A four-year international technical assistance project is launched in Belarus, aimed at expanding monitoring of the quality of the environment, primarily ambient air through building the capacity of the “Green Schools” network.
The Project “Civic Engagement in Environmental Monitoring and Improving Environmental Management at the Local Level” (“Green Schools”) will cover all the six regions of Belarus and the city of Minsk and will be funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in Belarus in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus. The Project budget is 3.5 million euro.
Nowadays, environmental safety is an urgent need, while taking care of the environment is a new level of self-awareness. Within the framework of the Project designed to engage the Belarusian public into environmental monitoring activities, it is planned to:
- Create and support environmental monitoring clubs in the regions of Belarus; engage environmental civil society organizations, volunteers, public ecologists into voluntary monitoring of violations of environmental legislation with the assistance of the committees for natural resources and environmental protection.
- Involve civil society organizations in awareness-raising activities of the country’s “Green Schools” network; improve the existing and develop new school elective courses, including clubs on air quality monitoring, as well as professional development programmes for Belarusian teachers in the field of biodiversity, rational use of energy and water, waste, and air quality monitoring.
- Establish eleven resource centers for “Green Schools” with sets of environmental monitoring equipment; ensure collaboration between “Green Schools” and local authorities responsible for environmental monitoring in data collection and management.
The Project will also hold a contest of environmental initiatives aimed at rational use of natural resources, eco-tourism, biodiversity conservation, waste management, and improving ambient air quality. Based on the results of the contest, 10-20 initiatives will be selected for implementation.
The Project activities will also aim at engaging people with disabilities into environment quality monitoring activities. The National Rehabilitation Centre for Children with Disabilities will become a pilot site for testing “Green Schools” educational programmes in this type of institutions.
The objectives of the Project include adaptation of “green” education for kindergartens, including institutions for children with disabilities, support of the activities of the Aarhus Centres in the Republic of Belarus, which are the interactive platforms for collecting and using environmental information. In addition, the Project will organize a broad awareness-raising campaign, including eco-forums.
According to the World Health Organization, 9 out of 10 people nowadays breathe air with high concentration of pollutants. Harmful substances that get into the air may cause irreparable harm to health, therefore monitoring of ambient air quality receives such attention.
The number of countries addressing the issue of air pollution is growing. Belarus assumed a number of obligations, including under the Aarhus Convention. The Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Protection of Ambient Air” defines the legal and organizational framework for protection of ambient air against pollutant emissions and also outlines the rights and obligations of the citizens, legal entities and state bodies in the field of ambient air quality.
Contact information for the media:
UNDP Press Office in Belarus
For more information or an interview for the media, please contact the press office of the United Nations Development Programme via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone. +375 17 360 29 12 (Project office).
 The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, was signed by 38 countries, including Belarus in 1998.