A new World Bank report, Ukraine: Building Climate Resilience in Agriculture and Forestry, is the first detailed assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on Ukraine, with a focus on agriculture – a key driver of the economy and jobs.
This groundbreaking analysis not only provides detailed climate change projections for Ukraine, but also sheds light on the impact climate change may have on the country’s agricultural output, and thereby, on household income and poverty indicators. Additionally, the report sets out specific recommendations for the Government of Ukraine for policies and agricultural practices that would allow farmers to adapt to forecasted changes in crop yields and the associated economic burdens.
“While climate change is a major risk to lives and livelihoods worldwide, countries can take appropriate adaptation measures. As the study indicates, it is not too late for Ukraine to reduce the climate risk to agriculture and forests and enhance opportunities in these sectors,” explained Arup Banerji, World Bank Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe.
The study finds that, with a continued rise in emissions, temperatures could increase to over 4°C by the end of the 21st century, accompanied by wetter winters and drier summers, coupled with significant variations across regions in Ukraine. The southern steppe is projected to see a dramatic annual increase in tropical nights and summer days by the end of the century. Rising temperatures in summer could result in heatwaves and increase aridity in the south and east of Ukraine. Even with some climate mitigation measures, the number of ice days and frost nights is projected to decrease in the southern region. This will impact many areas of the economy.
By the middle of the century, climate change is projected to contribute to decreased yields of the country’s main crops, including barley, maize, and sunflower. However, winter wheat yields could increase by 20–40 percent in north and northwestern Ukraine by 2050, as compared to 2010.
The analysis also forecasts a significant reduction in the area suitable for spruce, beech, pine and oak – key timber species in the country. With climate change, forests are likely to face increasing threats from wildfires and insects.
Based on this analysis, as well as global best practices, the report recommends that Ukraine strengthens institutions, policy and planning; increases scientific capacity and research; and promotes a transition to climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The study also highlights the need to develop more comprehensive oblast-level impact assessments, especially for water availability and corresponding costs, to identify specific climate risk considerations for development planning on the local level, so action can be tailored to the sectors facing the highest risk in the country’s oblasts.
In addition to the analysis and recommendations, Ukrainian Scientific Institutions now have access to all the climate data generated for the analysis – including climate projections for 7,400 grid points covering all areas of Ukraine for the remainder of the 21st century. This data is housed at the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute in Kyiv.
The World Bank’s overall portfolio of projects supports improvements in basic public services that directly benefit ordinary people, in areas such as water supply, sanitation, heating, power, energy efficiency, roads, social protection, education and healthcare, as well as private sector development. Since Ukraine joined the World Bank in 1992, the Bank’s commitments to the country have totaled more than $14 billion in about 80 projects and programs.