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  UNDP > UNDP News > in Belarus

First Aaurhus Center to Open in Hrodna

The regional Aarhus Center is to be established in the city of Hrodna within the framework of the joint project of the European Union and the UN Development Programme “Support to the development of a comprehensive framework for international environmental cooperation in the Republic of Belarus” (“Ecopartnership”). The Center is expected to help people to get an improved access to environmental information, to offer legal advice, to inform about the provisions of the Aarhus Convention and to involve the public and the student community in decision-making on environmental matters at the regional level.

In December 2011 the EU/UNDP “Ecopartnership” project (its implementing agency is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus) evaluated the results of the contest among three regions (the Brest Region, the Hrodna Region and the Viciebsk Region) to select the location of the Center. The contest involved the Hrodna Regional Committee of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the Viciebsk State University named after Piotr M. Masherov, the Public Regional Association for Organization of Out-of-School Work with Children and Adolescents (Viciebsk) and the National Nature Reserve “Prybuzhskaie Palesse” (Brest).

The applications were evaluated by the officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and national and international consultants of the EU/UNDP project with a particular focus on the available material and technical resources, the applicants’ activity on provision of environmental information to the public, international cooperation and capacity for sustainable operation of the Center after completion of the EU/UNDP project.

The Hrodna Regional Committee of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection became the winner of the contest. The Committee has extensive experience of collaboration with the government authorities, environmental non-governmental organizations and education establishments. The Committee has been successfully participating in environmental projects and is involved in the activities aimed at reducing air emissions. On a regular basis the Committee hosts local and international workshops and conferences. Currently, its officials are partly involved in provision of legal advice in accordance with the provisions of the Aarhus Convention. The establishment of the Aarhus Center will create additional incentives for the Committee to develop and to implement new environmental protection projects.

To arrange operation of the new Center, it is expected to hire and to train staff both in Belarus and in foreign countries, to refurbish premises, to procure the required equipment and to create the thematic library. A particular focus of the “Ecopartnership” project is the establishment of partner relations with the interested non-governmental organizations and international donors to ensure sustainable operation of the Center after completion of the project.

Successful experience of the Center is expected to be replicated in the Brest and the Viciebsk regions.

For reference: The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, usually known as the Aarhus Convention, was signed under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council at IV Conference of the Environmental Policy Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe on 23-25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus. The Aarhus Convention was signed by the Republic of Belarus and approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus on 14 December 1999.

At present Belarus has the Minsk-based Aarhus Center which was opened on 30 December 2005 within the framework of the joint project of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and OSCE to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention.


For further information, please contact: Alena Sedach, PR Specialist of the “Ecopartnership” project, tel. +375 17 267-20-21, +375 044 786-55-56, e-mail: .

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