Quarantine restrictions have affected the availability of communication between the authorities and NGOs - due to the introduction of online formats, such communication has become more frequent. NGOs' representatives have the opportunity to join more public discussions and working groups. However, this format has its disadvantages: inequality of opportunities to participate in discussions, when some are present online, some - offline, as well as the lack of opportunity to establish personal contacts through informal communication.
There are positive precedents when NGO experts have been involved at the planning and development stage, and not just commenting on already created documents, like usually occurred. For example, when the Kyiv Environmental Strategy was being developed in 2020, public activists were invited to working groups in 6 areas, where ideas were discussed and conclusions were drawn: «Education and Science», «Environmental Security», «Green Zones and Biodiversity», «Water», «Air» and «Waste». Not all practices were taken into account in the final document, but such cases are gradually legalizing the norm of joint development of important policies. One of the participants in the study, a representative of the public sector, spoke about this project: «At the planning stage of [Kyiv Environmental Strategy], we are already involving the public, all volunteers. That is, everybody can participate, without exceptions. Although, to be honest, some participants from the local authorities knew that «this one will scold us all the time». But still, there was no one who was not allowed in, everyone was there, everyone spoke, all thoughts were written down. However, very few [of them] were taken into account. But the trend is positive. We started thinking at the discussion stage. So, there is definitely more interaction, cooperation between local authorities, the public and activists».
Authorities say that over the past year, climate change has become more common within their eyeshot, and they are gradually becoming more aware of climate issues. This is partly due to the desire to join the policy of the European Green Course and implement changes in view of the EGC. It is also influenced by the fact that Ukraine participates in international climate projects and has commitments to the EU to transform environmental policy, cooperates with foreign partners and donors interested in overcoming and adapting to the effects of climate change in Ukrainian cities. Cooperation between the government and NGOs has the potential to influence the country's position in climate negotiations and certain international events - and this understanding also influences the development of cooperation. Each new positive experience of such cooperation leads to an increase in its consistency. The authorities increasingly understand the importance of communication and cooperation with public experts at the stage of development of regulations, decisions, strategies, policies, as well as the fact that the lack of such cooperation creates a risk of not considering important aspects in the development of documents related to climate issues.
But in general, the actions of the authorities are still difficult to call consistent. Despite the declaration of intent to join the EGC and transform environmental policy, in reality, budgets are funded to support the coal industry.