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International assistance project on Bug, Neman river basins approved

Society 21.03.2019 | 10:59
Neman River
Neman River

MINSK, 21 March (BelTA) - The validation meeting of the Full-Sized UNDP/GEF-funded Project on “Fostering multi-country cooperation over conjunctive surface and groundwater management in the Bug and Neman Transboundary River Basins and the underlying aquifer systems” took place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on 18-19 March, BelTA learned from the Belarusian embassy in France.

Attending the meeting was a delegation from Belarus led by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to France, Belarus' Permanent Representative to UNESCO Igor Fisenko. The delegation also comprised representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Central Research Institute for Integrated Use of Water Resources, the Research and Production Center for Geology, the Belarusian Permanent Representation to UNESCO. The event chaired by UNESCO Deputy Director General Xing Qu was also attended by delegations from Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, representatives of international organizations taking part in the project: UNESCO, UNDP, UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The project is aimed at a detailed study of the Bug and Neman rivers flowing through the territory of Belarus, their basins, as well as groundwater within the basins of the rivers, and also at the development of mechanisms for sustainable management of water systems. It was decided that the office that will coordinate the implementation of the project will be located in Minsk.

During his speech, Igor Fisenko stated that humankind is currently facing the problem of climate change and the consequences of this phenomenon, as a result of which access to clean drinking water becomes difficult in some regions of the world. Impaired sustainability of transboundary freshwater resources can lead to disruption and even collapse of the entire system of vital activity of the regions. In this regard, Igor Fisenko stressed the importance of coordinated international efforts to understand the mechanisms of functioning of transboundary water systems, and factors affecting their sustainability. This will provide an opportunity to minimize the anthropogenic risks for the sustainability of water systems, which will ensure the sustainable development of countries and entire regions.

The project slated for implementation in 2020-2021 will study the basins of the Bug and Neman in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The total project financing will exceed $12 million. The main recipient of international technical assistance will be Belarus, since it is home to the basins of both rivers covered by the project. Funding will be provided by UNDP, UNECE, UNESCO and GEF, as well as the countries participating in the project.

This UNESCO technical assistance project will be one of the largest projects implemented in Belarus during its 65-year membership in the international organization.

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