Belarusian NGOs ready to fight climate change

Lars Haltbrekken talks about climate change.
With support from Norges Naturvernforbund, the alliance of Belarusian environmental organizations, Green Alliance, has started a national climate campaign in Belarus. The campaign started with a national climate seminar in Minsk the 2nd and 3rd of October 2008 where a total of 27 participants attended the whole seminar with participants from different regions of Belarus.

Seminar The first day of the seminar was held at the Belarusian Aarhus center in Minsk and Norges Naturvernforbund Chairman Lars Haltbrekken held presentations about climate change and how Norges Naturvernforbund work to change Norwegian climate policy and to influence the international negotiations. International experts on the topic, from Greenpeace and EcoDefence Russia, also held presentations about climate change. They talked about how they work in Russia and reasons why nuclear energy is not an instrument to stop climate change.

A representative from the UN office in Minsk also talked about the situation in Belarus and the Belarusian authority’s point of view on climate change.

On the second day the participants from the Belarusian environmental NGOs discussed how they will cooperate to make a climate campaign in Belarus and their future position on the topic. Here are some of the plans that were agreed on during the seminar:

Strategic goals Green Alliance will participate in decision making processes and state programs implementation on the climate change problem. Our campaign will cover the following areas: • Policy level. Work with official Belarusian delegates, lobbing public demands, access to information and participation in decision making. • Policy level. Work with other countries on ratification of Belarusian amendment to Kyoto Protocol. • Ground level. Informational campaign for deputies, business, education system and the public. • Ground level. Direct public actions.

Green Alliance position: • GA approves and maintains the Belarusian governments programs and actions on participation in Kyoto mechanism. • GA calls upon other Kyoto Protocol parties to ratify Belarusian amendment to Kyoto Protocol. • GA calls Belarusian government to undertake strict commitments upon the usage of financial means got from Kyoto flexible mechanism only to projects on carbon emission reduction and climate change mitigation. • GA calls Belarusian government to fulfill Kyoto Protocol and Aarhus Convention and provide public access to information on current amount of carbon emitting, implementing projects and meeting current targets of state programs. GA also calls to provide public access to decision making process. • GA calls Belarusian government not to trade its available ‘hot air’ quota. • GA calls Belarusian government to elaborate necessary legislation on renewable energy usage. After the seminar the following national stakeholders present their interest in collaboration: • Ministry of Internal Affairs • Ministry of Environment. • UNDP Project office. • Aarhus Centre. • Academy of Business Administration under the aegis of the president.

Development after the seminar After the successful seminar, the Green Alliance has been exceptionally active and there are many results from their work:

• Green Alliance climate campaigner coordinator has established contacts with Russian and Ukrainian NGO delegates and youth delegation to Poznan. We have coordinated our plans and positions, working on preparation to cooperate in Poznan.

• Green Alliance web site has been registered in Climate Action Network Eastern Europe and Eurasia and within several days will be published with all the contacts.

• Draft position of the Green Alliance has been written and spread among its members. Now GA working groups on energy, agriculture and sustainable development are elaborating their position for state delegates to Poznan.

• GA activists from Brest and Grodno regions have stated their interest in climate campaign participation. We are now planning local actions and info-campaign, in these regions.

• National NGO “Azbuka Predprinimatelstva” will hold a round table on climate change mitigation 28.10.2008 in Minsk.

• GA is establishing contacts and agreements with national media to cooperate in info-coverage of Poznan conference news and discussions.

• GA has already agreed upon mutual help and coordination with national center BelNIC Ecology, responsible for GHG national Inventory and Registry.

• Minsk Aarhus centre is strongly interested in cooperation and joint activities with GA. GA has been invited by Minsk Aarhus centre to attend the international seminar “The Role of Information in an Age of Climate Change” in Denmark November 13-14. Web site:

• GA climate campaigner coordinator has met a lecturing professor from Academy of Business Administration under the aegis of the president. GA has agreed to implement joint projects on policy level with local authorities with whose this professor has a strong contacts and trust.

• Within a week GA are planning a meeting with Ministry of Environment of Belarus and Ministry of International Affairs.

• GA is also planning a joint pilot projects on energy efficiency, renewables and voluntary emission reduction markets with GreenPeace Russia on 2009 towards Copenhagen.

Lars Haltbrekken talks about how Norges Naturvernforbund work to change Norwegian climate policy and to influence the international negotiations.

Discussions within the Green Alliance working group on climate.