MINSK, 2 February (BelTA) – Since 1999 Belarus' Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the UNDP have implemented a number of peatland rehabilitation projects worth about $10 million, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Sanaka Samarasinha said before the presentation of the National Strategy for Conservation and Rational (Sustainable) Use of Peatlands on 2 February, BelTA has learned.
"The United Nations Development Program has been working with Belarus in this area since 1999. We have been actively developing the projects that aim to rehabilitate and conserve the wetlands and peatlands in Belarus. Jointly with Belarus' Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection we have implemented projects with the total budget of about $10 million,” said Sanaka Samarasinha.
According to him, all these projects were aimed at re-swamping, rehabilitating and maintaining peatlands.
Sanaka Samarasinha stressed that he is very proud that Belarus was the first country among the CIS countries to adopt such a strategy and that the UNDP is part of this process. I personally visited many regions of Belarus which are home to peatlands. Their examples show that residents of Belarus and other countries can enjoy all the benefits of peatlands and that there is no need to destroy them and harm the nature, he stated.
The National Strategy for Conservation and Rational (Sustainable) Use of Peatlands was approved by a resolution of the Council of Ministers on 30 December 2015. The basic principle of sustainable development of peatlands is that all natural peatlands (total area of 863,000 hectares) are subject to protection. Economic activity can be carried out only on the peatlands previously drained and inefficiently used. In addition, the degraded peatlands are subject to rehabilitation. The successful implementation of the strategy will allow Belarus to keep 684,000 hectares of wetlands in their natural state by 2030, restore at least 75,000 hectares of degraded peatlands, preserve more than 7 billion m3 of freshwater, and prevent about 500 million tonnes of carbon from getting into the atmosphere.