Following the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power station in the Ukraine, 70 per cent of the fallout landed on neighbouring Belarus. Suffering from severe and widespread radioactive contamination, the country that emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union, remained isolated from the West under the cloak of a communist-style command economy.
In the 15 years since the disaster it hasn’t received one penny of aid. But today the World Bank is in Belarus developing an assistance strategy to put the country back on its feet. Instead of pumping in money to central government they want to consult with the country’s fledgling civil society groups. Earth Report follows the World Bank team as it gets feedback from the Belarus business community, environmentalists NGOs and other community organisations and visits one of the few parts of the country to have escaped contamination: the Belovezhskaya National Park – the last habitat of the European bison and the country’s pride and joy.