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23 Sep 2015

GEF to allocate $10.5m for environmental projects in Belarus

MINSK, 23 September (BelTA) – The Global Environment Facility (GEF) will provide $10.5 million for the implementation of environmental projects in Belarus until 2018, Belarusian First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Iya Malkina told journalists during an extended seminar of the GEF on 23 September, BelTA has learned.

“The sixth replenishment period of the Global Environment Facility started in 2014 and will run for four years. The GEF has plans to provide around $10.5 million for the implementation of environmental projects in Belarus until 2018. We will focus on three major areas: climate change ($8.5 million), land degradation ($0.5 million), and biodiversity ($1.5 million),” Iya Malkina noted.

As for some concrete projects, Iya Malkina said that great attention will be paid to energy-efficient illumination of Belarusian cities and towns. “For example, we are holding talks with the State Committee for Standardization to use a part of this sum for installation of energy-efficient lighting. The project is under development. The money will also be used for the restoration of peatland. Some of the money will probably be given to co-finance the project of the Belarusian meteorological service,” she added.

Iya Malkina pointed out that Belarus is making every effort to attract foreign loans and win grants. “The project currently conducted by the Belarusian Forestry Ministry is a good example. The ministry received a substantial loan from a bank. Besides, it will get $1.5 million from the GEF for the implementation of the environmental part of its project,” she explained.

Iya Malkina noted that the GEF also provides small grants. “Last year alone, more than 125 projects in Belarus were subsidized by the GEF. All in all, we received $12 million,” she stressed. Iya Malkina cited the project related to the treatment of persistent organic pollutants as an example. “The project was quite demonstrative in terms of the efficient utilization of the funds of the World Bank. As much as 99.94% of the $5.5-million grant was used. Now we are cooperating with the Food and Agricultural Organization,” Iya Malkina said.

Minsk hosted an extended seminar of the GEF on 23 September. Partaking in the event were representatives of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Switzerland, and Russia. Besides, the list of participants included representatives of the GEF Secretariat, UN organizations (UNDP, UNIDO, UNEP, FAO, WB), and the GEF convention secretariats. The seminar is aimed at informing the GEF national coordinators, convention coordinators and other parties concerned on the strategies, priorities, rules, and procedures of the GEF. Apart from that, the participants of the seminar will discuss new directions of GEF’s work until 2020.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) founded in 1991 is a major source of financing for projects aimed at solving environmental challenges.

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