CCB activities in Non-EU Countries – Belarus

CCB has been supporting partners in Belarus to implement projects since 2005, with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida.

In 2013, CCB and ten partner organisations in Belarus launched the new collaborative project NGO Water Strategies in Belarus and Strengthening of the Civil Society. The project aims to promote sustainable water management policies and practices in Belarus that contribute to good surface and ground water quality, preserved biodiversity and a better quality of life for the people.

The ten Belarus project partners complement each other in terms of expertise, approaches and geographic coverage. They all contribute, each in its own way, towards achieving four project goals:

  1. Greater awareness among the general population, decision-makers and specific stakeholders about the importance of good water quality and management, and about the factors that threaten them
  2. Improved policies and regulations of relevance for water protection and management, through enhanced public input and dialogue
  3. Improved water management practices, reduced eutrophication and water pollution, and efficient monitoring of water quality and other relevant indicators
  4. Strengthened capacity, coordination and international relations of environmental NGOs working in the area of water protection in Belarus

 

Many project activities focus on these three thematic areas:

  • Water and Health – monitoring the quality of drinking water from wells by RiverWatch networks, and addressing the sources of excessive levels of nitrates and other pollutants
  • Sustainable agriculture – addressing the problems of nutrient leakage from industrial agriculture and animal farms, providing training and advice on organic agriculture to farmers, raising public awareness about the benefits of organic agriculture, and establishing an organic value chain by linking organic producers with consumers.
  • Protection of salmonid fish populations – monitoring and protection of aquatic ecosystems, physical restoration of salmonid fish spawning sites in the rivers and streams of Belarus, and bringing public attention to the issues of ecological water management and aquatic biodiversity.

 

At the start of the project, a public poll was organised to determine the level of public awareness of, and concern for, water related issues. Already during the first year of implementation, the project has contributed to a number of important achievements.

The project has launched an extensive programme for testing of the water quality in drinking water wells, as a result of which more than 500 pollution hotspots have been identified. Test results and other data are posted (in Russian only) on the web site www.watercontrol.by. On the basis of the collected information, six sources of water pollution have already been eliminated. Nine public information centers have been launched, with the dual aims to raise public awareness about water quality and to promote participation in water related issues.

At the policy level, the project has been instrumental in the drafting of a law on organic agriculture. The law is now being processed in the relevant ministries, and is due to be adopted in 2015. The project partners also collaborate in promoting public participation, elaborating joint positions and engaging in dialogue with policy makers on a proposed new Water Code, on the implementation of the Helsinki Protocol on Water and Health, and in several other policy processes.

Details on the contributions of the project to results within each of CCB’s priority areas are provided through the links:

Short presentations about the contributions made by each of the participating NGOs: Participating NGOs in Belarus activities

More information on the project – including various publications and statements (in Russian) that the project has produced – can be found here: www.ccbproject.by

Read details on the Belarus Water Programme here