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26 May 2022, 18:00

Belarus hopes for UNEP's active involvement in Poland's fence construction issue

MINSK, 26 May (BelTA) - Belarus counts on a more active participation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in the elimination of negative effects from Poland's construction of a fence on the border with Belarus, Ambassador of Belarus to Kenya, Belarus' Permanent Representative to UNEP Pavel Vzyatkin said in his speech at a regular meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UNEP at the UN headquarters in Nairobi, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The representative of Belarus drew attention to specific problems of a particular country and region that fall within the mandate of UNEP and require efforts, attention and specific solutions. One of such problems, according to him, is the construction of a 5-meter-high and 200km long fence by Poland on the Polish-Belarusian border, including on the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Such activity is illegal both from the point of view of the European and universal legal documents and in accordance with the bilateral agreements. The construction of the fence is a factor that holds back the solution to the problems of climate change, biodiversity and pollution. Belarus forecasts inevitability of a number of negative consequences for the ecosystems of these trans-boundary objects,” Pavel Vzyatkin stressed. Thus, there are already numerous facts of death of animals, including those included in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, that tried to pass through the barbed-wire fence.

Besides, the construction of the border fence may affect the level of ground waters on the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This can result in the loss of certain species of plants and trees, bogs, which serve as a habitat for rare species of birds. “The reasons why Poland is implementing the project are far-fetched and have no grounds,” the representative of Belarus said.

According to him, since October 2021 Belarus has had to draw the attention of specialized international agencies to the devastating consequences for the ecosystem by the actions of neighboring countries in an attempt to install border barriers. Among others, Belarus has also turned to UNEP for assistance in solving the matter. “We are grateful to the UNEP executive director for his constructive response to the appeal of the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs and the instructions to the UNEP Regional Office for Europe. However, there has been no progress in solving the issue so far. Once again I would like to draw attention to the negative consequences of such actions for the ecosystem and biodiversity of the region more than to the contruction of the fence by Poland. We look forward to more active participation of UNEP in resolving this issue. This case is a good opportunity to join efforts and demonstrate in practice a real concern for the environment,” said Pavel Vzyatkin.

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