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5 Nov 2015

Belarus considers acceding to Gothenburg Protocol

MINSK, 5 November (BelTA) - Belarus is considering accession to the Gothenburg Protocol, Belarus’ First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Iya Malkina told BelTA.

"We are considering acceding to the Gothenburg Protocol. When presenting the Environmental Performance Review (EPR) in Geneva we and UNECE representatives discussed Belarus’ possible accession to the protocol by 2018," she said.

According to Iya Malkina, a country which signs the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol takes on obligations to reduce emissions into the atmosphere. "Belarus has already made a number of voluntary commitments under the protocol to bring our reality into conformity with those requirements that we will undertake after signing the Protocol," she said.

Iya Malkina said that Belarus is actively working towards the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury which Belarus’ Prime Minister signed last September in New York. "The most important thing for us today is the possible signing of the Paris agreement on climate in December this year. We hope that the preliminary work conducted by the countries will prove useful. Belarus is also planning to join the agreement,” she said.

Belarus presented the third Environmental Performance Review at the UNECE at the end of October. The EPR recommendations approved by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy will be used as part of a mechanism to monitor the sustainable development goals for the period after 2015, and will form the basis of new international technical assistance projects.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection is responsible for 24 conventions and is a member of the four international originations: the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection are part of the governing bodies of the three conventions (Aarhus, ESPOO and the Convention on Biodiversity). In 2014 an official of the ministry was elected to the Bureau of the Committee on Environmental Policy of the Economic Commission for Europe. Technical assistance attracted from international donors has exceeded almost 40 times the money the government has spent on the payment of contributions to the conventions.

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