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EU to provide 29 million euros to Belarus in 2016

Staff writer ▼ | April 5, 2016
The European Union will grant €29 million to Belarus in 2016 which is almost twice as much as in 2015, Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus, told journalists.
Helping hand   Almost twice as much as in 2015
"We have almost doubled the amount of financial assistance. In 2016 we will provide €29 million for three so-called priority areas which include migration issues, regional economic development, and provision of technical assistance," Andrea Wiktorin said.

She emphasized that the amount of the assistance is not the main thing. It is much more important to establish cooperation with local authorities, civil society, and other partners to promote sustainable development of the districts.

"It is also important to encourage bottom-up initiatives," Andrea Wiktorin emphasized.

On March 31, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the executive committees of 30 pilot districts partaking in the EU/UNDP project Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus signed memorandums of understanding in Minsk.

The memorandums show that the 30 pilot districts of Belarus are ready to try an area-based development approach which focuses on small towns and rural areas. The approach consists in defining the unique features and challenges of the districts.

It is an integrated process that involves authorities, businesses and various civil society groups. By consolidating all available resources of a particular territory, including natural, economic and human ones, the approach allows for improving the life quality of people by mobilizing their potential.

A great effort will be made in these 30 pilot areas to set up local initiative groups for planning the area-based development approach. The groups will combine the interests of local authorities, non-for-profit organizations and businesses in defining priorities for a particular area.

Members of the local communities will be invited to take part in training seminars and trips to the EU countries to study best practices of sustainable area-based development.

A large contest of local initiatives will be held in late 2016-early 2017. Each district will have a chance to get up to €70,000 for local initiatives.