Grodno, 1 June 2018

From 31 May to 1 June 2018, in Grodno, republic of Belarus, over 75 people (including 30% women), participated in the workshop on “Sustainable urban planning and housing: national priorities of the Republic of Belarus and best international practices”. The two days workshop was jointly organised by three United Nations Agencies: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Participants represented including international experts, national, regional and local authorities.

The training workshop covered topics such as the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP), housing and financing. Participants engaged in a very productive discussions on financing opportunities to modernize and expand the housing stock to meet existing demand. Participants highlighted the need for better coordination of sectoral policies. In its closing statement Mr Alexander Gorval, Head of the Housing Construction Department of the Ministry of Architecture and Construction highlighted the importance of long term planning within the framework of master plans: “A positive result of proper development is not immediately visible. It needs time. Also important, a systematic implementation of urban planning tasks can be supported by the stability of the staff of town planners and architects implementing the master plan.”

The training workshop complemented the fact-finding mission of UNECE and UN-Habitat in cooperation with the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction of the Republic of Belarus to Minsk and Grodno to prepare a new country profile for Belarus. The delegation of UNECE and UN-Habitat also included one expert on housing finances from Russia and two land administration experts from Russia and the Netherlands. The experts met with the First Deputy Minister of Architecture and Construction of Belarus,  Alexander V. Kruchanov. Institutions and groups met during the mission include the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services, the State Committee on Property, the Institute of Housing NIPTIS, the Minsk City Executive Committee and other local and regional planning experts from Minsk, Grodno and Brest.

To support housing, urban development and land policy reforms in Europe the Committee on Housing and Land Management of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) is supporting countries in the region in preparing country profiles. These profiles are a tool for Governments to analyse their housing, urban development and land management policies, strategies, and institutions. At the core of the country profiles is an analytical study of housing, urban development and land administration and management written by international experts and peer-reviewed. Practical policy recommendations are formulated based on this analysis and a peer-review (ECE/HBP/2017/15, I.1).

In 2008, the first country profile for Belarus had a focus on the housing sector and land management. To include urban development UNECE teamed up with UN-Habitat’s Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit RMPU through UN-Habitat’s Project Coordination Office for Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). RMPU will contribute chapters on urban and regional planning to the country profile. Next steps in the preparation of the country profile will be the drafting of the chapters by 15 August 2018, their review by the Ministry of Architecture and Construction and the ECE Committee on Housing and Land Management. Finalized chapters of the country profile should be then delivered by mid-November to allow completion of the country profile in November 2018 and an official launch of the country profile as a publication in May 2019 in Minsk.