UNUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Press Release

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Completion of the first Espoo Convention procedure in Belarus

Geneva, 5 November 2010 --

The full procedure of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in a transboundary context according to the Espoo Convention has been applied for the first time in Belarus.

The projected Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Neman River, located 11 kilometers from the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, has been reviewed according to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention), with the involvement of Lithuania’s authorities and the public of both countries. The authorities of Kaliningrad, Russian Federation (a signatory of the Convention), were also invited to participate in the process.

A mid-term workshop will be organized in Minsk by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus on 5 November 2010 to present the results of the assessment of the pilot EIA project as well as a draft manual on the implementation of the Espoo Convention in Belarus. International experts from neighbouring countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) and the Espoo Convention secretariat have been invited to participate at the workshop.

For further information, please visit http://www.unece.org/env/eia/ or contact:

Mr. Nick Bonvoisin
Secretary to the Espoo Convention
UNECE Environment Division
Tel: +41 (0)22 917 1193
E-mail: eia.conv@unece.org

Note to editors

The Convention on EIA in a Transboundary Context, elaborated under the auspices of UNECE was adopted at Espoo (Finland) on 25 February 1991 and entered into force on 10 September 1997. The Convention now has 45 Parties. The Espoo Convention stipulates that its Parties shall assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also obligates States to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across borders.

Belarus became a Party to the Convention in late 2005.

More information about the Convention can be found at http://www.unece.org/env/eia/eia.htm

The pilot project on the application of the Espoo Convention to the Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Neman River is a joint Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative project between UNECE and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with support from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). 

EIA documentation is available at www.ecorazvitie.by, section “News and actions”.

Ref: ECE/ENV/10/P33