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12 December 2014

Belarus-Poland-Lithuania cross-border biosphere reserve concept developed

MINSK, 12 December (BelTA) – A concept has been developed for the Belarus-Poland-Lithuania cross-border biosphere reserve, head of the international technical assistance project, Management of Alytus-Grodno Region Transboundary Protected Areas and Promotion of Their Integration into the Pan-European Ecological Network, chief of the sci-tech research laboratory of landscape ecology under the Belarusian State University Valentin Yatsukhno told BelTA.

The Belarus-Poland-Lithuania transboundary biosphere reserve concept, which will provide an opportunity for joint management and protection of valuable natural complexes of the Belarusian-Lithuanian region, has been developed during the implementation of the project, Management of Alytus-Grodno Region Transboundary Protected Areas and Promotion of Their Integration into the Pan-European Ecological Network.

One of the primary aims of the project is to improve joint strategic planning and management of Cepkeliai-Kotra transboundary site. A booklet containing the information and photo materials on the natural, historical and cultural sights of the Belarusian-Lithuanian region and also the map of the area with marked tourist routes will be soon distributed among conservation organizations, educational establishments, travel agencies, ministries and other state and public organizations, Valentin Yatsukhno said.

According to him, the absence of the single approach to environmental measures from both sides of the state border necessitated the development of proposals on joint strategic planning and development of the protected areas, involvement of local people in these processes and the development of eco and ethnocultural tourism.

The project, Management of Alytus-Grodno Region Transboundary Protected Areas and Promotion of Their Integration into the Pan-European Ecological Network is aimed at the development of cooperation between Belarus and Lithuania to jointly manage and monitor near-border protected areas, protection of natural complexes and tourism development on the territory of the two countries. The project was launched in January 2013 to finish in December 2014. The funds for its implementation (?284,800) were allocated by the European Union. The project covered the national parks, reserves, natural monuments, water protection zones and recreation space in the Belarusian-Lithuanian region of Ponemanye.

Partaking in the project on Belarus' behalf was the Belarusian State University, the Yanka Kupala Grodno State University, the Grodno Oblast Committee of Natural Resources and Environment, the national landscape reserves Ozery and Kotra. The participants of the project on Lithuania's part was the Lithuanian Natural Heritage Fund, Dzukija National Park and Cepkeliai Natural Reserve, Zuvinto Biosphere Reserve, Veisiejai Regional Park, the State Service for Specially Protected Areas under the Ministry of Environment of Lithuania.