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The EaP GREEN activities in Belarus are implemented in close cooperation with the ENVSEC Project “Managing Environment and Security Risks with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)”. Between 2013 – 2014 the activities of the project were focused on building administrative capacity and enhancing legal and institutional development for applying both SEA and transboundary EIA procedures to projects and plans subject to environment and security challenges in Belarus. The activities are jointly implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

With help from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECEF), Belarus is currently assessing its legislation with a view to implementing the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (Espoo Convention) and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Protocol on SEA). Belarus is already a Party to the Espoo Convention, but has not yet join the Protocol.

In the framework of the project the following activities were or are to be implemented in close collaboration with the national authorities of Belarus and in consultation with the public:

  • The technical assistance on SEA, including review of the national legislation vis-à-vis the requirements of the UNECE Protocol on SEA and development of the new law and secondary legislation that sets national legislative framework for SEA;
  • Capacity building on SEA including:

  • Joint pilot project between Belarus and Ukraine on post-project analysis of the exploitation of the Khotislavskoye quarry.

The review of the current legislation in Belarus was prepared by an international consultant in close collaboration with a national consultant nominated by Belarus. The results of the review were presented and discussed with national stakeholders during a national level round table consultation meeting on 5 September 2013. The final draft review was prepared based on comments received during and after the meeting.

Based on the results of the review Belarus with the support of the EaP GREEN was drafting the new law on environmental expertise, SEA and EIA, from December 2014 to December 2015. The Law came into force in July 2016. However, due to the national legislative technique the Law still has some significant gaps vis-à-vis the provisions of the UNECE Protocol on SEA and the Espoo Convention. Belarus intends to address these gaps with the assistance of EaP GREEN through the secondary legislation that would be fully compliant with the above documents. To this end, the Ministry will establish a drafting group that – with the support of the UNECE secretariat and the international consultants – will develop a draft secondary legislation (January - April 2017).

Further, Belarus has requested the assistance of EaP GREEN in preparing the guidance document on practical application of SEA for a specific sector (tentatively for urban development) and organising a national level training workshop for sectoral authorities. These activities are scheduled to take place from February to May 2017.

Besides facilitating development of the national SEA system, UNECE in collaboration with UNEP and UNDP supported implementation of a joint pilot project between Belarus and Ukraine on post-project analysis of the exploitation of the Khotislavskoye quarry in 2013 – 2014. The following results were achieved during the pilot project:

(a) a bilateral Working Group for the environmental monitoring of the Khotislavskoye quarry was established and dialogue between experts of Belarus and Ukraine was initiated;
(b) data on the Khotislavskoye quarry was collected and analysed, and
(c) recommendations for improving the transboundary EIA procedure and post-project analysis in Belarus and Ukraine were prepared by the international and national experts on EIA.

The report by a bilateral Working Group, as well as the draft recommendations on improving post-project analysis were discussed at a meeting of a task force, consisting of national authorities of both countries, in Minsk on 17 December 2013. The public had the opportunity to provide comments during a public participation workshop held on 21 February 2014 in Malorita. The evaluation of the pilot project, including the recommendations, was finalized based on comments received during and after the final conference in April 2014.

The post-project analysis reconditions proved useful during the negotiations of the bilateral agreement on transboundary EIA between Poland and Belarus (September, 2016) that were also supported by the EaP GREEN.

Besides national activities, representatives of Belarus had an opportunity to participate in the regional events. In December 2014 five national experts took part in the in the Study Tour on Sharing Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA. National experts learned about the Czech SEA system by discussing challenges and success factors.

In November 2015, four national experts also benefited from other EaP GREEN regional experience sharing events, including the regional conference for exchange experiences on improving legal and institutional frameworks for application of EIA and SEA in the participating countries and the SEA train-the-trainers workshop. The participants of the training are supposed to take further lead in SEA development in the country – mainly to provide training to the national stakeholders and to carry out SEAs with the minimum involvement of the international experts.

Representatives of Belarus will also have opportunity to attend the final sub-regional conference on lessons learned from the developments of the SEA systems in the EaP countries, which shall be organized in September 2017.

The EaP GREEN programme aims to help the Government of Belarus establish an integrated policy framework for the transition to a green economy through reforming policy instruments, adopting new analytical tools, improving access to finance, supporting capacity development, and rolling out pilot projects in the public and private sectors.