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17 October 2014

European Union to allocate ?1.3m for innovative infrastructure project in Grodno Oblast

GRODNO, 17 October (BelTA) – The European Union is ready to allocate ?1.3 million for implementing an innovative infrastructure project in Grodno Oblast, BelTA learned from Yelena Dzhukh, Grodno Oblast coordinator of the international technical aid project for supporting regional and local development in the Republic of Belarus.

Grodno Oblast is now busy preparing applications for a contest of pilot projects. The project may affect various areas of the region, however, it has to meet certain characteristics. It has to be an innovative project for infrastructure with manufacturing in mind for the sake of the region's sustainable development. The project may be implemented in the field of housing and public utilities, energy industry, forestry, agriculture and processing, transport, tourism, yet it has to be of social and ecological importance. "We know that applications are already being received. For instance, there are plans to use the money to build a therapeutic horse riding center for children with limited abilities near Grodno. However, we would like as many government agencies and public institutions as possible to take part in the contest," said Yelena Dzhukh.

In her words, there are plans to finance similar projects in every region of Belarus, with the total funding standing at ?8 million. In line with the project for supporting regional and local development in the Republic of Belarus several small projects of the local level may be financed.

Plans have been made to develop local agendas or sustainable development concepts for the regions of Belarus. Grodno Oblast became involved in the work on the local agenda in summer 2014. A working group has been created and has started working. However, every Grodno Oblast resident is invited to envisage and describe the future of the oblast the way they desire it. According to Yelena Dzhukh, coordinators of the project would like scientists, public institutions, social institutions and foundations, business circles, initiative groups, young people to get involved in the development of the concept. Internet resources and social networks will be used for that.

On 17 October Grodno will host a roundtable meeting of initiative groups that will present their vision of the concept for the sustainable development of the region. On 22 October Grodno will host an expanded participation seminar as part of the project. Taking part in the seminar will be representatives of the European Union, the project's experts, members of the working group, initiative groups. There are plans to discuss preliminary directions of the emerging strategy for the oblast's sustainable development, the theme and the content of pilot projects.

The project to provide international technical aid to the Republic of Belarus for the sake of regional and local development is implemented by an international consortium led by the company Ecorys Nederland BV (Netherlands). The project's implementation began in 2014 to finish in August 2016.