Ministry Preparing New Environment Strategy, Wants Public to Take Part

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Bratislava, February 13 (TASR) – Slovakia might get a new Environmental Policy Strategy for the first time in many years, as the Environment Ministry plans to submit one to a Cabinet session by December, TASR learnt from the ministry’s State Secretary Norbert Kurilla on Monday.

“The ministry wants a new, modern and targeted strategy. The current one is already 25 years old, and it’s no longer reflecting contemporary needs,” said Kurilla, adding that the public can join the preparation work.

The current strategy has been in effect since 1993. Kurilla pointed to the fact that many changes have occurred since then in legislation, as well as in the quality of the environment. “Many partial strategies and targets have been adopted since then, but none of them have been cross-sectional and they haven’t created long-term targets for state environmental policy either,” explained Kurilla. The document should react to the new challenges that Slovakia faces, such as the recent smog problem.

According to Kurilla, the new strategy shouldn’t be an “academic” document, but should provide a comprehensible vision that would be acceptable both for experts and the broader public. “We want to set a direction for measures to be adopted in the future. So, if laws or executive guidelines are approved or decisions are made on how to use finances, this should reflect the targets and measures included in the environmental strategy,” said Kurilla. The strategy shouldn’t influence the economic targets of other sectors, but should propose how to eliminate their negative impacts on the environment.

The Environmental Policy Institute (IEP) at the Environment  Ministry will be in charge of preparing and coordinating work. It will also cooperate with the Agriculture, Economy, Transport and Construction and Health Ministries. “As it will be an open process, we in no way want to leave the professional public and NGOs out of it. They will be part of seven working groups,” said IEP analyst Pavol Siroky. According to him, the public can send its comments on the strategy until the end of April. An online form has been published on the ministry’s website.

The final draft version of the new strategy should be completed by the end of June. Subsequently, it will undergo a mandatory strategic environmental assessment. “We want to allow a sufficiently long time for all parties involved to comment on the strategy,” said Siroky.

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