The Emerald Network

Problem In 2013, Belarus acceded to the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. In accordance with the requirements of the Berne Convention, work was begun on the establishment of the Emerald Network in our country – a system of protected areas. In the EU, the perfect analogue of the Emerald Network is the Natura 2000 network. The Emerald Network and the Natura 2000 network represent the most effective mechanism in the conservation of nature on the European continent.

To date, more than 120 sites with the total area of over 2.1 million km2, which makes around 10.2% of the total area of the country, were nominated to be included into the Belarusian Emerald Network. More than half of our sites – 65 – are concentrated in the Continental biogeographic region, which encompasses the Brest and Gomel region, a bigger part of the Grodno region, about a half of the Minsk region and a part of the Mogilev region. The sites of the Emerald Network occupy about 11,8% of the Continental region area.

An unbiased and comprehensive approach to the creation of the network requires the participation not only of representatives of the governmental and scientific circles, but also public participation. The experience of establishing the Emerald Network in other countries shows that government representatives typically seek to include as few areas as possible into the network most of which already have a national SPNA status. NGOs strive to include in the network as many areas necessary for the conservation of species and habitats as possible. In light of this, the academia should be an objective consultant and provide objective and relevant data on the condition of various species or habitats. Unfortunately, especially in our context (Eastern Europe), the academia does not always command sufficient data on many species and habitats, and also depends in its opinion on the state. In this context, NGOs often act as a referee for evaluating the work of the state and the academia on the creation of the network. In the continental region of Belarus, the Emerald Network must be extended by new areas, and the data on the already nominated areas should be reviewed.

Objectivecontributing to the preparation of a full-fledged list of areas worthwhile for nomination for the Emerald Network and the establishment of a proper Emerald Network in Belarus that is included into the international system.

ParticipantsBahna NGOAPB BirdLife Belarus NGOEcohome NGOGreen network Partnership

Duration Bahna NGO has been engaged in the project since 2015. According to the obligations assumed by Belarus, the Emerald Network is to be created by 2020.

Target audience environmental activists of Belarus, scientists

Tools awareness raising, projects, roundtable discussions and seminars

Decision-making bodies Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the Council of Ministers