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Ecological labels as one of the ways to protect the environment

A roundtable “Ecological labeling in Belarus and in foreign countries” was organized on 20 March in Minsk by the European Union/UN Development Programme’s project “Support to the development of a comprehensive framework for international environmental cooperation in the Republic of Belarus”. The national implementing agency of the project is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. One of the focuses of the joint project is a review of the most successful practices of using ecological labels in the European Union and subsequent elaboration of the required regulatory framework in Belarus.

The event was attended by more than 50 interested specialists including representatives of UNDP, EU, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, diplomatic missions, commercial companies, non-governmental organizations and mass media.

During the roundtable local experts made an overview of the situation with ecological labels in Belarus and presented the first results of the EU/UNDP project activities carried out by the national and international experts. The participants could get acquainted with the best practice of using ecological labels within the territory of the European Union in general and, particularly, in Germany and Lithuania, the experience of awarding the ecological labels which are put on products and packages.

Positive trends of using ecological labels are currently reported in the EU. Between 1996 and 2012 the number of enterprises which obtained licenses for the use of the EU eco-labels rose from 6 to 1152.

In the current economic environment the use of new methods of environmental protection is of particular relevance. Though there is a practice of labeling food products with a sign “natural product” in Belarus, the country does not have a unified approach to labeling non-food products and packages.

– Processing companies in Belarus are facing the problem that there is no information (respective label) on packages. It is known which type of plastic was used for production of a package and, therefore, we cannot arrange a waste recycling process, – emphasized Galina Volchuga, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

In that context until end-2012 the efforts of the project and its counterparts will focus on the elaboration of recommendations for the improvement of the current regulatory framework concerning ecological labeling. Subsequently, it is expected to teach a producer how to use an ecological label in an appropriate way and to teach a consumer how to recognize and interpret it. Also, EU/UNDP project plans to launch a large-scale information dissemination campaign intended to raise awareness of an ordinary consumer about ecological labels.

– Joint efforts of UNDP, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, companies and other interested organizations in the coming year will help adopt the practice of ecological labeling and put an environmental compliance label on the Belarusian products, – hopes Antonius Broek, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus.

For further information, please contact Elena Sedach, EU/UNDP Project PR Specialist, telephone: +375 17 267-20-21, +375 044 786-55-56, e-mail: .

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