In his welcoming address, Vassilis Maragos, Head of the EaP Regional Programmes Unit at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, highlighted the success of the Covenant of Mayors, a European initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions: “Belarus has the second highest number of CoM signatories in the whole EaP region. I would like to stress that Brest is one of 46 signatories in Belarus that have committed to local-level action to cut CO2 emissions”. The city of Pinsk, Pinsk District, as well as the cities of Baranavičy, Pružany, Kobryn, Ivacevičy and Biaroza have also acceded to the Covenant of Mayors, emphasized Ivan Shchadranok, National Expert in Belarus, Covenant of Mayors - East.
Yury Kolesov, Deputy Head of the Foreign Economic Relations Department of Brest Regional Executive Committee indicated that in 15 years, Brest Region implemented more than 140 EU-supported projects, in particular, in the fields of tourism, healthcare, education, environment protection, social integration, energy efficiency and green economy.
The geographic location of the region also facilitates its participation in cross-border projects. Important cooperation is carried out today within the Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Programme. Sporava, Prybužskaje Paliessie and Zvaniec nature reserves demonstrate an example of effective environmental management in the fields of protection and sustainable use of natural resources, preservation of biodiversity and combat against climate change.
Maxim Aldanov, Head of the Representation of the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, and Alexander Panko, a participant of the Clean River is Main Priority and Free Access to Medical Services in the Cross-Border Region projects, gave speeches at the meeting. Pavel Gorbunov, Chairperson of the Board of Minsk Cycling Community NGO, identified the best practices of Brest in terms of eco-friendly transport; Nikolay Kuzmitsky, a representative of the Brest Regional Department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, described the EU project implementation mechanism; Dmitry Makaruk, Director of Brest Science and Technology Park, made a presentation of the Smart Brest – SimbioCity concept.
All participants of the meeting had an opportunity to learn about the Inclusive Barista project, which heroes arranged a coffee zone for everyone.
Summing up the meeting, Berend de Groot, Head of the Cooperation Programme Unit of the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, emphasized the high efficiency of the event, the activity and commitment of its participants, the high volume of represented practices, which experience must be closely analysed.
The EU Delegation to Belarus plans to hold similar information meetings in other regional capitals of the country in the coming months.