GB No. 4, spring 1991

presented to


  1. Investing in the Central and Eastern European Environment is necessary not only to stop the deterioration already going on and to protect human health, but it is also a sine qua non for economic development.
  2. Central and Eastern Europe present a serious threat to the regional European and global environment.
  3. The damage to our environment was done by the communist system through the centrally-planned economic system, censorship and the "nomenklatura". As you well know, however, we did not choose the system. We were first put under Soviet domination by the superpowers, then the whole West gave the USSR "carte blanche".
  4. In the 1970s, we received a lot of credit from the West without any serious feasibility studies. A vast part of those credits was spent on direct investment in the most polluting industries.

II. Proposal.

  1. All these reasons make us very sensitive on the issue of collaboration between East and West. We need to work together, we need to consult you, to provide you with appropriate information about the Central and East European countries in order to prepare an assistance program, called by some of us a new "Marshall Plan" for East European countries, a program which will put our countries on a sustainable development path.
  2. There are two groups of targets we would like to focus on in our work with the EC in this program:
  3. The first group of targets includes items such as:
    1. introducing a system of incentives for EC companies and organizations as well as for Eastern European countries - governments, companies and NGOs - to invest in environmental activities such as energy efficiency and conservation, organic agriculture, recycling and waste management, production of pollution control equipment, etc.;
    2. creating a code of conduct for EC companies - the same for the EC and East European regions;
    3. seeing the EC raise the environ- mental awareness of the newly- established European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as other financial institu- tions such as the World Bank and IMF;
    4. seeing a priority given to the transfer of know-how, technologies and capital investment in environ- mentally-sensitive industries within existing EC programs;
    5. seeing the EC taking a very active role in a creative approach to debt issues for countries with a large foreign debt: this can take the form of Debt-for-Nature swamps, or sustainable develop- ment, as well as in debt forgive- ness when a country takes a sustainable development path; and
    6. We would like to participate in already existing environmental programs.
  4. In the case of capacity building and/or enhancing, we need to collaborate in ways such as:
    1. Organizing training for the Eastern European countries oriented on the whole range of environmental issues;
    2. Developing an integrated European monitoring system and enhancing environmental statistics and data exchange;
    3. Supporting exchanges of environ- mental experts.
  5. In presenting these proposals for collaboration, we strongly believe that the building of institutions and of a capacity for sustainable development is in the best interest of both communities in the East and the West, and in the best interest of our common future.

Dr. Zbigniew Bochniarz
Polish Ecological Club
Friends of the Earth International
on behalf of the 55 representatives
of Central and East European NGOs

GB No. 4, spring 1991 | Contents