Pilot project in Belarus : «Green» UNDP projects took part in the “Sporava Hayfields” – traditional ecological festival aimed at reviving of manual haymaking

“Sporava hayfields” was held on the territory of the Republican biological reserve “Sporovsky”. Within the traditional annual event the hand haymaking and peatland football championships were held.

The fest highlights important environmental issues related to preservation of Belarus’ precious fen mires, conservation of peatlands’ biodiversity and climate action.

Welcoming participants of the festival Nikolay Svidinsky, Head of the Department of Biological and Landscape Diversity of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, noted that manual mowing, as well as mowing with special equipment presented at the festival, restores the mire ecosystem, which allows preserving and multiplying biodiversity.

“The reserve is doing a lot of work to promote the green economy. Ecotourism is developing. We expect a significant economic effect from such activities, while reducing the negative impact on the environment”, said Leonid Martynyuk, Chairman of the Byaroza district executive committee.

“We are extremely proud to join EU, GEF, Minprirody in supporting a haymaking craft revival event promoting cultural & environmental heritage of Belarus”, said Zack Taylor, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative.

Elena Rakova, the EU Project Coordinator in Belarus, said: “We are working together to implement the principles of the green economy in Belarus so that the marshes not only preserve biodiversity but also bring economic benefits.”

The Festival was supported by the “Clima-East: Conservation and sustainable management of peatlands in Belarus to minimize carbon emissions and help ecosystems to adapt to climate change” project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program.  The “Clima-East” project in Belarus focuses on developing the economic potential of peat biomass harvesting, organized at the “Sporaūskaje” and “Zvaniec” National Reserves. The project had purchased technical equipment necessary for biomass harvesting and transportation that was transferred to the Republican Biological Reserve Sporaūski. The work of this equipment was demonstrated during the festival.

UNDP “Peatlands-2” financed by GEF was another project to join the fest. The project summarized the results of all UNDP projects implemented in Belarus on sustainable management of peatlands over the past 10 years.  The project’s book “Peatlands of Belarus. The Path to Sustainable Use” that accumulates the most recent information and statistics about Belarusian peatlands’ conditions was presented at the festival.