GB No. 1(16)/95
A meeting in the Ministry of Environment, Nature and Forest Resources Protection (MO¦ZNiL - Ministerstwo Ochrony ¦rodowiska, Zasobów Naturalnych i Le¶nictwa) was held on 28th December, 1994. Below is a report from the press conference after the first session of the Committee of Sustainable Development.
In the beginning the Minister of Environment Protection pointed out that Poland is the first country in Eastern Europe to create a committee like that. He added that there were various ways of bringing such committees to life in other countries and our committee is Interdepartment, which makes it similar to the German one. In addition, one of the members of the committee said that its structure and possibility to influence decisions of the government had not been defined yet. For example, the Economic Committee of the Cabinet (KERM - Komitet Ekonomiczny Rady Ministrów) or the Social and Economic Committee of the Cabinet (KSERM Komitet Społeczno-Ekonomiczny Rady Ministrów) can strongly influence the government's proposals because some documents have to be opined by these bodies.
One of the journalists brought up a subject of the role of the new Committee. Mr Żelichowski, the Minister of Environmental Protection (Minister Ochrony ¦rodowiska), said "Pollution is being reduced but co-ordination is needed." Professor Nowicki added that the Committee would create "an integrated vision of development" and suggest them to the government. The vision would take into account environmental protection in such branches as agriculture, transport, energetics, industry, etc. Additionally, he emphasized that reforms to the system of education were necessary and more importance should be attached to the departments of health and culture (that is - to the non-productive ones). He said that the media and teachers would be helpful in those reforms. Other statements showed that members of the Committee were not certain what power they would have.
A question about relations between the Committee and the Ecological Council attached to the President of Poland was omitted by Mr Żelichowski: "We will invite members of the Ecological Council to our meetings. Besides, Professor Nowicki is a member of both bodies."
A question about the role of NGOs produced the same response. Then Mr Żelichowski confirmed that the Greens could be invited in accordance with lists which have been made during meetings held in MO¦ZNiL by Mrs Teresa Orło¶ (now the one-person Separate Section of Ecological Education) since 1992. Incidentally, why is this section called "ecological education" while its task is to improve contacts between MO¦ZNiL and NGOs? Are we really needed (for the Minister) only to provide education? Next question referred to the number of women in the Committee (4 out of 29 people). Mr Żelichowski smiled, "I don't want to make a joke of it but it is the man who knows best what women need." And added, "We will try to increase the role of women both in the Committee and in society."(The undersigned, together with Leszek Michno, came to a conclusion that in other country the Minister would have to go into hiding after giving such an opinion the women who were present at the conference were a bit irritated but did not come to blows over it.). "Will there be any fixed dates for realization of particular stages of sustainable development?" asked a BORE representative. (BORE - Biuro Obsługi Ruchów Ekologicznych - the Service Office of Ecological Movements). Mr Żelichowski: "From time to time (?? - DS) the chairperson reports to the Prime Minister about the Committee's work and makes suggestions." Other subjects included harmonizing our regulations with the European Union, installing catalytic converters in cars and filters in electric power stations, etc. In my opinion members of the Committee still think only about "the end of the pipe" (that is, about effects, not causes of destroying environment). The only positive exception was Professor Nowicki's attitude. He notices that people should change their system of values and ways of perceiving the world around. Generally, the Committee of Sustainable Development could be called a facade institution on its present stage. Maybe in future its members will be able to influence permanent politics of Polish government.
The following is to be executed:
2. The members of the Committee are:
Mr Marek Haliniak - the Ministry of Environmental Protection;
The Committee's tasks include integrating economical and social development with the needs of environmental and nature protection (ecodevelopment) through co-ordination of undertakings at governmental level; initiating, taking part in preparations and providing co-ordination of ecological projects which protect individual ecological safety of Polish people, and especially:
When performing the tasks from 3 the chairperson of the Committee can:
5. Organisational and technical services for the Committee and means connected with its activities are provided by MO¦ZNiL.
6. The chairperson of the Committee reports on the Committee's work and conclusions to the Prime Minister periodically.
7. The instruction comes into force immediately after being signed.
The Prime Minister
reprinted from Zielone Brygady 2/95