CLIMATE ADAPTATION AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN BELARUS

 

Belarus July 2016 Belarus Ecoproject Aug 2016

The international seminar “Development and implementation of local climate adaptation strategies” was organized in Minsk, Belarus on 22nd of July. The seminar was organised by the “EKAPRAEKT” (REALS project partner) and the Belarusian Red Cross and supported by the REALS and Climate Forum East projects.
The central discussion point of the seminar was the experience of the “Local climate” project developing pilot adaptation strategies for two rural and one urban municipalities in Belarus (supported by the Climate Forum East). However, the issues addressed during the seminar opened up the ground for broader discussions. The seminar was amongst the first events in Belarus addressing multi-level complexity of designing local adaptation strategies. The main messages include:
– Developing local adaptation strategies is timely and important issue in Belarus;
– EU experience shows that at the local and regional levels communities, municipalities and their networks often demonstrate more active attitude and more effective actions than at the national level, because they are facing more evident impacts of climate change and need to adapt. In Belarus we need to use this experience and create conditions to support initiatives at the local level;
– Development of the first adaptation strategies is an experiment, the result could be used for further development of guidelines for local administration and legal grounds at the national level;
– Convent of Mayors, international regional and community development projects and other initiatives have to be used for mainstreaming of climate adaptation issues for regional development programmes.

In the current absence of national adaptation policy, special emphasis was placed on the integration of adaptation actions into local development plans, and on supporting multi-level stakeholder cooperation. Three communities involved in the “Local climate” project got a chance to present and discuss local initiatives in climate adaptation including development of green networks, school monitoring of local climate, strengthening local system of emergency warnings.

In the “EKAPRAEKT”, we were thinking about organising such event for a long time and now happy it took place, thanks to the mutual support by the REALS and Climate Forum East projects. We managed to bring together really diverse group of presenters and participants including representatives of Belarusian national ministries, local administrations, international (EU) experts, our colleagues from Ukraine and Moldova, national research organizations, education and public.

Many thanks to all participants, and funding agencies – Swedish Institute (REALS), EU, Austrian Agency for Development and Cooperation and Austrian Red Cross (Climate Forum East). And personal thanks for Emilia Rekestad and Kicki Bobacka for supporting the initiative.

Here is an article from the event: http://greenbelarus.info/articles/26-07-2016/izmenenie-klimata-v-belarusskoy-glubinke-regiony-adaptiruyutsya-po

More seminar materials are available in Russian, please let us know if you are interested.