Local Environmental Action Plans Component: Introducing New Visions for the Better Environment in Belarusian Districts
These environmental plans provide 10 Belarusian districts with opportunities of how to improve approaches to waste management and sanitation, to consume electricity efficiently, to create green zones. The LEAPs should also enable local governments to attract investment for protecting the environment.
“In each of the 10 districts, representatives of NGOs, manufactures, municipal agencies, and relevant organizations formed Coordinating Councils. They were working on the Local Environmental Action Plans together with the local authorities and experts. In addition, information about the Plans was regularly published in the local media. Thanks to such an inclusive approach, all relevant stakeholders were involved in the project, and they were suggesting their ideas on how to improve the LEAPs,” – Vyacheslav Barsukov, Project Coordinator.
IMPORTANCE OF THE PROJECT
Belarusian local authorities indeed include environmental concerns in their activities and decision-making; nevertheless, in order to reduce amounts of waste, for instance, or to control detrimental emissions from factories, a systematic approach is needed. Moreover, when dealing with such issues, local governments consult citizens not on a regular basis. That means that environmental actions employed by authorities sometimes may not reflect local citizens' views and preferences.
In the process of making the Local Environmental Action Plans the district authorities, organizations, and the general public could openly discuss environmental problems of their regions and reach together mid-term and long-term solutions to them.
Moreover, thanks to the LEAPs, the 10 districts participating in the project learned – during special seminars – how to attract investors to realize efficient activities that can simultaneously protect the environment and increase citizens’ welfare in the regions. Such projects may result in power plants working on local resources (e.g. biogas, hydropower from small rivers) or new parks and green areas for public recreation.
The Development of the LEAPs is part of the STREAM Program. It is implemented by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) in Belarus and Moldova; the financing for the project comes from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The second component of the Program aimes to strengthen Belarusian and Moldovan environmental civil society organizations.
An exemplar LEAP (Ivatsevichi district, available only in Russian); to get more infromation about particular LEAP, please, contact us by using the numbers provided below.
Each Plan contains from 4 to 5 priorities, for instance, management of residential hard waste, air contamination, ecological education, or quality of drinking water. The key dimensions of the LEAPs were determined by the local authorities and experts after special surveys had been conducted in 2013-2014. Around 1000 local dwellers had participated in each such survey.
For instance, Polotsk decided to use the grant to reduce air pollution, which is largely caused by enterprises in Polotsk itself and a neighboring city, Novopolotsk (where major chemical industry plants are located). The municipality created three green zones with plants having the high filtering capacity.
Some of the district initiatives will also help to preserve the Belarusian cultural heritage. According to the Rogachev LEAP, landscape works were conducted to refurbish a park in Kisteni village where the renowned Belarusian writer Vladimir Korotkevich used to stroll. It is believed that in this park, Korotkevich was thinking on his famous novel “Ears of Rye under Thy Sickle” (“Kalasy pad syarpom tvaim”).
The full list of environmental initiatives that are to be realized within the LEAP project in the 10 Belarusian districts (available only in Russian); for more information about the environmental initiatives, please, contact us by using the numbers below)
The park in the village Kisteni; photo provided by Irina Sedler, LEAP coordinator in Rogachev district
Overall objective: To improve environmental planning and management in 10 Belarusian districts.
1. To integrate the sustainable development principles into the general planning strategies of the 10 districts.
2. To provide the local authorities, local citizens and their organizations with opportunities to obtain investment, skills and knowledge necessary to realize priority environmental projects in the districts.
3. To support the local authorities, local citizens and their organizations in designing methods for the efficient and environmentally friendly use of the local natural resources.
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Anna Razhentsova, PR Manager
+ 375 44 758 88 15, + 375 29 509 28 48 (mobile); + 375 17 334 24 76 (tel.); email@example.com