Information seminar on green management in cities

An information seminar on green management in cities within our projects COMMA, CoMGI, and Happy Rain was held in Mahilyow on March 23, 2016. Experts from EKAPRAEKT, IWO, Green Network, National Academy of Sciences, and the administration of Jelgava shared their experiences in involving the public in municipal management. The seminar was attended by representatives of various regions of Belarus, members of municipal administrations, enterprises, non-governmental organizations, business representatives and other stakeholders.

After a short welcome speech by Ihar Dan'kou (Mahilyow City Administration) and Iryna Usava (EKAPRAEKT), Maria Falaleeva made an introductory presentation on environmentally-oriented participatory management in cities.

 

The main topics of discussion were housing management, green city infrastructure, establishment of the transparent information and decision-making system. Oleg Kukuts from the housing company in Jelgava introduced the electronic system for managing an apartment building and informing the homeowners about all matters of joint home ownership: paying utility bills, opinion polls, communication between the housing manager and the homeowner.

Petra Vermke, former chairperson of Board of Deputies of the Berlin district Marzahn-Hellersdorf, presented examples of public involvement in the Agenda of the 21st century.

During thematic working groups, important issues for the region were discussed, including the improvement of public spaces. Citizens can also participate in discussions about the regional budget to plan and finance for the majority important activities. Regional associations are trying to get financing from European support programs to improve the energy efficiency of public and residential buildings, support information centres and their work with the homeowners. Belarusian participants were interested in German experience in dealing with the separate waste collection. To solve this problem in Belarus, it is important to inform citizens about the benefits of separate collection and its economic advantages.

Norbert Ludtke, a former municipal politician of the Berlin district Marzahn-Hellersdorf, shared his experience in planning and development of green infrastructure, which is based on cooperation between district administrations and private companies.

More detailed and substantive discussions took place in the afternoon during the thematic working groups. One of them on the housing management was moderated by the director of the International Association of Property Management (IVIM) Gennadiy Kalyonov. At the end of the seminar, main challenges and opportunities for cooperative management in Belarusian cities were identified, as well as stakeholders, barriers of cooperation, adequate resources and practical steps for the implementation of pilot projects in Mahilyow, Baranavichy and Chavusy.