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Orsha District Executive Committee
5 December 2019

Belarus expects to sign transboundary water protection agreement with Poland in January

Belarus expects to sign an intergovernmental agreement with Poland on cooperation in the protection and rational use of transboundary waters in January 2020, Belarus' Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Andrei Khmel said during a meeting of the National Interagency Steering Committee of the European Union Water Initiative Plus (EUWI+) project, BelTA has learned.

Belarus shares transboundary water bodies with the EU countries: Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. This year, Belarus was busy drafting an intergovernmental agreement with Poland. The draft document was coordinated by the parties and also underwent internal approval procedures in both the countries. “We are almost ready to sign the agreement with Poland. I hope we will do it in January. This will be Belarus' first agreement on transboundary water bodies with an EU country,” said Andrei Khmel.

Belarus and Latvia have agreed on a ministerial agreement between the Belarusian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. The draft document has been coordinated by the parties, but the domestic approval procedure has not been launched yet, as Latvia needs additional approval from the European Commission.

The cooperation between Belarus and Lithuania in the area is regulated by technical protocols which envisage the exchange of data on water levels and quality of transboundary water bodies.

The meeting in Minsk on 5 December focused on the implementation of the project and its expected results in 2020. “The main objective of the project is to study and apply the experience of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership in water management in Belarus,” said Andrei Khmel.

The European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership project helps Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine bring their legislation closer to EU policy in the field of water management, with a main focus on the management of transboundary river basins. The project is implemented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the consortium of the EU member states.

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