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Opinions & Interviews

24 Nov 2017

Wiktorin: EU will continue to support environmental projects in Belarus

Wiktorin: EU will continue to support environmental projects in Belarus

MINSK, 24 November (BelTA) – The European Union will continue supporting to environmental projects in Belarus, Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin said at the final training seminar of the project ClimaEast: Conservation and sustainable management of peatlands in Belarus to minimize carbon emissions and help ecosystems to adapt to the climate change on 24 November, BelTA has learned.

“We will continue our cooperation with Belarus. We are currently discussing our plans for the next four years. We cooperate with representatives of civil society, the authorities, discuss priorities. It is important to cover as many different elements as possible, including environmental protection, climate change, and regional development. The goal is to make the results sustainable, expand them to other areas with a view to preserving the environment,” Andrea Wiktorin said.

The ClimaEast project is designed to help the Eastern Partnership member states and Russia reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Climate has no borders. Climate change mitigation is a strategic priority for the European Union. European leaders signed a climate action that envisages a new target of 40% carbon emissions cut by 2030. We help our partners follow our example. In Belarus the ClimaEast project implements new approaches to sustainable management of natural resources, including peatlands. Considerable economic, environmental and energy progress has been made in the pilot areas,” said Andrea Wiktorin.

She stressed that it is important to preserve biodiversity, rare species of flora and fauna, expand the use of local fuels and create new jobs in the area.

Funded by the European Union and implemented by the UN Development Program, the project has become a notable example of the green economy. The seminar summed up the four years of the initiative, the national executing agency of which was the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection. The EU earmarked nearly €1.5 million for this project.

The project demonstrated a comprehensive approach to the sustainable management of lowlands in the nature reserves Zvanets and Sporovsky. Infrastructure has been developed to use biomass in power engineering, construction and agriculture. Special equipment has been acquired for cutting and collecting reeds, grass and trees. A total of 3,893 hectares in pilot areas were cleared of vegetation; 33 jobs were created. All equipment has been transferred into the ownership of the Sporovsky reserve.

Harvested wood and shrubby wood chips are used as biofuel, partly replacing fossil hydrocarbon raw materials which are one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The lowland ecosystems in Zvanets and Sporovsky are being restored, and this attracts Aquatic Warbler, the bird species included in the Red List of Endangered Species of Belarus. The density of the bird in the model areas increased 1.5-2 times in Zvanets compared with the beginning of the project, and .2-1.5 times in Sporovsky.

 

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