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Mid-Term Review of Supporting Green Urban Development in Small and Medium-Sized Cities in Belarus
Commissioning Unit: Belarus
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 05/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Belarus
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

1. Shift from output-oriented approach (e.g. reports, plans, conferences) of first phase of project to full focus on long-lasting, sustainable, and impactful results (policy adoption, change in planning process, securing of financing for priority projects in the plans, additional mindset change, realization of meaningful, GHG-reducing demos that, together with priority projects in plans, achieve 91,100 ton CO2e direct ER target). This is an overall recommendation supported by several of the recommendations below, but is important in and of itself for: (a) setting the overall vision to shift the nature of activities undertaken from early-stage document preparation and conferences to activities more directly linked to achievement of sustainable results and (b) requiring a clear plan for achieving the GHG direct ER target.

Elaboration: The recommendation is supported by other recommendations on policy adoption, changing the urban planning process, securing financing for priority projects, promoting deeper mindset change of local officials, and refining the project demos. It is, however, distinct in calling for cross-cutting project management actions (e.g. revision of log frame and indicators) and preparation of realistic GHG ER strategy to achieve the 91,100 ton CO2e direct ER target. The recommendation should be achieved via adaptive management, which allows changes, deletions, and replacements of original project outputs and activities in favor of revised ones focused on achieving project outcomes and higher level impacts. As a general rule of thumb, in the revised activities for the project going forward, report preparation/ holding of workshops should be stopped or reduced to a minimum. These have provided a good basis of information that the project is now able to distill into key recommendations. Evidence: The main activities of the project to date have been preparation of reports and plans and holding of conferences. The project is said to be holding ten or more events per year. Reports, plans, and feasibility study documents (not including project management documents) number around 60. Of these, over ten are over 90 pages. The project is to be applauded for meeting its target of three policies being adopted/ revised with project input, though one is attributed to work during the project design stage. To have the transformative impact on urban planning, urban transport, and urban EE that the project hopes to achieve, several more policy adoptions need to be achieved, yet progress towards most of these is limited. Installation of the demos has not begun. Most cities are unclear how, aside from the project demos, initiatives in the project-supported plans will be financed, though the project has begun via adaptive management to address financing issues. Residents of cities have not been substantially engaged in plan preparation, though post-MTR mission, plans for public hearings were begun to be made. Stakeholders see no significant change in master plan preparation process for small/medium cities and are not optimistic change will come.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

During the first half of the project implementation period the project team focused mainly on studies related to identification of the current situation in Belarus, capacity building and preparation of feasibility studies and design documentations required for the respective pilots. During the second half, the project will focus on practical implementation of the pilots to reduce green-house gas emissions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare the respective ADWP focusing mainly on pilots and other actions with concrete results and long-lasting impact
[Added: 2019/09/03] [Last Updated: 2021/01/04]
UNDP and MoEnv 2020/12 Completed (1) Most of activities of the approved AWP for 2019-2021 are practical ones focusing on implementation of demo projects as well as development of the proposals for the amendment of the national legislation to support the sustainability of the activities of the Project; (2) Project ideas for follow-up actions are developed and related to energy management at the municipal level; ESCO mechanisms, development of green and blue infrastructure for municipalities, green finance and green procurement, open municipality and smart cities; (3) Assessment of GHG direct and indirect emissions is implemented based on results of monitoring of results of pilot initiatives and national-level policies. History
2. Recommendation:

2. Apply for extension of up to 18 months, contingent on plan/ reallocation of budget so it is available over extended period to focus on achievement of aforementioned long-lasting and impactful results. In addition to providing needed time to monitor the demos, justification will be: opportunity to achieve more policy successes (likely exceeding targets), to impact the planning process, to assist cities in obtaining financing for priority projects (a new target added through adaptive management), and to achieve the political will for more impactful SUT demos; additional time needed to ensure GHG direct ERs of 91,100 tons CO2e targeted are achieved through demos combined with other priority projects.

Elaboration: Before applying for extension, project should have clear plan and budget reallocation to ensure high-impact results referenced in recommendation 1. Budget should allow for retaining of experts throughout project duration to promote policy change to policy makers/ change in planning approach to planners and to assist cities in preparing priority projects and securing financing. Reallocation may require a reduction in investment amounts for project demos. While this is not typically encouraged, in the case of the SUT demos, findings suggest the most impactful demos are those that are lower cost, but that require political will to achieve (e.g. bus lanes, restrictions on driving of private cars, parking restrictions or parking fees, etc.). Thus, more funds for TA (to convince local officials to adopt such measures and to ensure local residents are on board) and less for investment may make sense in this case. According to current budget plans (if the project were to end on schedule, with TE in about 1.5 years), about 11% of demo investment funds will be spent on TA instead. If project is extended an additional 1.5 years, leaving three years to the TE, then about 24% of demo investment funds may be spent on TA instead. Justification: Project is poised for potential very high impact – to incorporate environmental concerns and people-centeredness into the nation’s urban planning process - but needs more time to achieve this. Evidence of potential is that, influenced by project preparation, requirement for Brest to prepare a “symbio plan” was included in nation’s Green Economy Action Plan in 2016; and, in 2018, BelNIIP was required to annex that plan to Brest’s Master Plan. Also, project has the potential to expand impact, leveraging outside investment, if it has time to pursue financing for cities so that SECAPs, GUDPs, and SUMP don’t just “sit on the shelf.” Results of project’s financing study show financing of city “green” projects is indeed very challenging, so that support in pursuing financing is needed. And, the project is unlikely to meet its CO2 GHG DER target without these additional pilots. Further, after showing a lack of promise during the MTR mission, the SUT demo efforts have finally begun to show good successes, with Polotsk recently committing to 4 km of experimental bus lanes and likely time-ofday based private car driving restrictions in city center, showing that time and diligence on the part of the project can result in more impactful demos. Lastly, given one-year delay in start, extension is needed to monitor and assess demo results.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

3. Pursue a set of meaningful national-level policy achievements (namely, the adoption or revision of national strategies, standards, acts, resolutions, policies, action plans, and/ or regulations to promote GUD, city EE, and SUT). Adopt a new and targeted approach to do so, with face-to-face one-on-one “briefings” of officials as centerpiece.

Elaboration: The new approach will: (i) have as its main method high-level briefings (brief, 15 to 20 minute, one-on-one meetings) of relevant national officials in which an expert and person skilled in delivering very succinct to-the-point briefings educate and exchange with the policy maker on policy recommendations, key findings/ results of project studies and plans, approach of GUD, SUT/SUMP, and urban EE/SECAP, etc.; (ii) include preparation of “digested” versions of key project reports, typically just one or two pages, along with, for each meeting, a written one or two page summary of the same briefing content that will be delivered live; (iii) concurrently pursue policy achievement and shift in mindset. The project will have roughly 11 policy targets beyond what has been achieved already, as detailed in the footnote associated with this sentence. 22 Given the challenge of achieving policy adoption, the project certainly won’t be expected to achieve all of 11 these targets, but can pursue all of them in hopes of getting some of them, perhaps 3 to 5, adopted during the lifetime of the project and setting the stage for several of the others to be adopted after project close. Already, the project has achieved three policy successes/ adoptions (with four targeted in original design), so these additional 11 targets fit with an ambitious approach in pursuing higher level project impacts. It may also include, pending support of UNDP CO and MNREP, a carefully crafted letter to Head of Presidential Administration, formerly mayor of Novopolotsk during project preparation, in pursuit of an executive order to make the issue of GU Planning important, so that some action is taken.23 Project may also consider working with certain think tanks and NGOs that are influential in affecting national level thinking on policy (namely via their thought pieces) to convey its key messages to policy makers. Evidence: Key policy makers are not attending project events or reading project reports. They conveyed to the MTR team that they are very busy, particularly due to reductions in staffing. Some think GUD is just about “green areas” (trees/ grasses) in cities. Stakeholders experienced in interacting with government officials in Belarus convey: (i) While officials themselves draft policy, they may refer to respected outside documents for support. (ii) Certain officials are quite serious and will appreciate briefing input if of high quality – they may not see benefit in attending conferences, but respond well to “ad hoc” meetings. Stakeholders agree an executive order is the best way to bring GU Planning to the forefront/ achieve cross-ministerial attention and, while a long-shot, worth a try. Influence of the Head of the Presidential Administration is widely recognized. Her role in Novopolotsk during project design may be a positive if plans for the public transport/ car aspects of demo are made bolder/ more compelling. Experienced stakeholders indicate certain highly respected think tanks

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

4. Adopt new and targeted approach to influence the city planning process. Engage BelNIIP, and potentially other state and private sector urban planners (e.g. MinskGrado, Level80, etc.), in one-onone meetings with project experts and in planning process/ policy related assignment, if possible. Bring the “clients” (MoAC and city executive committees) into the process once progress is made with the planners. Pursue other channels, such as standards and traffic authorities, to influence city planning process

Elaboration: A. Small meetings between BelNIIP and project experts will focus on GUDPs and SUMP, with BelNIIP feedback on how these could be useful to master plan process. BelNIIP may be concerned that GUDPs are too general, but has not seen any yet. BelNIIP is working on draft Architectural, Urban Planning, and Construction Code and next year (2020) will prepare draft National Urban Development Policy - new ideas/ insights, measures, etc. from the project might be useful input. Innovative private urban design firm might be included in some small group discussions with BelNIIP. B. In the past, BelNIIP could not participate in bids for project assignments, because UNDP contract norms do not fit with requirements of certain type of state organizations. It's not clear if these problems can be overcome. If so, areas of possible contract work to discuss are: (1) integration of GUDP with the master plan process and (2) draft national legislation to promote GUDP. C. MoAC and city executive committees, as the “clients” of the MP preparation process, can also influence desired changes in the process. They should be consulted and their views and ideas incorporated into the discussion with the planners. These consultation with the “clients” can be integrated with other activities. In the case of MoAC, policy briefings under the Action Plan for Recommendation 3 can and should include, in additions to discussions about targeted policies, discussions on the planning process. Work with city executive committees in executing pilots, preparing plans, and getting priority projects financed will also be an opportunity for incorporating discussions of the planning process, seeking their views to share with the planners, and encouraging them as customers also to independently seek improvement of the process. D. Other avenues to influence the city planning process include pursuit of establishment of urban planning standards by the standards authority, pursuit of support of Traffic Police (who have approval authority of transport aspects of city plans), and pursuit of relevant policies (see recommendation 3). Project is pursuing many of these; and should fashion them into a coherent strategy to influence the urban planning process.Evidence: A/B. BelNIIP has not been attending project events. While many SECAP, SUMP, and GUDP measures that do not involve “pouring concrete” would not require revision of general plan, most stakeholders concur that BelNIIP, as the entity responsible for all city master plans in Belarus except Mink’s, needs to be engaged in order to find a way to integrate the GUDP and SUMP process with the master plan and transport annex process. The MTR team found substantial criticism of BelNIIP in the urban planning sector, possibly making public events to discuss new approaches unattractive/ unconstructive to BelNIIP. BelNIIP’s role in drafting key urban planning policies is also important to project’s aim. C. MoAC’s input can be very influential in terms of efforts to change the urban planning process, as they are the organization that orders the master plans prepared by BelNIIP, so are a key client. The city executive committees can be considered a client or the end user for whom the plans are prepared. Bottom up push from the cities is believed by stakeholders to be part of an effective mechanism for influencing the master planning process. D. Some of the alternative avenues have already been seen to have an influence. The Traffic Police, for example, did not approve a certain master plan prepared by BelNIIP until the transport section was improved.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

5. Building on recently launched financing support work, put substantial focus on assisting cities to prepare and secure financing for specific priority projects in the plans that have been prepared.

Elaboration: This will be a key shift in the project’s focus from preparing plans, which may be at risk of “sitting on the shelf,” to actively helping cities get priority projects realized. The team has already launched this kind of “securing financing” support to one additional project in each pilot city (for a total of 3 projects). The project may wish to extend this support to its 5 other SECAP and 5 other GUDP partners (including Brest). This will diversify risk, allow the project to present options and/or packages to various financiers, and expand chances of success. Focus should be on projects that reduce GHG emissions so that the project will meet or exceed its target of 91,100 tons CO2e of direct GHG ERs. For Novopolotsk tram extension, an assessment of life cycle costs/benefits as compared to other options should be carried out before putting substantial effort into proposal.24 Support should be very proactive. Involved experts should actively reach out to funding institutions including EBRD, BDB, Chinese loans, other banks and donors, as well as sources associated with the state budget, and assist cities in holding meetings and negotiating with these parties. Since the time of the MTR mission, the project team has already held fruitful discussions with EBRD, which could be continued as the project proposals are prepared. The aim to achieve financing of such projects is very challenging, because cities in Belarus depend mainly on state funding and do not have much of their own revenue sources with which to repay loans. Yet, it is clearly a missing link, and any progress the project can make in this area will be valuable. Evidence: Most cities consulted were unclear how, aside from the project demos, initiatives in the project-supported plans will be financed. Results of project-supported financing study show how challenging financing is. At same time, city officials’ lack of experience and connections suggest that project support can make a difference in getting their projects visibility with potential financiers.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6. Revise approach for Polotsk/Novopolotsk demos building on recent, post-MTR mission progress in Polotsk: (i) reconsider selection of key measures, with emphasis on achieving longterm GHG ERs and making sure that the project targets, including direct ERs of 91,100 tonnes of CO2e, are met; (ii) engage city executives and coordinating committees frequently with project experts so they understand demo goals, budget, and efficacy of various options; (iii) convince cities to adopt low-cost, high efficacy measures as part of demo “package.” (See 9iii.)

Elaboration: Project should aim for a package of measures, including both those financed by the project and low-cost measures adopted concurrently by the cities.25 The measures should be those that do the most to reduce GHGs/ local emissions and enhance mobility, making sure that the project’s CO2e targets are met. Cost effectiveness should be considered. For bicycles, in addition to 3 km of paved, separate trail, the project should continue to encourage the cities to adopt as much of the proposed 30 km of bicycle lanes on roads as possible, as these are likely to achieve more GHG ERs than the separate trail, and to keep bump barriers for bicycle lanes in place year-round. A low-cost investment of around USD20,000 - 40,000 might be used to equip city with bike racks, institute pilot courtyard bike storage or storage where trash chute in buildings used to be, and (if needed) provide bike racks to buses. While the bicycle work is symbolically quite positive, stakeholders should be presented with the evidence that high impact public transport/ private car measures have the potential for much greater GHG ERs and improvement in local air quality/ reduction in congestion, but that measures must be selected strategically.26 They should also be presented with the evidence that lowcost measures are often among the most effective in achieving such results. After the MTR mission, the project achieved very notable success in that its Traffic Management Study for Polotsk convinced the Polotsk Executive Committee to agree to adopt 4 km of bus lanes (with barriers) in city center as an experiment, likely to be accompanied by driving restrictions for private cars in city center at certain times of day. These will be the first real bus lanes in Belarus. (Efforts in Minsk did not include barriers, were not continuous, and did not really deter cars from entering bus lanes.) It is recommended that the project build on these initial successes in Polotsk to encourage the adoption of more such measures and to ensure the Polotsk experimental bus lanes are successful and adopted for the long run. For public transport in Novopolotsk, strong effort should be put on convincing Novopolotsk to institute test bus lane of up to 3 km on Molodezhnaya St. and parking ban on other parts of the bus/tram corridor approved for further action in 2015.27 Benefits of improvement of bus stops and provision of signboards with bus arrival times (currently targeted to be among the main expenditure areas of the SUT demos) should be compared to options that speed up buses or make cars less attractive. If it is still decided to improve bus stops, the question of whether an incremental addition to 20 or more bus stops will be more impactful than full renovation of 5 may be considered. Contentious issue of whether synchronized traffic lights can benefit buses or simply serve to increase cars should be carefully assessed. If adopted, synchronized traffic lights should focus on improving flow of large capacity buses, rather than catering to private cars. (Recent developments indicate agreement to keep the “ideal speed” for the synchronized traffic lights to a speed suitable to large capacity buses.) To reduce private cars, other measures, such as parking restriction, parking fees (with concurrent work under recommendation 3 on parking policy), and roads that do not allow cars, should be promoted. Innovative low cost measures, such as lagging work times at the refinery to reduce congestion, should also be considered. To ensure city executives and coordinating committees understand the goals, budget, and efficacy of various options, project transport experts should become more closely engaged in advising the cities and facilitating their meetings at which the measures will be decided upon.Evidence: The MTR team found during the MTR mission that selection of measures is currently not following an orderly process that emphasizes long term GHG ERs/ local air quality benefit. The controversy on the synchronized traffic lights (of whether they will benefit buses or instead simply increase cars) is a serious one that has not been worked through, though recent feedback from the project team suggests a lower ideal speed for the traffic lights will favor buses for the “green wave.” The pilot bus lane in Novopolotsk, considered by designers to be a critical measure for public transport, does not appear to be going forward. Yet, just recently, a month or two after the MTR mission, Polotsk has agreed to a 4 km experimental bus lane with barriers, which is a very promising development, the sort of thing the project should pursue more of. At the time of the mission, it seemed that most stakeholders were not very enthusiastic about the public transport measures that were at the time the main ones being considered (improved bus stops and signboards), perhaps because their impact on bus ridership is uncertain. The new bus lane initiative in Polotsk is likely to be generating more excitement now that it has been raised and is approved. The project supported a traffic management study for Polotsk to support the need to understand how to reroute traffic for its upcoming, temporary bridge closure. The MTR team questioned the long-term benefit and suitability of reallocating infrastructure funds for a study, but recently learned it is this study that convinced Polotsk to test a 4 km experimental bus lane with barriers and potentially private car restrictions (based on time of day) in city center. It may be a lesson learned that neither the public transport feasibility study nor the ISUMP seemed to have much influence in convincing Polotsk to take such actions, while the detailed design of the Traffic Management Study did. Experts generally agree that in addition to improving public transport, there needs to be a push, making cars less attractive through parking fees or driving restrictions, to get people to choose public transport over cars. Thus, it is encouraging that Polotsk is considering private car restrictions, though more are needed, including in Novopolotsk. Coordinating committees do not seem to have clear goals (such as GHG ERs, improvement of local air quality, reduction of congestion). They have not been empowered with an understanding of the budget available, so are providing input to decision makers without full understanding of the situation.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

7. Before moving forward with smart meter demo, clearly identify and confirm specific means and amount of energy savings and GHG ERs (current preliminary estimate is just 252 tons CO2 direct ERs). Adjust demo plans accordingly to maximize savings and GHG ERs. Clarify to all involved.

Elaboration: It is agreed that adding meters for heating (whether smart or not smart) where there were none before will save energy. Yet, the source of expected energy savings from replacing regular meters for electricity, water, and gas with smart meters needs to be clearly explained. One explanation is that data collected by utilities from smart meters can lead to identification and reduction of line losses. Whether this will be the case with the proposed demo needs to be verified specifically. If utility action will be a main source of savings, it should be confirmed that the utilities indeed will be following up as needed to achieve the savings. If the smart meters will not lead to energy savings, alternatives (such as a focus on heating meters only) might be considered. If it is confirmed that the other smart meters will save energy, how they will do this should be explained to all; and the demos carefully designed so that this targeted smart meter savings is indeed achieved. Preliminary estimates for the total lifetime direct CO2 ERs for the smart meter demo are 252 tons CO2. This is much less than the 10,190 tons lifetime direct CO2 ERs estimated for the laundry demo, which the smart meter demo is to replace. Evidence: The MTR team found that, aside from the benefit of metering heating (where there were no meters before), the source of energy saving via smart meters is not well understood by stakeholders in Novogrudok. Internationally, the evidence/ experience of smart meters resulting in energy savings (as compared to regular meters) is quite mixed. Some residents of demo building are hesitant to agree to participate, probably because the benefit is unclear. After the MTR mission, estimates of the proposed smart meter demo’s GHG ERs were provided. Yet, the mechanism of these ERs (aside from those of providing heating meters where there were none before) have not yet been clarified.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

8. Develop clear means of communicating main aim of the project (e.g. “to incorporate environmental sustainability and people-centeredness in city planning and ensure priority projects are implemented”) and ensure all stakeholders understand from the start. Eliminate confusion that “green planning” is just about “green areas” or that project is just very generally addressing the SDGs

as that described above) that can be considered to unify its many activities. This main aim should be used to test the relevance of activities and refine them as needed. Efforts should be made to ensure that all stakeholders understand this main aim of the project, which should be introduced early in the conversation and reiterated throughout. Specific measures should be taken to clear up confusion that the project is just generally about the SDGs or that “green planning” is only about “green areas,” Evidence: Both government officials and NGO stakeholders consulted confused GUDP with “green area” work. Project includes 7 SDGs on letterhead. Project design is complex with three different types of plans and demos related to bicycles, public transport, city lighting, and apartment metering.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation:

9. Increase focus of city official mindset change work, ensuring they understand: (i) why they need a plan rather than just measures; (ii) goals of measures; (iii) how low cost measures, such as those in transport can save money and be more effective than new infrastructure; (iv) how GUD and SUMPs should be promoted as TORs for Master Plan and its Transport Annex. Further leverage President’s Academy of Public Administration and leverage official government site visits for heads of regions, districts, and cities.

Elaboration: Good progress has been made in city official mindset work, but gaps remain. Mindset efforts focused on the four items above should be carried out continuously with demo cities and other cities project supports in preparing SECAPs/ GUDPs. A course on GUD might be designed for and held at the President’s Academy,28 if it can be ensured that only officials with real interest will attend. Several times a year, Council of Ministers organizes local officials to carry out site visits, so project should ensure its demos, once operational, are among those visited. To better understand the mindset change initially intended, project team may wish to discuss with original local designers of SUT demos. Evidence: Some officials see SECAPs and GUDPs as mere “packaging” for donors and don’t see underlying benefit of having a strategy or vision. Initial aim of SUT demo was to emphasize benefits of low-cost measures (e.g. bus lanes, parking fees). At the time of the MTR mission, it was found that the cities were no longer planning these. In a positive development, since then, Polotsk is now planning experimentation with bus lanes in city center and possibly private car driving restrictions, but Novopolotsk lacks plans for these kind of measures. While the project has agreement with President’s Academy to share materials, no specific GUD curriculum has been developed and no specific GUD course is planned.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

10. Engage city residents (and, possibly, other non-governmental and commercial stakeholders) in the planning process. Educate them as in item above. Work to achieve simple language in visions/plans that residents can understand. Ensure plans reflect their priorities

Elaboration: Work should be done, especially in the case of GUDPs, to ensure that vision and content of plans reflect priorities of residents. Because there may be some history of a “complaint relationship” between city officials and residents, work may be needed to develop a positive exchange. Project might consider working with NGOs or other initiatives that have experience in positive engagement of local residents, especially those with experience engaging city residents in urban design process. At the time of the MTR mission, citizens had not yet been involved in any way in the process of preparing GUDPs,SECAPs, or the ISUMP, though city officials had been extensively involved. After the MTR mission, the project team began to plan public hearings in pilot cities to discuss the GUDPs and ISUMP, a move that is quite congruent with this recommendation. Evidence: So far, local residents have not been involved in GUDP, SECAP, or SUMP design, though plans for public hearings are encouraging. One source found Brest residents are not aware of main ideas/ content of Symbio City and their main concerns may not be reflected in the plan.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation:

11. Consider expanding engagement to other key groups: (i) involving private sector designers and students via competition for design of urban blocks/pilot projects; (ii) working with education sector to incorporate GUD in official university urban design curriculum; (iii) leveraging relationship with select influential think tanks and NGOs to promote policy and process change.

Elaboration: A. Involvement of private sector designers and students in a competition for the project’s urban block design could generate new ideas, attract national attention and potentially investment, and provide a positive feedback loop for improving the city’s GUDP. Currently, project is planning urban block design for each of the three pilot cities. It may wish to expand work to its other GUDP cities and especially, given national government attention to the Symbio Plan, Brest. B. Education of future urban designers may be one channel for the project to pursue its aim of changing the urban planning process. Working with department chairs in the field, such as at BNTU, may be a means to achieve curriculum and accreditation change that incorporates GUD. C. Working with influential think tanks and NGOs via their “thought pieces” may be a means to influence policy as targeted in recommendation 3. Evidence: A. So far, private sector designers and students are involved in the project only as consumers of content, not as active participants. Yet, the urban design work of innovative designers, such as Level 80, have attracted Presidential-level attention. B. Nowadays, student urban design projects are of new developments only, rather than improvement of existing urban blocks. C. Experienced stakeholders indicate certain highly respected think tanks/ NGOs influence national-level policy in Belarus through their thought pieces and blogs. So far, project has not engaged such groups as active participants.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation:

12. Exchange with GEF/WB Global Platform for Sustainable Cities to harmonize indicators and get information on/connections for channels for financing sustainable city initiatives.

Elaboration: Project has worked hard to select GUDP indicators suitable to Belarus. Involvement with the Platform will ensure Belarus follows international best practice in indicators and gets access to information on international sources and methods of financing GUDP measures. Evidence: Platform involves 28 cities in 11 countries and USD 151 million in grants. Platform is funded by GEF and reflects GEF’s interest in promoting international best practice in unified fashion.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation:

13. Building on plans for preparation in 2019 of a video on the street lighting demo, prepare comprehensive video on all demos and other initiatives for which financing is secured. Video should be quite attractive, such as through use of drones. Also, prepare a lessons learned study and short electronic brochures on the demo projects.

Elaboration: Project Communications Officer has worked hard to avoid “business as usual” in communications; and the same principle should be used to develop an out-of-the-ordinary video covering all demos and other initiatives for which financing is secured and installation achieved during the lifetime of the project. The lessons learned study should be based both on findings from monitoring of the demos and other installed initiatives and earlier experience gained during demo preparation. The project has found that paper brochures no longer catch reader attention, though electronic brochures that succinctly highlight demo results may be prepared and circulated. Evidence: Videos are widely used by content marketers in private sector, suggesting their effectiveness. Project has already faced and overcome challenges, such as getting Polotsk on board with pursuing low cost, high impact SUT measures that may be politically challenging, such as the nation’s first true bus lanes. Thus, lessons on what worked and what didn’t will be valuable.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/05]

Key Actions:

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