NEWS ARCHIVE: April 2004

April 29, 2004 «Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi» (The Komsomol Truth in Belarus) Newspaper, #80 Belarusian Santa Claus dresses for summer

Santa Claus lives and receives guests in Belovezhskaya Pushcha all the year round. On May 1 he decided to change his fur coat and winter cap for an embroidered linen cape and a straw hat. The Belarusian Santa got the idea for his new dress from the 1970s look of one of the most famous Belarusian band «Pesnyary».

Natalia KRIVETS
April 27, 2004 Website News Service New project «Belovezhskaya Pushcha — the Forest of Hope»

The news are reported to have emerged of details of the conference on protection and future development of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, which was held from 5–6 April in Brussels (Belgium) by the European Parliament under the chairmanship of Mrs Oomen-Ruijten. The conference was organized by the Dutch environmental organization «Vereniging Natuurmonumenten», the European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Onno de Bruijn of «Vereniging Natuurmonumenten» presented to the participants of the conference a book «Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the Third Millennium» published in 2002. The book is dedicated to Belovezhskaya Pushcha — a unique wilderness area in Europe — and is the fruit of trilateral cooperation of Belarus, Poland and the Netherlands within the framework of the 1999–2002 project. The book is available in English, Russian and Polish languages. It lists the reports of Belarus and Poland's scientists and specialists who attended the 2000 transboundary conference for biodiversity, conservation and protection of cultural heritage in the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The book gives special attention to strategies of the National Parks management, conservation, sustainable ecological forestry and water resources management, environmentally-friendly farming, cultural heritage protection and tourist development. It suggests solutions to problems existing in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The priority of the Brussels conference is to raise awareness in the EU about Belovezhskaya Pushcha as the last remnant of the living primeval forest in Europe, and thus persuade the EU countries to render their assistance in protection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Belovezhskaya Pushcha in this context (Belarus and Poland's parts) is viewed as a single and whole forest. The conference also focused on the integrated plan for management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the issues of transboundary cooperation between Belarus and Poland's National Parks which were mentioned in the «Final report» by the UNESCO mission to Belovezhskaya Pushcha in March, 2004. The Brussels conference developed a project for transboundary cooperation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha called «The Forest of Hope». The project in particular aims at transboundary management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha's natural resources, giving a priority to the World Heritage Site; promoting bilateral research for monitoring, bison protection, migration of big animals, recovery of wetlands and transboundary tourism development; making Belovezhskaya Pushcha part of the Pan-European network for conservation; studying other issues. «The Forest of Hope» project on transboundary cooperation have been submitted for consideration to the European Parliament, which is thought to provide funds for the major part of the project work. The IUCN presented at the conference «European Green Belt», a project dedicated to conservation issues at the new Eastern border of the extended EU. The project also concentrates on Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a transboundary natural area. Mihali Vegh of the ECNC gave information on a project called «Pan-European ecological network: a pilot project for Belovezhskaya Pushcha». The participants of the conference produced a joint statement «The Forest of Hope - 2004 Belovezha-Kamenyuki-Brussels Appeal». Among the conference participants there were Poland and Belarus' delegations from the National Parks «Bialowieza» and «Belovezhskaya Pushcha». The Belarus' delegation was represented by director of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» Nikolai Bambiza, deputy director on science Anna Dengubenko, head of the department of protected natural territories and game grounds under the Property Management Department of the Belarusian President Alexander Luchkov and director of the Zoology Institute of the National Academy of Science and president of the public organization «Belarus Bird Life» Mikhail Nikiforov. It may be surprising, but the former deputy director on science of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» Heorhi Kazulka was not invited to the conference, although he was one of the initiators of the project and organized the 2000 conference in the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha», as well as coordinated the project in Belarus (1999–2002). Moreover he was the editor of Russian version of the book and one of its authors. According to H.Kazulka, he did not receive any official information on the conference, even from former Belarusian partners, with whom he had cooperated on the project. In 2001 the new administration of the National Park made all that was possible to disrupt the project «Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the Third Millennium» and the publication of a specially presented in Belgium book about it (for more details go to http://bp21.org.by/en/art/inter.html). That is why, having been dismissed from his post in the National Park, H.Kazulka had worked on the Russian version of the book at home for a year and then published it in cooperation with the public organization «Belarus Bird Life» and the UN office in Belarus. The administration of the National Park offered no help him, and used the money given for the book publication for other purposes. Now that the book, despite the «efforts» of the administration, has been published and the project successfully completed, the same administration has presented the book in Belgium and reported on the «great» progress made towards conservation of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and development of science in the National Park. However, H.Kazulka thinks it is more important that «the book has been published, has become available to European readers and received positive reviews. It is due to the book that there is now a chance to engage the European community in solving Belovezhskaya Pushcha's numerous problems and conservation of this famous forest for generations to come. Conservation of Belovezhskaya Pushcha should stand above all.»
April 27, 2004 «Minskiy kurier» (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, #315 Green belted Pushcha

A project on transboundary cooperation and measures for development of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, called «The Forest of Hope», was worked out in Brussels at the recent international seminar dedicated to the problems of our main reserved forest. The international community has a special attitude to the last relic forest of Europe with the wild nature which has long been extinct in other European countries. When in May of this year Poland joins the EU, its borders will also run through the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. A so-called «green belt», where Belovezhskaya Pushcha is given the central part, is going to be created in this regard at the Eastern border of the EU. Belovezhskaya Pushcha will become not just the area of harmonic coexistence of primeval nature and men, but will serve fruitful cooperation between many countries. In particular, the project focuses on joint research monitoring, special research for bison reproduction, recovery of wetlands and development of transboundary tourism. A project on transboundary tourism has been submitted for consideration to the European Parliament which is thought to provide funds for the major part of the project work.

Ivan KUKSA
April 27, 2004 Website News Service Reward for Belovezhskaya Pushcha wilderness protection

The Kiev Ecological and Cultural Centre rewarded wilderness protection activists at the first International conference on wilderness protection «Tribuna-10» which was held from 24–26 April in Kiev (Ukraine). A scientist and ecologist Heorhi Kazulka from Belarus received a silver medal «Askaniya-Nova» for his active support of and important contribution to the wilderness protection in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The initiative group «Belovezhskaya Pushcha — 21st century», Heorhi's friends and colleagues join to congratulations on such a high appraisal of his conservation work.
April 21, 2004 Naviny.by Birds' inventory in Belovezhskaya Pushcha A large-scale inventory of birds is to take place on May 21 in the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha», Anna Dengubenko, the park deputy director, said to Interfax. According to her, the project, which will last till the end of the year, will be implemented by the park ornithologists together with the scientists of the Institute of Zoology at the National Academy of Science of Belarus. «We need this large-scale project because the last detail inventory of birds nesting in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and migrating through its area was held about 20 years ago. Over the last 20 years only some few bird species have been studied in the National Park,» A.Dengubrnko said. She stressed that the list of birds living in Belovezhskaya Pushcha «can grow owing to 40 thousand hectares of land added to Pushcha last year, as birds and animals on the new land will also be studied.» «Updated information on bird species living in Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be included in the third edition of the Red Book of Belarus,» she said. A.Dengubenko added that according to the last data the Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarus) is home for 243 bird species, 55 from which, including 33 nesting in the area of the reserve, are included in the Red Book of Belarus (the 1993 edition). Considering ornithologists' research, A.Dengubenko said that 79 bird species, which are found in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, including 43 species nesting in the reserve, are going to be included in the third edition of the book.
April 17, 2004 «Naviny Kamyanechchyny» (The Kamenetz News) Newspaper, #31–32 Belovezhskaya Pushcha — Forest of Hope

A transboundary seminar of those who are involved in the conservation and management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, which is on the World Heritage List, was held from 5–6 April in Brussels. The seminar became in a way a continuation of the transboundary conference in Belovezha and Kamenyuki in 2000. International representatives highly approved of the transboundary cooperation taking place in Pushcha. They stressed that the problem of the effective conservation and management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and areas adjoining it is very important to the European Community. A successful development of the transboundary cooperation may give a hope for a prosperous future for people and nature in Europe. The IUCN headquarters at one time developed an initial project on transboundary cooperation. The project is based on joint attempts to deal with problems of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and contributes to the principles mentioned in the final report of the UNESCO mission and the IUCN in March of this year. Both Belarus and Poland's parts of Belovezhskaya Pushcha were at the time highly appraised for the conservation work there. A project on developing Belovezhskaya Pushcha called «The Forest of Hope» was jointly developed then. The unique wild nature of Pushcha has been talked about many times. The reserve has the oldest, as well as the biggest trees. Both Belarus and Poland's National Parks are at the same time Biosphere Reserves which have status of the World Heritage Sites and granted by European Diploma. In May 2004, with Poland and 9 other counties' joining the EU, the EU borders shifted to the east. That prompted an idea to create a so-called «green belt» of the EU in the area of the former USSR border line. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the most famous and important forest in Europe. That is why, according to the conference organizers, it should become «The Forest of Hope» for both wildlife and people to live in harmony. That made necessary a joint management of the forest, and the first step to it was transboundary cooperation in the area of the reserved forest, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The experience acquired during the project may then be used in other areas around the Pushcha. The Brussels conference has defined the priorities for the project. They will be, first of all, creation of bilateral database on important natural, cultural and historical sites, joint research monitoring, special research for bison reproduction, recovery of wetland areas, uninterrupted farming, transboundary tourism development. The tourism development is of particular importance as new simplified border crossings are going to be opened this year for tourists coming either to Belarus or Poland's parts of Pushcha and for better cooperation between the National Parks. The results of the project on transboundary cooperation were presented at the seminar in the European Parliament under the chairmanship of Mrs Oomen-Ruijten. After the presentation there was a discussion with the directors of Belarus and Poland's National Parks. The project will be financed by the European Parliament as it is important for the whole Europe. International representatives highly approved of the transboundary cooperation. It is stressed the conservation and effective management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and its adjoining areas is a question of European importance. Further development of this cooperation gives a chance for stability in future for people and nature of Europe.

Anna DENGUBENKO
April 08, 2004 «TUT.by» News Tourist facilities to be enlarged in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The tourist facilities of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» are going to be very much enlarged within the next two years, Anna Dengubenko, the park deputy director, said to Interfax. According to her, there are plans, first of all, to build more hotels. Two new hotels will be added to the already operating ones. One of them will be located in the area of the park and, besides other comforts, will boast of a conference-hall, a sauna, a swimming-pool and a gym. The other is going to be built a few miles away from the main entrance to the park in the village of Kamenyuki and will provide affordable services, mainly for children and adult tourist groups.

Interfax