  Data on the number of households connected to wastewater treatment facilities were not collected because of lack of relevant statistics on site.

The survey confirmed existence of inequality in provision of regions with local water resources and related water deficit.  A lot of rural residents, kindergartens, and health institutions use water from tanks. Most acute this problem is in Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Kirovograd oblasts.  For instance, 200 locales in Zaporizhzhia oblast still use water from tanks despite the access to water in regional rural areas increased from 54% to 73.5% between 2010 and 2013 thanks to construction of aqueducts and water pipelines.  At the same time, the access to sewerage systems remains at a critically low level (only two per cent of villages had sewerage systems as of 2013).

There are individual cases where the situation with the access to water and sanitation gets worse.  For example, from 2010 through 2013, the coverage of Zaporizhzhia city population with centralized water supply and wastewater services dropped from 93.2% to 87.6% and from 76% to 67.1%, respectively (video of A. Yelkin report on the situation in Zaporizhzhia / Zaporizhzhia oblast). Villages which are administratively subordinated to Nova Kahovka are fully covered with centralized water and wastewater services.  In practice, however, the access to water pipeline is shrinking, while wastewater and wastewater treatment facilities are deteriorating because of old age (they are more than 20 years in operation) (video of T. Kosak's report on the situation in Nova Kahovka).

Although the water and wastewater services were affordable to most household in the surveyed regions in 2013 and 2014, existing plans to raise rates for these services in 2015 substantially, has already caused great concerns about many households' ability to pay for the services at the new rates. Privileges and subsidies to households for housing and utility services serve principal tools of the government social assistance. During the year of 2014, in Mykolaiv, the rates for centralized water supply and wastewater services for residential customers grew by 234.8% and 218.6%, respectively, thus leading to an increase in a number of households applying for the subsidies.  While there were 31,600 such households in 2014, their number was increased up to 140,000 in 2015 (i.e. 4.4 times increase) (video of K.Berest's report on the situation in Mykolaiv). However, the subsidies fail to mitigate the utility service affordability issue for a large percentage of households, especially vulnerable ones and families with many children.  The residential customers' indebtedness for utility services keeps growing. Under such condition, vodocanals (service providers) disconnect them from water and wastewater services. For instance, such practice is used by vodocanal in Zaporizhzhia.

Problems of accessing the water and sanitation services by vulnerable and margin groups of residential customers can hardly be studies because of lack of relevant statistics at the local level.  Such vulnerable groups include primarily children in kindergartens and health institutions, disabled and relocated individuals. The access to potable water and sanitary-and-hygienic conditions in schools and hospitals remain critical issues, especially with respect to the service quality.  For instance, there is no hot water supply in Nizhyn city children polyclinic; nor are there proper hygienic conditions for the medical staff and children.  According to the official statistics, the children sickness rate is ten times as high as that of the city adult population (video of V. Shchokina' s report on the situation in Nizhyn).

The current moratorium on audits and administrative reform of the Sanitary-and-Epidemiological Service negatively affects the situation with the drinking water quality control and compliance with the sanitary-and-hygienic standards in all regions.  Weakened sanitary-and-hygienic controls led to occurrences of acute enteric infections in Kyiv's Bortnichi micro-raion with the population of 8,000 people in 2015 and salmonellosis outbreak in Nizhyn in 2014.

Listed below are major conclusions made based on the self-evaluation survey of Ukrainian residential customers with regard to securing the equal right to water and sanitation services which was conducted by MAMA-86:

Ukraine lacks government policies which would aim at securing the equal right to water and sanitation services.  The current legislation just declares the right to drinking water.  However, its very definition features discrimination sights as such right is defined only for those individuals who have an access to water distribution system in their dwelling or nearby. There is no such right for those using draw wells or septic tanks.  Nor is there government support for developing or servicing such facilities.

Ukraine as represented by its Presidents has signed all UN resolutions on the right to water and sanitation and voted for the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2016-2030. The Action Plan for sustainable development envisages an approach which is based on recognising and securing human rights including the right of every individual to drinking water and sanitation. Therefore, the Government must assume the responsibility for a leading role in securing the right for safe water and proper sanitary conditions for every citizen of Ukraine.

Materials of the round table "Right to Water and Sanitation in Ukraine: Global Perspective and Local Reality"

Anna Tsvietkova, MAMA-86
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/hiY1Lr-zWjE
Title of the presentation: Actual situation with securing the equal right to water and sanitation: results of the self-evaluation survey conducted by MAMA-86

Yulia Berezhna, MAMA-86-Poltava
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/TUKEl_GR3XI
Title of the presentation: SIDA-funded project "Securing the equal right to water and sanitation: Results of activities in Bilyky village

Taisiya Kosak, MAMA-86-Nova Kahovka
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/vWG0XhwTRAg
Title of the presentation: Brief presentation of MAMA-86-Nova Kahovka for the April 27 Round Table

Nataliya Chyzhmakova, MAMA-86-Kyiv
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/04P0vu6el8Q
Title of the presentation: Reducing the geographical inequality in Kyiv

Nataliya Parapanova, MAMA-86-Luhansk
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/zqm9rKeTGu0

Marta Korchenlyuk, MAMA-86-Yaremche
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/DH21IRfgB5Q
Title of the presentation: Major problems in the legislative framework of securing the right to safe drinking water as exemplified by the territory of Yaremche City Council

Katerina Berest, MAMA-86-Mykolaiv
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/yG5FGf0PERA
Title of the presentation: Affordability of water and wastewater services in Mykolaiv oblast

Nataliya Karpekina, MAMA-86-Khmelnytsk
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/4TKaa55Yd7E

Valentyna Shchokina, MAMA-86-Nizhyn
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/prSz6SridPk
Title of the presentation: Access to water and sanitation for vulnerable and marginal groups of residential customers

Andriy Yelkin, MAMA-86-Zaporizhzhia
Video of the presentation: https://youtu.be/SU_afZiNh6E
Title of the presentation: Selected aspects of geographical inequality in Zaporizhya region

Round table photos are posted here.

 
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