EU, UNDP to help Belarus improve water legislation

MINSK. March 27. KAZINFORM Experts of the European Union and the UNDP will assist Belarus in improvement of water legislation, First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vitaly Kulik said at the roundtable "Water resources management and assessment of surface water quality in Belarus and the European Union", according to BelTA.

"Approximation of legislation with the European Union is our strategic choice," the First Deputy Minister said. This is the goal of the joint project. "We are starting the first phase of the project, which involves the approximation of laws in water management," he explained. Belarusian experts together with international specialists are planning to perform a comparative analysis of national legislation and regulations in the field of water resources management. They will draw up proposals for the improvement of the legal and procedural framework of Belarus in accordance with modern principles, and will prepare technical normative legal acts regulating water quality monitoring, etc.

Belarus plans to study the experience of one or two countries of the European Union in the field of implementation of principles in the development of river basin management plans.

International experts will provide advisory support to Belarus in the preparation of a draft new edition of the water code, Vitaly Kulik said in an interview with BelTA. By working in this direction with the European Union, Belarus will coordinate its steps with our partners in the Customs Union.

The official stressed that Belarus does its best to expand partnership with international organizations in nature protection. The country has developed close ties with the UNDP and the Global Environmental Facility. "We have a good portfolio of projects of international technical assistance (nearly $30 million) up to 2015," he said.

Relations are also developed with the World Bank which supports waste treatment projects. The organization has recently issued a $5.5 million grant for these purposes.

When asked about the influence of the current relations between the European Union and Belarus on environmental projects, Vitaly Kulik stressed: "Ecology knows no boundaries, and if any EU country has environmental problems, it leaves its impact on Belarus and vice versa. We continue to develop our relations with European partners in the environment, although there are attempts by some politicians to influence these matters, but we actively explain why these attempts are futile."

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