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UNECE experts visit Belarus to assess environmental policies and implementation

UNECE experts visit Belarus to assess environmental policies and implementation

Experts from UNECE member States and the secretariat are visiting Belarus from 17 to 25 March for a field mission in the framework of the third environmental performance review (EPR) of the country. Following today’s plenary meeting, the team will meet governmental officials and representatives of international organizations, NGOs, business and academia, in order to assess progress in environmental protection since the second review, carried out in 2005, and develop recommendations for future action.

In addition to environmental governance and financing, the third review of Belarus will evaluate the country’s efforts to abate air pollution, enhance the management of water resources, reduce waste, preserve biodiversity and improve the environmental quality of cities and other human settlements. It will also address the integration of environmental considerations in the transport, energy, forestry, tourism and health sectors and the development of environmental education and education for sustainable development. Conducted in 2015 — the final year for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals — the review will describe progress made by Belarus in fulfilling those international commitments.

The outcomes of the third EPR of Belarus, including recommendations to the country, will be discussed by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy at its meeting in Geneva in October 2015, with the participation of high-level officials from the Government of Belarus.

Since 1993, the UNECE Environmental Performance Review Programme assesses progress made by individual countries in reconciling their environmental and economic targets and in meeting international environmental commitments. The reviews assist countries to improve their management of the environment by making concrete recommendations for better policy design and implementation. The current third cycle of reviews focuses on environmental governance and financing in a green economy context, countries’ cooperation with the international community and environmental mainstreaming in priority sectors. Belarus is the fifth country to be reviewed in this cycle following the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Georgia.

The EPR of Belarus is being organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus. It is financially supported by the Government of Switzerland, the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the German Federal Environment Agency with funds from the Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP). The Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights of France has delegated an expert on health and environment issues for the review, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has provided an expert on biodiversity and protected areas. Organizational support to the review mission is provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Belarus. Financial support to the EPR Programme is provided by Austria, the Netherlands and Norway.

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