Three Steps Towards Incorporation of Sustainable Development Goals into National Legislation
A landmark event took place in September 2015, with the UN Summit approving 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including: attaining food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agricultural development; ensuring a healthy lifestyle and promoting well-being for everybody in all ages; ensuring accessibility and sustainable management of water resources and sanitation, ensuring openness, safety, viability and environmental sustainability of settlements, etc.
Sustainable development is based on the societyТs economic, social, and environmental interests. Imbalances between the latter worsen the quality of life.
Similar to other UN member states, Ukraine joined the global process of sustainable development. In total, 17 goals and 86 national objectives have been incorporated in 145 regulations of the countryТs government.
Many key decisions were adopted in 2021 that will change the future of Ukraine. They relate to land, economic development and the environment. But the main ones are those that will help preserve and restore the state of health of all Ukrainians, including:
Ч New special requirements for baby food
ChildrenТs health is the key to sustainable development in both society and the country. And it is formed at an early age, particularly by food. Therefore, it is extremely important that the government strengthens control over this segment of the market. This is not just copying European legislation. These rules will apply in Ukraine. They relate to the following: special requirements for baby food, new requirements as to the information to be provided by manufacturers, advertising restrictions, and prohibition of misleading labeling. Our citizens will not feel any immediate changes. But new generations of young Ukrainians will be healthier.
Ч Restricting use of chlorpyrifos and adapting EU standards for the use of pesticides
All progressive European regulations on food safety and environment should be implemented in Ukraine. ItТs not a whim but an appropriate approach. The sooner we incorporate them, the better.
Limited use of a dangerous pesticide called chlorpyrifos will not only secure agricultural exports, but it will also protect the lives of humans. After all, according to European scientists this substance causes fetal development disorders, mental retardation of children, increased likelihood of clinical memory loss and movement activity in five year old children, autism, hyperactivity syndrome, attention deficit, tremors, Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases in adulthood, etc.
I believe that the same principle should be implemented for other pesticides, with limited use in the EU. There are ongoing studies in Europe on the impact of chemicals on human health and the environment. Ukraine does not need to do the same work on its own. One just needs to introduce European experience and to establish the rules that exist in the civilized world. Work in this direction is already under way.
Ч Banning phosphates and improving water quality in Ukraine
Currently, Ukraine is facing the threat of losing its drinking water. And this is not a Сspook storyТ. Unfortunately, this is reality. Experts assert that Ukraine may need to import drinking water by 2050.
Climate change and active, sometimes thoughtless human activities, are the main causes. We are all too careless when it comes to water, and we forget that life is simply impossible without water. According to the State Food and Consumer Service, violations of sanitary legislation were found at one in every two water supply facilities inspected this year. One third of the inspected sources of decentralized water supply showed deviations of indicators.
No life is possible without water. And if we do not want Ukraine to become an importer of drinking water, we need new standards for protecting rivers, springs, and other water sources.
Of course, Ukraine is not the only country that faces this issue. Developed countries made their decisions to restrict phosphates in detergents a long time ago. In this case, Ukraine simply followed the example of European countries and brought its legislation into line with EU legislation.
All these positive changes and adoption of similar regulations are aimed at bringing Ukrainian legislation into compliance with that of European countries.
For its part, the State Food and Consumer Service, which I am in charge of, aims to do everything possible within its powers to ensure implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Ukraine. We cooperate with business associations, manufacturers associations, and public organizations.
Understandably, it is unrealistic to supervise all manufacturers 24/7, even if the professionals of the State Food and Consumer Service were all supermen. As of now, it is impossible to arrange state supervision in this way.† However, we set the objective to improve the system as much as possible and, consequently, to ensure that consumers get safe and high-quality goods. After all, each of us has the objective to create a decent future for coming generations.
I hope very much that 2022 will become no less productive for really important decisions and initiatives. In order to move forward, Ukraine needs to take many more steps than our neighbors. We have wasted too much time and must catch up with this progressive world. I am sure we are capable of doing that. The main thing is to never stop, never give up, and to keep Сhitting the rockТ with reforms. After all, our future depends on us.
Vladislava Magaletska is a head of State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection