Prospects of sustainable development for the Hrodna (Grodno) Region and cooperation in this regard were discussed by representatives of local civil society organizations, local authorities and the EU/UNDP Project "Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus" during a sectoral discussion organized on November 26, 2015, in Hrodna within the framework of the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany with assistance from the ODB Clearing House programme.
During the meeting in Hrodna, Franz Mamul, consultant of the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany, presented results of an independent survey of sustainable development activities of civil society initiatives and civil society organizations in Hrodna Region. The German expert commented on the strengths and weaknesses of the local public sector. According to him, there are some positive tendencies, like the growing numbers of proactive people who are open to constructive cooperation with local authorities and committed to the idea of sustainable development. However, said Franz Mamul, weaknesses of the local public sector include the small number of organizations, lack of relevant international expertise and experience of participation in large-scale projects.
Siarhei Saley (on the right), Hrodna Region Coordinator, EU/UNDP Project "Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus"
The participants were introduced to an area-based approach to sustainable development at the local level, a methodology that takes into account specific characteristics of certain regions and territories in economic and social development. Siarhei Saley, Hrodna Region Coordinator of the EU/UNDP Project "Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus", noted that this methodology (Area Based Development, or ABD) will be used to design effective regional development strategies within this project: "The ABD approach allows us to take into account interests of local communities and raise their profile as it enables their participation and paves the way for local initiatives to be integrated within the plans for social and economic development of the region and the country".
In the course of discussions, Veronika Pavlyukevich, representative of the Hrodna Centre for Social and Economic Research of the Economy Research Institute of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus, introduced a draft of the 2016-2025 National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Hrodna Region. Incidentally, in August the Economy Research Institute of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus already made a recommendation to utilize the ABD approach and enshrine it in Belarusian legislation.
|Marta Bialenik, Clearing House consultant|
Speaking about ways of sustainable development cooperation and partnership for the Hrodna Region, Marta Bialenik, Clearing House consultant, described opportunities to receive external support to design and promote sustainable development in the region. Representatives of Hrodna organizations discussed best forms of cooperation and identified necessary steps to develop a large-scale network of partnerships.
More than 20 public administration entities, businesses and civil society organizations took part in the sectoral discussion "Prospects and Opportunities of Creating a Network of Sustainable Development Partners in Hrodna Region".