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29 Oct 2015

Belarus presents third environmental performance review to UNECE

MINSK, 29 October (BelTA) – Belarus has presented its third environmental performance review (EPR) to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), BelTA learnt from the press service of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Belarus.

“Today at the 21st Session of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy in Geneva First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Belarus Iya Malkina has presented Belarus’ third environmental performance review that was held by the UNECE experts in 2015,” the press service explained.

The country’s environmental performance index went up from the 73rd place in 2005 to the 32nd in 2014 (out of 178 countries). Its ecological footprint almost halved. “Environmental performance reviews became an important springboard in the matter. Almost every recommendation in the first and second reviews was fulfilled,” specialists stressed.

Since Belarus’ second EPR (2005), the country has joined the Bern Convention, the Nagoya Protocol, the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), signed the new Water Code. “Besides, Belarus signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury and we count on the assistance from the donor community in the ratification and further implementation of the convention in the country. Belarus also developed a network of Green Schools (there are 150 such schools across the country). The country opened its Aarhus nationwide center and the first regional Aarhus center in Grodno. Over 10% of all bog areas have been restored. The percentage of specially protected natural sites has gone from 7.7% up to 8.7% of the country’s total territory,” the ministry said.

“Belarus’ third environmental performance review in 2015 is not only an important step for all of us but also big responsibility. We are interested in recommendations of international experts to guide further activity of the ministry and other government bodies with a view to consolidating the country’s course for sustainable development (introduction of the green economy principles), improvement of the horizontal interaction inside the country, enhancement of the prestige of the environmental services at the national level and the development of international cooperation,” the ministry said.

The EPR recommendations approved by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy will be further used as part of the mechanism to monitor the implementation of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and make a basis for new projects of international technical assistance.

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