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“Rare Habitats of Belarus” handbook and photography exhibition “The Yelnia Bog: 9000 Years of Beauty” presented in Minsk

“Rare Habitats of Belarus” handbook and photography exhibition “The Yelnia Bog: 9000 Years of Beauty” presented in Minsk

On 29 November, the National Art Museum hosted the official presentation of the handbook "Rare Habitats of Belarus" and the opening of the photography exhibition "The Yelnia Bog: 9000 Years of Beauty". The organisers of the event were the United Nations Development Programme in Belarus and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus, with the support of Coca-Cola Beverages Belorussiya FE.

On 1 June, 2013, the Republic of Belarus became the 51st country to join The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, also known as the Bern Convention. For the fulfillment of its commitments and for the conservation of biological and landscape diversity, criteria for identifying rare Belarusian habitats were developed. The list of rare habitats includes 43 categories (unique areas in lakes, bogs, peatlands, forests, and meadows), 38 of which have international significance and 5 of which are of national significance. All of them - with bright illustrations and full descriptions - are collected in the handbook "Rare Habitats of Belarus", published under the UNDP/GEF project "Biodiversity".

"It is obvious today that the protection of rare plants and animals is impossible without the protection of their habitats. That is why the publication of the handbook ‘Rare Habitats of Belarus' is such a remarkable event," said Ihar Kachanouski, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus.

"To my mind, the book ‘Rare Habitats of Belarus' should certainly be translated into English in order to let the world know how beautiful and versatile Belarusian nature is,"stated Sanaka Samarasinha, UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus.

The photography exhibition "The Yelnia Bog: 9000 Years of Beauty" was opened after the presentation of the handbook. The exhibition is dedicated to the 45th anniversary of the date of the nature reserve's foundation. It gathers the best photographs taken by local residents.

The Yelnia Reserve was established to protect and conserve the largest peatland in Europe, as well as its rare wildlife, including 23 species listed in the national Red Data Book. Every year, Yelnia welcomes more than 5000 cranes and 10000 geese stopping over at the Yelnia bog during their autumn migration. Yelnia Reserve is a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area.

During the event, a new online database for mapping biodiversity (www.florafauna.by) was presented. It was designed to make maps of the distribution of plants and animals in Belarus, with the help of amateur enthusiasts, schoolchildren, teachers, and scholars.

The photography exhibition "The Yelnia Bog: 9000 Years of Beauty" and the biodiversity mapping database www.florafauna.by were developed under the joint EU/UNDP project "Environmental Cooperation". The national implementing agency of the EU/UNDP project "Environmental Cooperation" and the UNDP/GEF project "Biodiversity" is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus.

For more information please contact Iryna Novak, UNDP/GEF "Biodiversity" Project PR-specialist, +37517203-57-50, iryna.novak@undp.by

 


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