Belarus Builds Forest Resilience to Climate Change with World Bank Support

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Tuesday March 13, 2018 08:47
WASHINGTON--13 Mar--World Bank

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2018 — Modern forest management, reforestation and new forest areas will help the Belarusian forest sector adapt to storms, climate change and pests, thanks to the EUR 12 million Additional Financing for the Belarus Forestry Development Project (FDP), approved today by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors.

"The climate is changing, and Belarusian forests need to adapt to the new weather conditions. The project will help Belarus to cope with extreme weather events, such as the catastrophic storm in the summer of 2016 that blew over some 14,000 ha of forest," said Alex Kremer, World Bank Country Manager for Belarus. "Moreover, improved forestry practices boost the rural economy by creating more jobs and business opportunities," he said.

The additional financing will enable the scale-up of selected activities initiated under the original project, including the creation of two additional tree nursery complexes in Mogilev and Grodno Oblasts and the purchase of essential forestry machinery and equipment. With the original loan and the additional financing, six nurseries will be upgraded, one for each Oblast in Belarus.

"Increased nursery capacity will help provide the planting stock needed for the rehabilitation of windblown and other damaged forests, and support Belarus in the design and management of more climate resilient forests," said Andrew Mitchell, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project. "The activities of the FDP will help improve forest management, identifying the right mixes of species and raising the quality of seedlings, which will become a solid base for reforestation in Belarus."

Cooperation between Belarus and the World Bank in the forestry sector started with the earlier Forestry Development Project, implemented from 1994 to 2002. It promoted economically and environmentally sound practices in the forestry sector, and the move to open market pricing for wood and the liberalization of trade in wood and wood products. The ongoing forestry project approved in March 2015 aims to modernize several aspects of forestry sector operations.

Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled US $1.7 billion. In addition, grant financing totaling US $31 million has been provided to various programs, including some that involve civil society partners. The active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank in Belarus includes eight operations, totaling US $789 million.

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