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25 January 2023, 18:00

Bill on environmental protection passes first reading in Belarus

An archive photo
An archive photo

MINSK, 25 January (BelTA) – The bill on amending the law of the Republic of Belarus “On environmental protection” passed the first reading at the meeting of the ninth session of the House of Representatives of the seventh convocation on 25 January, BelTA has learned.

The bill was submitted to the House of Representatives by the Council of Ministers. Amendments to the law “On environmental protection” were prompted by the need to bring its provisions into line with the constitutional amendments and other legislative acts and international treaties of the Republic of Belarus. The amendment also seek to improve the individual provisions of the law taking into account law enforcement practices. The new edition of the law was presented: its structure was streamlined to make it more convenient.

“In accordance with the Constitution, everyone has the right to a healthy environment and the right to be reimbursed for the harm caused by the violation of this right,” said Valentina Begeba, Deputy Chair of the Standing Commission on Environment, Natural Resources and Chernobyl Catastrophe of the House of Representatives. “Environmentally friendly attitudes and behaviors are essential for environmental conservation and should be a must. This matter is laid down in the bill,” she said.

The new wording of the preamble suggested by the bill includes provisions of the Constitution on compensation for the harm caused by violation of the right to a healthy environment. For the purpose of uniformity and unambiguity of the terminology used in the environmental legislation, the definitions of a number of terms were specified and new ones were introduced. The bill defines the terms ‘green economy', ‘low-carbon economy', ‘ecosystem services'. Given that the amount of waste created by human activity is constantly growing and its impact on the environment is increasing, the term ‘waste pollution' was introduced; the definitions of the terms ‘environmental pollution' and ‘environmental damage' were adjusted.

The principles and areas of focus of the environmental protection policy will be supplemented by the following provisions: economic assessment of ecosystem services; stimulation of the use of the best available techniques, resource-saving technologies and practices, the transition to a green, low-carbon economy; economic incentives for a low-carbon economy; restricted use of non-recyclable substances and materials in manufacturing.

In order to preserve the sustainability of ecological systems, the principle of an ecosystem approach will be introduced. It will enable a comprehensive approach to addressing environmental protection issues. Currently, the economic assessment of ecosystem services is one of the topical areas of the environmental protection policy. This assessment helps build a better understanding of ecological and economic value of ecological systems and their contribution to the national wealth. The economic assessment of ecosystem services helps weigh up the economic feasibility of intervention that leads to a change in the state of ecological systems. The terms and procedures for conducting an economic assessment of ecosystem services will be established by the Council of Ministers.

The bill offers a vision for the development of the green economy that is seen as a key element of sustainable development. The document introduces incentives for promoting the green economy and for creating an enabling environment for the formation of a circular economy. This envisages replacement of non-renewable natural resources with renewable ones, as well as resource and energy conservation, improvement of waste management practices. The ultimate goal of the efforts is to reduce the burden on the environment.

Economic mechanisms of environmental protection include economic incentives, including the use of the best available techniques, resource-saving technologies and practices, and green procurement.

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