Euro 21m grant for Belarus environmental infrastructure projects

The Republic of Belarus will receive a grant of over Euro 21 million for the implementation of the project “Belarus: Environmental Infrastructure Project – First Stage”. The relevant agreements were signed in the Housing and Utilities Ministry of Belarus on 26 March. Attending the ceremony were representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP).

Gratuitous international technical aid of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), a grant of the Government of Finland to the total tune of more than €21 million will be used to work our water canal development programs, assist in procurement and monitor implementation of projects.

Besides, in line with the draft credit agreement the EBRD will provide Belarus with €18.255 million, NIB is expected to allocate up to €25 million. The loans will be used to implement environmental infrastructure projects that include reconstruction of water and wastewater treatment facilities in Vitebsk, Brest, Grodno and installation of biogas equipment at the facilities of Baranovichi and Slonim. 

Housing and Utilities Minister of Belarus Andrei Shorets noted during the signing ceremony that over few past years the sides had paved the path towards the conclusion of these agreements, defined terms and the order of loan allocation. “On 10 December 2012 Belarus signed loan agreements with the EBRD and NIB. All the relevant documents have been prepared and submitted to the Belarusian government. We hope that at the spring session the parliament will ratify all of them to give green light for the implementation of these projects,” he said.

On 26 March a subloan agreement was signed between the Government of Belarus and a number of Belarusian water treatment facilities where the abovementioned projects are to be implemented as well as draft agreements between the banks, water treatment facilities and local authorities. “I would like to confirm Belarus’ interest in the implementation of these projects and assure that we will do our level best to have these projects implemented promptly and at a high organizational and technical level,” Andrei Shorets stressed. 

First Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Alexander Mikhnevich, one of the originators of this cooperation, stated that it is necessary to launch the implementation of the projects as soon as possible as well as think over new projects. “We have developed a necessary negotiation platform, and we have already gained some valuable experience,” he said. Alexander Mikhnevich also stressed: “This is a new source for investment in the Belarusian economy. We should take the best of it.” 

Head of the EBRD Office in Minsk Francis Delay noted in his speech that the signing of the agreements made a necessary step towards the implementation of the projects. In his words, the project is a bright example of how Belarus and the European community can jointly achieve significant results and work for the benefit of the Belarusian people and environment. “We have attracted some €65 million in loans and grants to provide assistance to five city halls of Belarus to reduce emissions and enhance the quality of sewage water treatment,” he said.

The signing of these documents is an important step in the development of cooperation with the European Union in environmental protection.

Partaking in the signing ceremony was Head of the Office of the Embassy of Finland in Belarus Ilkka Rasanen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Poland to BelarusLeszek Szerepka, Plenipotentiary Minister of the Embassy of Lithuania to Belarus Gintautas Vasijulis and others.


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