First Sustainable Energy Action Plan in Belarus approved

Six months after becoming the first and so far only Belarusian signatory of the Covenant of Mayors, the city of Polotsk is ready with its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) thanks to the EU CIUDAD (Cooperation in Urban Development and Dialogue) project SURE. The first SEAP action, the installation of LED street lights in the main avenue of the city, will be implemented in May 2012 and will be financed with €40,000 from the SURE project budget.
According to a CIUDAD press release, the development and implementation of an SEAP is an obligatory requirement for every city that decides to join the Covenant of Mayors.
According to the Sustainable Energy Action Plan, Polotsk will have to carry out a set of activities aimed at energy saving and use of renewable energies in various sectors, including municipal buildings, transport, local electricity production, land use planning and work with citizens in the next eight years. The SEAP foresees modernisation of outdated equipment, introduction of LED technologies, development of a biking system and other advanced measures based on European experience. 
The process started almost a year ago when European and Belorussian experts, under the guidance of the SURE project partners, started working on the development of the SEAP.
“We wish energy efficiency and energy saving in our city to keep up with latest experiences and best practices that exist in Europe,” said Mr. Aliaksandr Pazniak, the Mayor of Polotsk. “The Sustainable Energy Action Plan is, in fact, the embodiment of how these state-of-the-art practices are applied in Polotsk in accordance with the local needs of the city and its people.”
SURE focuses on two cities in Belarus and Morocco, and aims to help these establish transnational networks and develop the capacity to elaborate their own sustainable energy action plans (SEAP). It will also prepare and implement pilot actions and organize public awareness activities to help a broad range of stakeholders and beneficiaries understand what options are available to them. Two EU cities, Murcia (Spain) and Friedrichshafen (Germany), both of which have extensive experience in sustainable urban energy planning, will guide Polotsk and Salé through the process of fulfilling the Covenant obligations by providing them support in all envisaged activities.
CIUDAD runs from 2009 to 2012 and co-finances 21 local grant projects in the Neighbourhood's South and East. The projects reflect the overall objective of CIUDAD and in particular the following themes:
• Environmental Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
• Sustainable Economic development and reduction of social disparities and
• Good governance and sustainable urban development planning.
The Covenant of Mayors initiative was launched in 2008, as a priority for action at local and regional level within the EU Energy Efficiency Action Plan. It consists of the formal commitment by City Councils to go beyond the EU objective of 20% reduction of CO2 emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy actions.
More than 2,000 cities and towns in all 27 EU Member States and 10 third countries have signed the Covenant. This represents a population in excess of 127 million people, and a potential for curbing CO2 emissions by over 132 million tons per year. (ENPI Info Centre)
Read more
Press release
ENPI Info Centre - Polotsk and Salé officially join the Covenant of Mayors 
CIUDAD – SURE fact sheet
CIUDAD – fiche and news 
CIUDAD website
Covenant of Mayors – website

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