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14 Mar 2017

European Union to continue supporting local initiatives in Belarus

MINSK, 14 March (BelTA) – The European Union will continue supporting projects designed to develop local initiatives in Belarus, BelTA learned from Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin on 14 March.

Speaking about the implementation of the EU-UNDP project Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus, Andrea Wiktorin noted that the European Union is satisfied with cooperation with the Belarusian side. “We will continue implementing such projects. There will be new projects. Our task is to support regional development and cooperation at the local level. Our projects are meant for people,” she stressed.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus said that the European Union and the UNDP had surrendered the authority to choose pilot initiatives to municipal government agencies of Belarus. “It is very important for us to support local authorities and the civil society in the course of implementing the initiatives originating at the local level and meant to improve living standards in the regions. It is the first time we’ve decided to experiment and shift everything to the level of local organizations — we’ve handed over the implementation of projects to them,” said Andrea Wiktorin.

Local initiatives are designed to improve the environmental situation in the regions and to develop populated localities. “We urge local residents to take the responsibility for the development of their regions, towns and villages. This is why it is a good idea to leave the implementation of projects to those, who will directly benefit from them,” she stated.

A contest of local initiatives has been arranged as part of the EU-UNDP project Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus. As many as 30 pilot districts (five from every oblast of the country) took part in the contest, with 352 applications submitted. As many as 126 local initiatives reached the final stage of the contest. The total budget of the contest exceeds €2.6 million. The European Union allocated €2.2 million while partners co-financed the rest. Every district will get €50,000-90,000 for implementing their projects. The Belarusian Economy Ministry is the national coordinator of the project.

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