Belarusian towns to receive assistance in green urban development


Ten Belarusian towns will be provided support as they prepare their plans on green urban planning, sustainable energy development and urban mobility for subsequent replication in other places in Belarus, UNDP/GEF project manager Green Cities Irina Usova said at the international seminar to discuss the development of promising areas in green urban planning in the Republic of Belarus in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

The pilot sites of the project were Polotsk and Novopolotsk, Novogrudok. The idea was to find a solution to the issues of energy efficient street lighting system and ecologically sustainable transportation infrastructure in small and medium-sized cities. The first component is more theoretical and educational as to what a green city is. Others are practical, namely the implementation of infrastructure projects. “We will replicate the experience accumulated during this project in other cities of Belarus. We will hold seminars and will support another 10 cities in their efforts to go green in urban planning,” Irina Usova noted.

Plans have been made to support the development of the concept “Brest is a Smart City” and develop a green urban planning website for the replication of best practices and concepts. Thus an integrated approach to urban design will be applied. One of the main goals of the project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the results in pilot cities, this volume is expected ti decrease by 91,100 tonnes in the aggregate.

The active phase of the project includes information campaigns and educational meetings. The national legal framework is studied to produce corresponding recommendations. A sustainable urban mobility plan will be developed for Polotsk and Novopolotsk. Construction will be launched in mid-2018 or 2019. A tender to purchase energy efficient equipment for Novopolotsk street lighting system will be held next year.

The international seminar, which is running in Minsk on 5-6 December, will present the intermediate results of the Green Cities project and coordinate further actions to promote green city development in Belarus. The themes of urban sustainable development, introduction of green economy principles are among the government's priorities and are included in the majority of national plans and strategies, and in particular, in the National Sustainable Development Strategy for 2030.

The Green Cities project is financed by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the UN Development Program in cooperation with the Belarusian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The project is aimed at developing green city planning and implementing pilot initiatives on sustainable transport in Polotsk and Novopolotsk and enhancing energy efficiency in Novogrudok. The project with the budget of €3 million is designed to run until 2021.