Vicente Ibora: Belarus has enormous potential for green urban developmentDec 12, 2017
The “Green Cities” project held an international conference on the issues of green urban development. Vicente Ibora (Spain), an international consultant of the project on green urban planning, shared his vision for Belarus.
“We are just starting on the process and what is happening now in the pilot cities of the project -Polack, Navapolack and Navahrudak- is a very good starting point for the future. What I observed when I was in these cities that nowadays they have very interesting qualities like huge green areas which can be improved. The starting initiatives on cycling, the improvement of existing facilities and networks could be also a key element for the target of reduction of CO2 emissions. I think that Belarus has a lot of potential for the green urban development.
One of the most important task to be implemented in these cities as well as in other new pilots which are coming into this initiative is the idea of improving the density of the cities. The problem exists in all three pilot cities - a disparity in the distribution of residents across cities that does not go along with sustainable urban development. But we cannot directly import the solutions, criteria or indicators. We must know exactly what is the context and then decide what are the criteria for Belarusian cities.
We are working today with eight sustainability domains and the idea is to find common direction for all of them. For example, this idea of the density will provide less emissions as the people will live closer to green areas, to the places they work, go shopping and recreate. This is one of the important indicators -the idea of the proximity to the facilities including kindergartens, schools and so on.
Also, the issue of biodiversity is important for the ecological sustainability of the city. For this, it is necessary to implement the concept of green corridors that link the urban environment and adjacent natural areas. It is necessary to have clear information about the types of flora and fauna, their shortage or overabundance, to understand what impact they have on the environment”.
The “Green Cities” project is funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the United Nations Development Program in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus.