The issues of Belarus-EU cooperation on climate change and the possibility of prompt lifting of the EU ban on sale of glass eel larvae to Belarus were high on the agenda of the meeting between Belarus’ Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Andrei Khudyk and outgoing Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus Her Excellency Ms Andrea Wiktorin.
The parties summed up the joint work and discussed the prospects for further cooperation as Andrea Wiktorin is leaving the post of the Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus.
Since its opening in the Republic of Belarus the European Union Delegation has provided financial support to a number of successful projects of international technical assistance aimed at addressing the challenges facing the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter the Ministry of Natural Resources) and the state as a whole.
The European Union has provided financial support to a number of international technical assistance projects to a total amount of €8,940,253, namely: Civic engagement in environmental monitoring and improving environmental management at the local level (implementation period: 30 March 2018 – 30 March 2022). The project seeks to involve civil society organizations in environmental training in "green schools" across the country, to develop cooperation between "green schools" and local organizations responsible for environmental monitoring, for data collection and to organize contests of environmental initiatives; “European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership (EUWI+ 4 EaP) - components 2 and 3, is aimed at developing a management plan for the Pripyat River basin, in compliance with the EU Water Framework Directive and Article 15 of the Water Code of the Republic of Belarus, building the capacities of the laboratories involved in the monitoring of surface and ground waters (supply of laboratory equipment); Support to effective air emissions and radiation monitoring, and improved environmental management in Belarus is being implement to help Belarus to draft the legislation on air quality management and monitoring, taking into account the country’s commitments under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and also the EU legislation, in particular, the EU directive on ambient air quality and the EU directive on emission limit values.
During the meeting Andrei Khudyk outlined the priorities for the further development of cooperation between Belarus and the EU Delegation. These include strengthening the national capacities for environmental monitoring, waste management, climate change, biodiversity, including the conservation of the European eel population, renewable energy and low carbon economy, electric transport.
The head of the EU Delegation to Belarus confirmed the EU’s willingness to foster ties with the Ministry of Natural Resources on the basis of synergy of the national priorities of the state and the European Union.
Two more projects are in the pipeline: The European Union for Environment is aimed at providing assistance to the six Eastern Partnership member states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) in the conservation and more rational use of natural capital, raising environmental well-being of people, stimulating the economic growth and creating the mechanisms for more effective management of environmental risks and environmental impacts. The European Union for Climate aims to contribute to the political measures on climate change in the Eastern Partnership countries, to facilitate their transition towards a low-emissions development model and to help them fulfill their obligations under the Paris climate agreement.
Belarus’ Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Andrei Khudyk expressed confidence that the cooperation between the Republic of Belarus and the European Union on environmental issues will continue gaining momentum.