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Through the Millennium Development Goals, the world is addressing several dimensions of human development. One of the goals is to halve the people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Developing nations are working to create their own national poverty eradication strategies based on local needs and priorities. UNDP advocates for these nationally, unique solutions and helps ensure their effectiveness by sponsoring innovative pilot projects, connecting countries to the best global practices and resources, and bringing governments, civil society and donors together to coordinate their efforts.

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Compared to many transition countries, Belarus has one of the lowest poverty rates. Less than 1% of the population is living in extreme poverty, as defined by an income of less than $2 a day. At the same time, a significant number of Belarusian people fall into the low-income category: according to official statistics, in the middle 2000s, the number of people living on less than the minimum subsistence budget is still considerable, exceeding 1.7 million or 17.8% of total population. As in other CIS countries, in Belarus the rural population, children, and single-parent households run the highest risk of poverty.

The challenge is how to turn the nation’s high rate of economic growth into a sustainable reality while lifting the low-income category of people into middle-high income categories. This is particularly significant in view of the upcoming industrial and agricultural reforms.

UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare launched the first poverty-related project as a first stage in the development of a National Strategy for Poverty Prevention and Reduction. To date, the project, in cooperation with a World Bank team of experts, has produced a comprehensive analysis of poverty, identified target groups, and proposed measures for pro-poor policy adjustments.

The project also facilitates dialogue and partnerships among government agencies, NGOs, the parliament, research institutions, and the general public in addressing the project’s findings and recommendations.


UNDP in Belarus has been promoting the development of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) since 1997. Initial UNDP efforts succeeded in the creation of the first business incubators and credit unions, as well as in introducing microfinance as a new mechanism to support micro-business and individual entrepreneurs. A second generation of SME-support activities sought to facilitate public-private dialogue and partnerships by bringing together government, business associations, and international organizations, including the World Bank and the IFC, to promote an environment conducive to the development of the private sector.

A hot line on rural business issues was set up in Minsk under the framework of the project “Promoting Enterprise Activity through Public-Private Partnership”. In the village of Komarovo (Minsk region), a Rural Business Development Center was opened. The object of the Center is to provide legal support for preparing a package of documents required for registration of small enterprises, to conduct market surveys, to facilitate job creation and to disseminate best practices in other regions. One of the top priorities is to attract investments for a number of farms which were set up after the «Konstantinovo» collective farm had been closed down.


Through its flagship publication, the Human Development Report, which is widely disseminated and discussed in Belarus, UNDP spurs policy debates on pressing development issues. Since 1995 the UNDP has supported the preparation of National Human Development Reports (NHDRs) in Belarus, which review and analyze the nation’s development policies and highlight the key problem areas that need to be addressed. The NHDRs are broadly publicized and distributed to policy makers, the academia, aid agencies. The most recent NHDR for 2004/2005 focused on development imbalances.


There are more than 2,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Belarus, which enable people to play a greater role in making decisions and taking actions that affect their daily lives. UNDP is working to increase the buoyancy of the “third sector”, by helping NGOs establish and expand their international contacts, exchange information, to train staff and train others – in short to build their capacities furthermore. NGOs are involved to varying degrees in the implementation of UNDP projects in virtually all areas – either as an implementing agency or a cooperating partner.


The Information Portal of the Belarusian Non-Governmental Associations WWW.NGO.BY is one of the main achievements of the UNDP project on civil society development. The Portal provides information services to non-governmental associations through Internet.

On-going Projects:

00076939 Introducing the Stop TB Strategy in Belarus with a particular focus on taking measures to combat multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)

00057626 Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise

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United Nations Development Programme is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.


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