Slovakia to have new environmental strategy

The newly prepared strategy, aimed to replace the 25-year-old document, is a new approach to the new challenges Slovakia faces.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP)

Slovakia might get a new Environmental Policy Strategy for the first time in many years, as the Environment Ministry plans to submit such a document to a cabinet session by December.

“The ministry wants a new, modern and targeted strategy,” said ministry’s State Secretary Norbert Kurilla, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “The current one is already 25 years old, and it’s no longer reflecting contemporary needs.”

The public can join preparation work, Kurilla added.

The current strategy has been in effect since 1993. Many changes have occurred since then in legislation, as well as in the quality and understanding of the environment, the state secretary explained.

“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,” Kurilla said, as quoted by TASR.

The document should react to the new challenges that Slovakia faces, such as the recent smog problem.

The new strategy should not be an “academic” document, but should provide a comprehensible vision that would be acceptable both for experts and the broader public, Kurilla said.

“We want to set a direction for measures to be adopted in the future,” Kurilla added, as quoted by TASR. “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.”

The strategy should not influence economic targets of other sectors, but should propose how to eliminate their negative impact on the environment. The Environmental Policy Institute (IEP) at the Environment Ministry will be in charge of preparing and coordinating the work. It will also cooperate with the Agriculture, Economy, Transport 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,” said IEP analyst Pavol Široký, as quoted by TASR. “They will be part of seven working groups.”

The public can send comments on the strategy until the end of April, he added. An online form has been published on the ministry’s website.

The final draft 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,” Široký said, as quoted by TASR.

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