The Government today adopted a new strategy for aid initiatives in Belarus for the period 2011-2014. The strategy focuses on additional initiatives to support democratic development and respect for human rights in the country, a need that has become more apparent in light of the presidential elections in December last year and the repressive actions that followed.
"Sweden has actively supported the EU's forceful reaction to the unacceptable actions of the Belarusian leadership. At the same time, it is important not to isolate the Belarusian people. It is now more important than ever to create new points of contact and further develop existing networks with civil society and actors positively inclined to change," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson.
The new strategy for aid initiatives in Belarus means that Sweden's initiatives will focus on three sectors: democracy, human rights and gender equality, the environment, and market development. The volume of Swedish aid will amount to some SEK 120 million per year.
"As a close neighbour in the Baltic Sea region, it is in the interests of Sweden and the EU that, in addition to extensive support for democratic development and increased respect for human rights, we contribute to strong environmental protection in Belarus. This applies particularly to water purification, which affects the Baltic Sea environment. We also want to strengthen the conditions for market development by providing support to small businesses. In both cases, cooperation with civil society will be an important component. Providing support to actors positively inclined to change means that we can contribute to a pluralistic society," says Ms Carlsson.
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