Poverty reduction seminars started in Belarus

A series of regional seminars entitled The Main Directions of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy in Belarus started yesterday in Gomel.

The seminars to be held in four Belarusian regional centers by the end of June, are jointly organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the UNDP project Assisting in Elaborating the Basic Foundation for the National Poverty Reduction Strategy in Belarus. Heads and experts of local labour and social protection bodies, representatives of national ministries and mass media will take part in the seminars.

The results, observations and propositions of the seminars participants will be included into a final document The Basic Foundation for the National Poverty Reduction Strategy in Belarus to be presented to the Government of Belarus at the end of June.

First Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection Elena Kolos addressed the Gomel seminars participants with welcoming remarks. Belarus relatively favourable situation allows us to talk about poverty prevention, not its reduction, she said. And we have a good opportunity to discuss the national policy in this sphere within the context of the UNDP project conclusions.

Project Manager Natalia Efremenko noted with satisfaction that the project which is at its final implementation stage has already resulted both in emphasizing the importance of the poverty prevention problem and in the creation of a partnership of all interested government bodies and open society structures for its solution.

The programme of the seminars includes a presentation of the UNDP project implementation in 2003-2006; a discussion on the goals and tasks of the National poverty reduction strategy in Belarus and the issues of involvement of state bodies, local authorities and NGOs in its implementation; a presentation of the comprehensive poverty assessment results in Belarus; a discussion on the state policy in the sphere of communal housing management and healthcare in connection with poverty reduction and increasing the population life standards.

Background: Since 2003, UNDP Belarus is implementing a project aimed at assisting the country in elaborating the basic foundations for a National Poverty Reduction Strategy. Researches conducted by the project assessed the countrys macroeconomic policy, the financing of the social sphere, the national taxation system, the development of small business, gender and ecological aspects of poverty, etc. The computer program Poverty Mapping in Belarus was also developed.

For more information, please contact the Project Manager, Natalia Efremenko, at 203-15-88, or UNDP Communications Associate, Vladislav Khilkevich, at 227-38-17.

Press Releas United Nations Davelopment Programme in Belarus

17 June 2006