Today session of court and the press-conference, dedicated to the building of the huge Touristic-recreational resort Svydovetc on the territory of Transcarpathian region of Ukraine took place in Uzhhorod.

The Svydovets is a mountain range in western Ukraine (Transcarpathia), one range among the Eastern Beskids and the Ukrainian Carpathians part of the Outer Eastern Carpathians. A lot rivers, including Tysa, which is flowing into Danube, begin on this area. The clusters of Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, member of European Wilderness Network are also located close to this area.

The discussion of this big project is being held for quite a long, but there is still a lot of information not available even for local inhabitants, living close to the area. Of course building of big Touristic resort will not only bring new income and tourists to the region, but will also influence water and forest ecosystems, the ecology in general, traditional economy. The climate change effects of snow cover decrease and more frequent floods over the last years should also be considered.

Of course many local inhabitants see only positive in bringing investments, infrastructure improvements and new jobs to the region and not always considering sustainability aspect.

There is already another big touristic resort Bukovel functioning in about 40 km from that area and to study its experience, including both ecological and economical impact would be very sufficient. This was one of the proposals discussed by initiative group “Free Svydovetc” consisting of ecologists, lawyers, local entrepreneurs, NGOs etc. Legal advisors made also number of official requests regarding ecological law compliance, including one to the Ministry of environment of Ukraine.

Unfortunately defendants of the case, namely Rakhiv and Tyachiv Regional Administrations, who made the decision in contraversion of the law “ On approval of the detailed plan of the territory of the touristic-recreational resort Svydovetc” were not present on the session of the court and the next session was set to the 04 of December.

European Wilderness Society, involved also into Carpathian Convention sustainable tourism area, is recently working on several project proposals focusing on saving Carpathian natural wonders, but also in the same time proposing solutions for responsible tourism development it this region.

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Iryna Shchoka is a regional development expert and is based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

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