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EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK kicks off in Belarus

3 May 2016

EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK recently extended its reach thanks to the appointment of a new national coordinator in Belarus.

The campaign formally got underway on 27 April when the local UNDP office hosted mobility campaigners and experts from the capital, Minsk, nationwide and internationally to hear suggestions on how to implement a successful campaign. This included the idea of a mobility forum with local governments, a number of whom who had already been introduced to EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK the day before at a seminar hosted by the Belarus Transport Union. UNDP agreed to take these proposals forward.

Minsk offers much potential in terms of sustainable urban mobility. Wide streets could accommodate bike lanes, dedicated trolley bus or carpool lanes, and it offers pedestrians wide sidewalks, many of which include bike paths already. However, many residents are committed car owners and reducing speeds on Minsk's roads does not seem to be a local priority. Nevertheless progress is being made as a third metro line in Minsk is now under construction. Local campaigners were also very interested in the potential of cargo bikes.

The country is no stranger to EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, with Minsk, Polotsk and Novopolotsk registering in 2015. Anton Rodnenkov of Interakcia Foundation said of Polotsk’s 2016 campaign: "More effort is needed in advertising eye-catching events, especially to pedestrians and drivers but also to businesses. We also need to do more to reach out to citizens online.” A video of 2015 campaign events in Polotsk has also been produced.

It sounds like civil society in Belarus knows what needs to be done. At the same time it expressed its gratitude for the kick-off event and thanks to UNDP for its acting as a bridge between themselves and city authorities. The campaign's European secretariat looks forward to seeing the results.

To view a presentation given by the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Coordination at the event, click here.