The system of the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine.
The Ministry for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine (MinEcoSafety) is the primary agency responsible for implementing national environmental policy, managing natural resources, etc., including all issues related to biodiversity and the Biodiversity Convention. In particular, the duties of the Ministry are to guide and control the preservation of biological diversity and natural ecosystems, to define the government strategy and legal aspects of the use and conservation of natural resources and objects of the plant and animal world, etc. The Ministry includes such bodies as the Central Environmental Inspection, Board of National Nature Parks and Preservation, Department of Use of Natural Resources, State Committee of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea for Environmental Protection, local departments in administrative regions, in the cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol, State ecological inspections for protection of the Black and Azov Seas, several research institutes, nature reserves and national nature parks.
Other governmental agencies responsible for conservation and use of natural resources are: the Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, State Committee of Land Resources, State Committee of Water Management, State Committee of Geology.
The Ministry of Forestry is responsible for carrying out state policy for the management, protection and use of the country's forests. The forests are classified in two groups. Forests of the first group (51% of all forests) are managed for their environmental, scientific and recreational values. Forests of the second group are managed mainly for commercial (timber production) and environmental purposes. The Ministry of Fishery directs and coordinates issues of sustainable use and restoration of fish resources in inland water bodies of Ukraine and within the continental shelf and exclusive marine economic zone of the Black and Azov Seas. Among many functions and responsibilities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, there are those concerning rational use of agricultural lands and "ecologization" of agriculture. Some of these functions are also performed by the State Committee of Land Resources. The State Committee of Water Management is responsible for issues and programs that involve management and use of water bodies and adjacent lands, including mires and bogs, islands, riverside protected zones, etc. These territories and aquatories are of major importance as natural habitats for many species of plants and animals, and also as ecological corridors between different ecosystems.
Some aspects directly or indirectly connected to conservation of biodiversity are covered and managed by other governmental bodies: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (international agreements and cooperation); Ministry of Economics (economics of use of natural resources); Ministry of Finance (financial support of nature conservation sectors); Ministry of Transportation (zones along transportation routes, roads, railroads, etc.); Defence Ministry (military areas and polygons); Ministry of Education (environmental education); Ministry for Science and Technology (scientific research); Ministry of Culture and Arts (natural objects belonging to national cultural heritage), etc.
Scientific research institutions and NGOs.
Scientific research in biodiversity conservation is carried out by scientists of institutes and scientific centers of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU: the Institute of Botany, the Institute of Zoology, the Institute of Hydrobiology, the Institute of Geography, the Institute of Biology of Southern Seas, the Institute of Ecology of the Carpathians, the Institute of Molecular Biology, the Institute of Microbiology, the Institute of Cell Biology and Genetic Engineering, the Council for the Study of Productive Resources, the Central Botanical Garden, the Donetsk Botanical Garden, etc.), research institutions of the Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (UAAS: Institutes of Land Resources, Plant-Growing, Fishery, Agroecology, Veterinary, Breeding and Genetics of Animals, Domestic Fowl, Genetics and Selection, Viticulture and Wine Production, etc.), and departments and chairs at universities and colleges, etc. Some environmental issues are covered by scientific centers, laboratories and institutes managed directly by the state administration.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a critical and active role in environmental and conservational activities. Many new NGOs (associations, societies, foundations, groups, etc.) have emerged quite recently, including more than 20 NGOs at the national level and more than 300 local and regional ones. The following influential NGOs should be mentioned here: the National Ecological Center, Ukrainian Society for Nature Conservation, Ukrainian Association of Hunters and Fishermen; "Zeleny Svit" (Green World) Association, Ukrainian Society for Protection of Birds, Ukrainian Botanical Society, Ukrainian Geographic Society, "Zelena Ukraina" (Green Ukraine) Society, some scientific societies and independent public "academies", etc. In order to coordinate environmental and conservational activities of NGOs and their cooperation with state agencies, the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety has established the Public Ecological Council.
Scientific institutions and NGOs were actively involved in many conservational campaigns and activities during 1995--1997. Issues related to biodiversity conservation were discussed at national and international seminars and conferences, in particular within the activities during the European Nature Conservation Year (ENCY-95), observation of Earth Day, International Environment Day, and Day of Biodiversity Conservation, etc.
Institutions providing scientific justification and expertise.
There are 14 nature reserves, 3 biosphere reserves and 7 national nature parks in Ukraine. According to the national legislation, these are scientific research institutions of national importance (see Appendix. 3). Their personnel consists of 1,100 people, including 120 researchers.
There are 24 botanical gardens in Ukraine (see Appendix 4), 15 major arboreta (belonging to forestry institutions and research stations, (see Appendix 5) and 84 memorial parks (parks-monuments of landscape architecture and horticultural art). Of the memorial parks, 65 (80%) were founded in XVIII and XIX centuries. Ukraine also has 7 zoos (see Appendix 6).
Resources for genetics, breeding and selection. Ukraine possesses rich genetic resources of species, varieties, forms, breeds, lines and strains of plants, animals and microorganisms representing both native and non-native taxa. These resources are deposited and conserved in their natural environment and habitats, in cultivation, collections, gene banks (including cryobanks), in numerous reserves, parks, botanical gardens, institutes, universities, etc. Ukraine has 478 genetic reservates (total area ca. 24,000 ha). These reservates represent major forest types and plant communities, including common oak and Scots pine (57.3%), European beech (13.3%), spruce (11.5%), fir (5.4%), oak Quercus petraea (2.6%), Crimean beech (0.6%), etc. The genetic reservates are also represented in forests with participation of rare and endangered species, such as Pinus stankewiczii, P. cembra, Taxus baccata, Arbutus andrachne, Pistacia mutica, etc. There are 3,079 ha of elite forests in Ukraine; the state inventory lists 4,065 elite trees.
The M. M. Hryshko Central Botanical Garden of the NASU houses unique collections consisting of ca. 13,000 species, varieties, forms and cultivars of ornamental, medicinal, fodder, edible and other useful plants native to Ukraine and many other regions of the Globe, large pomological collections, etc. Of special value are the collections of tropical and subtropical plants (more than 3,000 species and cultivars), one of the best in Europe orchid collections, 4,500 species and cultivars of ornamental plants, 1,800 species and forms of trees and shrubs. The Nikita State Botanical Garden of the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy has a unique collection of ca. 9,300 species and cultivars of plants; it is one of the best representations of the flora of Mediterranean dry subtropics. The E. M. Kondratyuk Donetsk Botanical Garden has a collection representing mostly plants of the Southeast of Ukraine: about 9,000 species and cultivars, ca. 500 taxa of trees and shrubs, populations of 169 species listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine, including 16 species of feathergrass (Stipa). The collection of the O. V. Fomin Botanical Garden of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv University consists of 8,000 species and forms (4,500 in greenhouses and conservatoria and 3,500 in open ground cultivation). Collections of rhododendrons, ferns, spiraeas and magnolias are especially valuable. Rich collections of ornamental and rare plants are represented in the arboreta "Sofiyivka", "Oleksandriya" (Alexandria), "Trostyanets" (500--800 species of trees and shrubs), the Botanical Garden of I. Ya. Franko Lviv University, and some other gardens and parks.
Genetic collections and gene banks at some institutes of the NASU are extremely rich and in many aspects unique. The collection of microbial cultures at the D. K. Zabolotny Institute of microbiology and virology contains 20,000 strains, including unique samples of phytopathogenic microflora, parasitic fungi, etc. The unique collection of cultivars, forms, hybrids, strains and lines of agricultural crops (rye, wheat, maize, sugar beet, etc.) at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics contains more than 20,000 specimens and can be used for breeding and selection of the mentioned crops both in Ukraine and other countries. The gene bank (100 units), collections of recombinant DNA (200 units) and microbes-producers of medicinal substances (200 units) are created at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics. The bank of cell lines at the P. E. Kavetsky Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology and Radiobiology contains 14,000 lines of human and animal cells; ca. 200 of these lines are unique. The Center of Genetic Resources of the V. Ya. Yur'yev Institute of Plant-Growing unites several unique collections into the integrated system of genetic resources of cultivated plants, which includes the following most important parts: - collection of field crops at the Institute of Plant-Growing (42,000 specimens); - collection of medicinal plants at the Institute of Medicinal Plants (ca. 500 specimens); - pomology collection at the Institute of Pomology (7,000 specimens); - ampelographic (grape) collection at the V. E. Tairov Institute of Viticulture and Wine Production (485 specimens). Every one of the mentioned collections is at least third in the world by its value.
The main task of the Animal Genetic Resources Bank is conservation and improvement of local breeds of cattle (Grey Ukrainian, Ukrainian Whitehead, Brown Carpathian, etc.) and their use in cattle breeding. The bank contains ca. 1,700,000 sperm doses of bulls belonging to 20 milk breeds, 10 meat breeds and more than 12 synthetic populations. The collection of rare breeds and populations of fowl [chicken] at the Institute of Fowl of the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy consists of 15 breeds, breed groups and populations. The collection of microbial strains used in wine production consists of 1,076 specimens; the Strain Bank of microorganisms of veterinarian importance unites unique collections (more than 500 specimens) into an integrated resource system. The Askania-Nova Zoo is regarded as the leading institution in the CIS countries, and one of the best ten in the world, for its practical activities, experience and theoretical achievements in acclimatization and re-acclimatization of animals. The Zoo is specialized in biology of ruminant mammals native to steppes, savannas, deserts and mountains, as well as waterfowl and rare steppe birds.
The zoo keeps in captivity 3 species of large flightless birds (ostriches, emus and rheas) and 72 species of other birds, including 15 species listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine (steppe eagle, common crane, demoiselle crane, ruddy shelduck, etc.). There are 36 species of non-native mammals (total number 900 animals), including 7 extremely rare species (370 animals), such as Przewalski's wild horse (Equus caballus), saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), Siberian wild goat (Capra sibirica), markhur goat (Capra falconeri), desert zebra (Zebra grevyi), etc.
Thus, collections and gene banks of many research institutions, ministries and agencies are extremely important for conservation of both natural and cultivated genetic and species biodiversity. According to the "Regulations for procedure of selecting national heritage scientific objects" (1997), the State Register of such objects has been established. In 1997 the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Ukrainian Agricultural Academy proposed to include into the Register additional objects (see Appendix 7).
National organization for conservation of biodiversity. To ensure implementation of the Biodiversity Convention and for coordination of activities aimed at biodiversity conservation, the special Department of Biodiversity Conservation has been created at the ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety. The department operates under direct supervision of the Deputy Minister. For development of the Concept of Biodiversity Conservation in Ukraine (approved by Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers on 12 May 1997), preparation of the present National Report and the National Program for Biodiversity Conservation to the year 2015, an inter-agency coordination commission will be established in nearest future. It includes representatives of the Ministry, research institutions and NGOs. The National Coordinating Committee on conservation of biological and landscape diversity will be established.