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BirdLife solidarity with Belarusian partner APB; Akhova ptushak Batskaushchyny

The global BirdLife partnership of 117 national nature conservation organisations expresses its solidarity with its Belaorussian partner Akhova ptushak Batskaushchyny

For nearly 25 years APB has been an important partner with the Belarusian government’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Forestry, the National Bank, the National Post Office, diverse institutes and centers of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, other government agencies and organizations.

Belarus is now one of the world’s leaders in peatlands restoration, and work on ecological rehabilitation of peatlands continues. And APB has worked hand-in-hand with the government to support that work. The numbers speak for themselves – more than 17,200 hectares of drained peatlands have been re-wetted. APB funded work to increase the area of the priceless Almany Mires Nature Reserve, an Important Bird and Biodiversity area (IBA), by 10,000 hectares, bringing it to a total of almost 104,000 hectares, one of the largest mire complexes in Europe and home to 25 pairs of iconic Spotted Eagles.

These amazing shared accomplishments between diverse government agencies and Ministries, and other Belarusian national institutions and APB, BirdLife’s partner in Belarus, are why we have all been so surprised and dismayed by the inexplicable potential dissolution of APB by the government. We remain convinced that this threat is simply a function of a truly unfortunate misunderstanding – BirdLife’s partners are always resolutely non-political and simply work tirelessly to protect nature and birds.

Belarus’s precious natural heritage, which the government itself has an impressive record in protecting and restoring, needs allies like APB and her 25,000 volunteers and supporters – including 1000 members. This practical on-the-ground work is an invaluable supplement to the government’s own critical work, and is a model used by the BirdLife partnership around the globe.

We remain convinced that this threat is simply a function of a truly unfortunate misunderstanding – BirdLife’s partners are always resolutely non-political and simply work tirelessly to protect nature and birds.
Indeed, the APB family identified 53 sites totalling over 1,618,000 hectares enabling them to receive the status of Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), and now 75% of them thankfully receive Belarusian government protection.

APB significantly contributed to the designation of the beautiful and critically important 140 hectares of Turau Meadow as a Nature Reserve. This important site is an important stopover site for up to 500 thousand birds a year and establishes Belarus as a safe international haven for migration’s magnificence. For 13 years ABP has rented and managed this nature reserve on behalf of the government, the only non-governmental organization in Belarus to do so.

Behind these impressive accomplishments, APB works to educate and motivate the Belarusian people about the importance of protecting and restoring the precious Belarusian natural environment and heritage – and developing this awareness in youth to assume that responsibility going forward. The goal of APB, like all global BirdLife partners, is to complement and enhance the work of their government to protect their nation’s precious nature. Our global family fervently hopes this misunderstanding can be resolved quickly so that APB can get back to work on behalf of the people and government of Belarus.

Images courtesy of the APB Archive

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