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 MDGs in Belarus 

Goal 1. ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER

Belarus has fully implemented the target "to reduce, by more than three times, the share of population living below the national poverty line between 2000–2015". In 2000, over 40% of the Indicators population (41.9%) were living below the poverty line. Since 2001 the situation has dramatically changed. In 2009, the share of individuals with available resouces per capita below the minimum subsistence level dropped from 41,9% to 5.4%, or by 7.8 times. In 2009, only 0.1% of the Belarusian population had incomes below 4 PPP2 US Dollars per day.

From 2000 to 2009, the share of poor households dropped by over 11 times in urban areas and by 7.4 times in rural areas, including by over 30 times in Minsk. There has been a significant reduction in poverty rates among households with children below 18 years.

Goal 2. ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION

Belarus is on track towards achieving universal general secondary education by 2015, implying a minimum of 11 years of schooling. Belarus has maintained a high literacy rate at age 15 - 24 (99.8%), and a high total enrolment ratio of 95.7% as of 2009. Full enrolment of boys and girls in primary education (grades 1–4) has also been sustained. Belarus has thus fully achieved MGD 2.

Goal 3. PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN

Policies to provide equal opportunities for men and women should necessarily increase the role of women in policy and decision-making and, more generally, in public and social life. Significant progress has already been achieved in this area. From 2000 to 2009, the proportion of seats in the national parliament held by women increased from 13.5% to 32.9%. In the general elections of Autumn 2008, women won 54 seats in the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus (32.1%), including 19 seats in the Council of Republic (32.8%), and 35 seats in the House of Representatives (32.8% of the total number of seats in the house, up from 4.5% in 2000). In the local legislatures (the local Council of Deputies), women were holding 45.5% of the seats, as of 2010.

Goal 4. REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY

A gradual decline in the under-five mortality rate was observed in 2001-2009, from 11.6 to 6.2 per 1000 live births. However, regional differences tend to remain. Above-average under-five mortality rates were recorded in Homiel (7.7 under-five deaths per 1000 live births), and Brest Oblasts (7.2 per 1000). The under-five mortality rate in rural areas is 1.6 times higher than in cities.

In sum, Belarus has succeeded in halving the underfive mortality rate between 2000 and 2015. The global target – halving under-five mortality between 1990 and 2015 – has been achieved by 89%.

Goal 5. IMPROVE MATERNAL HEALTH

Belarus is a country with a low maternal mortality ratio. By 2009, maternal mortality rate had declined to 1 per 100,000 live births, approaching the average for the industrialized nations. Belarus has thus achieved the relevant MDG and met the WHO target for the European region.

Goal 6. COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES

The main trends determining the course of the HIV epidemic in Belarus include: rising HIV prevalence; accelerated HIV transmission among young adults aged 15-29 (representing 66.8% of all HIV cases), sexual contact replacing injection drug use as the main mode of HIV transmission; rapid spread of the epidemic beyond the original risk groups; rising HIV prevalence in rural areas, and lastly, growing number of AIDS cases and AIDS-related deaths. Target on halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly among the risk groups still remains to be achieved, and further actions are needed to strengthen the national response to the epidemic.

In Belarus, tuberculosis remains highly prevalent, and constitutes a major threat to public health and a significant burden on the economy. Recently, however, signs of improvement have emerged, attributable in large part to consistent state policies on tuberculosis prevention and treatment. In 2001-2009, tuberculosis prevalence rate decreased by 32.8%, from 201 to 135 cases per 100,000, and mortality from tuberculosis declined by 2.4%, from 8.3 to 8.1 cases per 100,000 population.

The UN Development Programme acted as the primary recipient of two grants from the GFATM. One addressed prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and the other of Tuberculosis.

Goal 7. ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Improving the state of the environment and sustainable resource management are key long-term priorities for national environmental policy. In 2004, the Council of Ministers of Belarus approved a National Strategy for Sustainable Socio-economic Development up until 2020 (prepared with the UNDP support), which calls for proactive environmental policies to ensure sustainable management of natural resources, protection of the natural environment and environmental health, improved quality of life, preservation of biodiversity and sustainability of the biosphere. The National Action Plan on Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Environmental Protection for 2006-2010 was approved with the Presidential Edict. To support this action plan, the Council of Ministers enacted in 2008 a National Programme on Mitigating Climate Change for 2008-2012.

Belarus is also implementing policies to reduce the human impact on the natural systems and implement resource and energy efficient technologies. In accordance with international treaties and the national legislation, Belarus is taking steps to make its economy more environmentally friendly, including by reducing environmental pollution and water usage, improving soil fertility, promoting resource efficiency, encouraging forest regeneration and sustainable forestry, reducing waste generation and supporting waste recycling, and preventing radioactive contamination of the territory. The overall result of such work is the gradual reduction in the extent of human impact on the natural environment.

Goal 8. DEVELOP A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT

In 2001–2009, the number of mobile phone users grew by 71.4 times, from 1.4 per 100 population. Policies have emphasised, inter alia, development of the infrastructure for broadband Internet access. The number of Internet hosts grew by 10.8 times in 2001-2009, from 4.2 to 45.9 per 100 population. Continued development of ICTs should lead to further improvements in the standards of living and economic productivity, and contribute to progress in the socio-political and cultural spheres.

UNDP projects in Belarus are aimed at assisting the country in achieving MDGs. A sample of just a few of them includes:

 Goal 1. ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER

Assisting in Elaborating the Basic Foundation for a National Poverty Reduction Strategy in the Republic of Belarus

The project aimed at assisting Belarus in elaborating the basic foundations for a National Poverty Reduction Strategy envisaged for implementation till 2020. Researches conducted by the project were aimed at elaborating the main parts of this document. In particular, the research assessed the country’s macroeconomic policy, the financing of the social sphere, the national taxation system, the development of small business, gender and ecological aspects of poverty, etc. More than 60 national experts engaged in over 40 researches were involved in the project implementation process.

The number of researches conducted jointly with the Ministry of Statistics and Analysis resulted in the submission of a “Comprehensive Evaluation of Poverty in the Republic of Belarus” to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and the Council of Ministers. In cooperation with the mentioned ministries the project elaborated and published a statistical collection “The Social and Living Conditions of the Population of Belarus”. The computer program “Poverty Mapping in Belarus” was further developed. This program is the first step towards developing a special system of poverty monitoring in the regional context.

Similar to many economies in transition, rural communities in Belarus face the higher risk of poverty. The project conducted an outreach seminar for local communities in the Rossony district of the Vitebsk region. The discussion focused on the opportunities for rural poverty reduction through creation of new jobs in the sphere of agro-tourism. The activity allowed the local people to familiarize themselves with the Belarus legislation on rural tourism development, discuss the opportunities for utilizing microcrediting as a tool for promoting rural business and receive specific advice.

UNDP Belarus (with support from UNICEF) organized a debate on the ways to integrate country-specific targets and indicators into national planning frameworks within a sub-regional conference "Achieving the Millennium Development Goal 1: Approaches and Strategies".

 Goal 3. PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN

Support to Expanding Public Space for Women in Belarus

This 3-year project was aimed at removing the glass ceiling and expanding public space for women through special education programme and training courses on leadership, as well as at enhancing women’s impact on the legislative process. So far, more than 500 women received training that increased their ability to participate in decision-making in different areas of political and public life.

A concept of the Law on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women has been produced on the basis of project research and analytical papers. The project empowered journalists from printed and electronic media to notice and openly discuss discrimination of women. Politicians and regional government officials have been sensitised to gender inequality, while NGO leaders have helped bring the problem to the attention of the general public.

The actors and participants involved in the project actively cooperated with lawmakers and law drafters. This process revealed the need for significant improvements in the national legal framework. As a result, the project experts have come up with specific recommendations for the improvement of the 2006-2010 National Plan of Action on Gender Equality in Belarus.

 Goal 6. COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES

Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Belarus

Since 2004, UNDP and the Belarusian Ministry of Health have implemented the joint project on HIV prevention and treatment, funded by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Providing HIV-infected people with access to up-to-date diagnostics and treatment is the most important outcome of the project realization. Due to the project, the national healthcare system needs in antiretroviral medicines for HIV/AIDS treatment have been fully met; advanced laboratory equipment for diagnosing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections as well as medicines for opportunistic infections for people living with HIV/AIDS and means of medical personnel protection from HIV professional infection have been purchased.

The project supported the activities of 56 confidential counseling points for intravenous drug users operating in all regions of Belarus. More than 800 volunteers were trained to deal with HIV prevention among prisoners employing «peer education» techniques. The project has organized training 100 medical doctors on antiretroviral therapy, care and support for HIV-infected patients. To reduce the risk of transmission of HIV to infants through breastfeeding, milk blends for replacement feeding of babies born by HIV-positive mothers were purchased and distributed for free. Resource Centre on HIV/AIDS were set up in Minsk and regional centres to improve information and education on HIV prevention among the population and young people in particular.

The Project has provided a meaningful support to the Belarusian Ministry of Health in establishing a uniform national system for HIV/AIDS monitoring and evaluation. The system allows for the most advanced monitoring of HIV/AIDS based on the use of information technologies.

Support of the National Programme “Tuberculosis” in the Republic of Belarus

T
he Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNDP and the Government of Belarus signed the agreement in accordance with which Belarus receives a grant for US$ 14.2 million to fight tuberculosis. The grant will be used for creation of an advanced system of diagnostics and registration of detected incidents of tuberculosis, and for establishment of a national reference-laboratory to conduct quality and efficient TB diagnosing. The TB-project envisages training of over 2,500 medical personnel engaged in anti-TB service, sisters of mercy of the Red Cross, lab-assistants, and medical staff of the penitentiary system in application of advanced methods of diagnostics, treatment and care of TB-diseased. The project will provide an opportunity for more than 7,000 people (civil healthcare patients and inmates of correctional institutions of Belarus) to undergo treatment with up-to-date first line anti-TB drugs. It is quite a comprehensive project and its main impact will be shown in reduced TB mortality and improved TB treatment in Belarus.

 Goal 7. ENSURING ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Environmental Sustainability received a boost as a result of Belarus’ decision to join the Kyoto Protocol. This was the result of a national process supported by the UNDP and the World Bank through a UNDP project "Feasibility Study on Opportunities for Belarus to Join the Kyoto Protocol", a World Bank’s grant for the abatement of greenhouse gas emission and a UNDP-sponsored drafting of national regulations.

Renaturalization and Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Belarus to Combat Land Degradation, Ensure Conservation of Globally Valuable Biodiversity, and Mitigate Climate Change

UNDP has developed a project for grant financing from the Global Environment Facility for renaturalization and sustainable management of peatlands in Belarus to mitigate climate change, combat land degradation and ensure conservation of globally valuable biodiversity. The five-year project was launched in 2005. In 2006-2009, engineering and construction activities have been completed at 12 project sites with a total restored area of 25,717 hectares. Construction of water regulation facilities, fire preventing channels and ponds will help decrease the risk of peatlands fires, reduce CO2 emissions, restore habitat for globally valuable flora and fauna species and solve significant ecological problems.

Catalyzing sustainability of the wetland protected area system in Belarusian Polesie through increased management efficiency and realigned land use practices

The project aims to create a favorable environment for the wetland protected areas in Belarusian Polesie – an important environmental corridor for flora and fauna. Over five years, pilot programmes for biodiversity conservation are to be run at four national wetland reserves: “Mid-Pripyat”, “Sporovsky”, “Zvanetz” and “Prostyr” (located in the Brest and Gomel regions). Biodiversity is to be linked into economic activities around the reserves; this should significantly strengthen the whole system of protection for these areas – 60-75% of which share similar concerns. National legislation and land-tenure practice are to be improved through the project; in particular, correct methods of forestry and agriculture management should be ensured.

A web version of the Belarusian Red Data Book of endangered species has been created under the project. It provides information on species most at risk of extinction. The website should prove useful to biologists, ecologists, environmental protection officers and those involved in land-tenure, hunting, forestry and agriculture. Instructors, students, pupils and nature lovers are sure to find it of great interest.

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 Posters on MDGs prepared by the UNDP Office in Belarus

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