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World Bank loans $40m to Belarus forestry development project

Global Environment Facility, a partnership for international cooperation in environmental issues, has also issued a grant worth $2.71m to the country’s Forestry Development Project.

The World Bank has approved a $40.71 million loan to the Republic of Belarus to help develop its forestry sector. And Global Environment Facility, a partnership for international cooperation in environmental issues, has also issued a grant worth $2.71 million to the country’s Forestry Development Project.

The project is aiming to enhance silvicultural management, reforestation and afforestation, increase the use of felling residues, and increase the overall contribution of forests to sustainable development.

Belarus is one of the most forested countries in Europe and Central Asia with forest area accounting for nearly 40 percent of the territory and contributing about 2 percent of the GDP.

“The Government recognizes the importance of institutional change, investment, new technologies and capacity building in the forestry sector, as well as the need to respond in a sustainable manner to a growing demand for wood products from both the wood processing and wood energy enterprises,” reads a press release.

Andrew Mitchell, World Bank project team leader, said: “Investments in goods and machinery will support further development and intensification of silviculture, including the purchase of 74 modern forest harvesters, needed for younger-aged thinning operations, and 52 forwarders. Six new heavy-duty chippers will help to utilise wood waste and woody biomass from felling and logging operations, which currently are simply left in the forest to rot, wasting the calorific value therein and creating a fire hazard.”

The Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992 and the institution has now loaned a total of $1.43 billion to the country. There has been an additional $28 million in grant funding during that period, according to the World Bank website. With the approval of this project, the current investment lending portfolio includes seven operations totaling $938 million.