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On International Mother Earth Day UNDP Projects Planted Trees and Rescued Amphibia

Two nature conservation events supported by UN/UNDP Office in Belarus were organized on International Mother Earth Day which is celebrated worldwide on 22 April.

Long-lived trees were planted in the Kletsk district of the Minsk Region upon initiative of the Ministry of Forestry of Belarus. The event was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, UN Office staff and representatives of the Kletsk District Executive Committee and the Kletsk Forestry Administration Unit.

English oak and spruce seedlings were planted over the area of one hectare. The event aimed to bring attention of general public to conservation and sustainable management of forests and forest eco-systems in the country. The participants also stressed the importance of building up careful attitude to forests for environmental welfare of future generations. Students of the Zaostrovechsky school forestry who are the winners of many forest management contests actively participated in the event.

– Today’s event is for the sake of future. Oak seedlings need more than 100 years to mature and we are unlikely to enjoy the fruits of our work but the chance has been given to future generations of Belarus’ people. Maybe, these are today’s school students who will come here with their grandchildren, – said Mr. Antonius Broek, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus.

Planting of trees was organized and carried out with support from the International Technical Assistance Project of UNDP/GEF “Catalyzing sustainability of the wetland protected areas system in Belarusian Polesie”.

On the same say an event for amphibia rescue along migration routes was organized in the Domzheritsy village located in the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve. It was a joint effort of UNDP/GEF Project “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Territorial Planning Policies and Practices in Belarus”, the Bio-Resources Center of Belarus’ National Academy of Sciences and the “Triple” Company.

An event had been preceded by a workshop at which Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Anatoly Lis explained that up to 100 percent of migrating amphibian die during seasonal migration across motorways. Vladimir Koltunov, a project manager, said that the project is intended to estimate the numbers and methods of conservation of the Red Book wildlife and plants in ten pilot regions in Belarus. He also noted that the project was happy to participate in the event contributing to preservation of the amphibia population.

The workshop was followed by the action involving more than 50 people including representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Education, Belarus’ National Academy of Sciences, the public organization “APB BirdLife Belarus”, the “Smolenskoie Poozerie” National Park. Three roadside water bodies were created in which amphibia can spawn without the need to cross the motorway. Already laid spawns were carried from the drying water body to a water-filled reservoir.

International Mother Earth Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly at its 63rd Session on April 22, 2009. The Resolution adopted upon the initiative of Bolivia underscores that the Earth and its ecosystems are our home, and in order to strike a fair balance between the economic, social and environmental needs of the current and future generations we have to foster harmony with nature. More than fifty UN member-states coauthored the Resolution, including Belarus.

For more details please contact Alexei Chistodarsky, Information Officer of UNDP/GEF Project “Catalyzing sustainability of the wetland protected areas system in Belarusian Polesie”, contact phone in Minsk (017) 226 59 54, mobile (029) 656 15 30; or Elena Bondarenko, “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Territorial Planning Policies and Practices” Project, tel. (017) 203 57 50.

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