Belarus, UN to set up expert team for Belovezhskaya Pushcha
MINSK. Nov 17 (Interfax) - Belarusian Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Andrei Khudyk and UN officials met in Minsk on Wednesday and agreed to set up an expert team to address the situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the ministry press service said.
"The negotiating parties agreed to set up a joint expert team to promote this topic on international venues," the ministry said.
UN Resident Coordinator in Minsk Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Belarus Alexandra Solovieva took part in the negotiations on behalf of the United Nations.
"Khudyk emphasized the need for the immediate assessment of the situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha by the international community. He said that the Environmental Protection Ministry had sent numerous letters to international organizations, including UNESCO and UNDP," the press service said.
Khudyk also highlighted negative implications from the fence built on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Belovezhskaya Pushcha. "The fence has caused fragmentation of unique relict forests and protected habitats of Red Book animals, alongside depletion of the gene pool of such populations and disruption of the hydrological mode of adjacent ecosystems," he said.
"We are witnessing irreparable global damage being done to an international eco-system," Khudyk said.
Earlier, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei accused Poland of breaching the World Heritage Convention by building a fence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.