Nature Protection and Protected Area Legislation

Within the framework of the BioREGIO Carpathians project (2011-2014) a thorough analysis of the legislation related to nature conservation and protected areas were conducted by EURAC Bolzano , Italy. A summary of the various country studies is given below:

Czech Republic

Division of PowerUnitary State
Policy on Nature Protection and FundingThe Ministry of Environment is the highest body in charge of nature protection, as regulated by the Act n. 114 of 1992 for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection.  The Ministry of Environment is responsible for both implementation and enforcement.  At  the  regional  and  local level  all  authorities  have  monitoring  and  controlling  powers,  including  people  responsible  for monitoring and enforcement on the ground (i.e. guardian of nature, guardian of forest). There is one special state organization which is responsible for nature and forest protection nationwide: this is the Czech Inspection Organization for Environment. The monitoring and controlling authorities are financed through the state budget.  Data collection and monitoring can also be done by NGOs or volunteers. 
Protected AreasManagement plans for national parks, areas of landscape protection, national nature reserves and national nature monuments have been established at state level, by the Ministry of Environment. The Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic (AOPK CR), which is a state organisation as well, prepares the management plans for areas of landscape and national nature reserves and national nature monuments. The AOPK CR designs also management plans  for  nature  reserves  and  nature  monuments  located  in  areas  already  subject  to  landscape protection. Otherwise, regional authorities make management plans for nature reserves and nature monuments which are not situated into areas of landscape protection.  All  types  of  protected  areas  are  administered  and  managed  by  public  enterprises,  i.e.  the  state through  the  Ministry  of  Environment,  specifically  national  park  administration  authorities  or administration authorities for areas of landscape protection or regional authorities. All types of protected areas are financed through the state budget.

Hungary

Division of Power  Unitary State  
Policy on Nature Conservation & FundingAs of June 2010 there is no single ministry for environmental matters, but they are incorporated into the Ministry of Rural Development. However, this structure is not unified as there are special matters for which the aforementioned Ministry is not responsible. Therefore, some areas are split between several ministries (e.g. tourism is under the responsibility of the Ministry for Rural Development, while transport is administered by the National Development Ministry). All the relevant areas (environment, landscape protection, land use and spatial planning, water, hunting, agriculture, transport, tourism, energy and mining) are controlled at the ministerial level. For those which are not ‘clear’ environmental matters (e.g. tourism) classical environmental authorities are not in charge, but they are managed by some other bodies. -The environmental aspects of a specific matter will be separately examined by environmental authorities; however, the decision will be issued by another authority. This complex structure could cause misunderstandings and the undervaluation of the environmental interests.Furthermore, the official nature conservation sentinel-guard network (i.e. nature protection watchers) takes care of the (protected) nature conservation areas on the spot. – nature  conservation  plans  have  to  be  drafted  and  approved  both  at  state  and local level.The NPA prescribes the establishment of a separated fund for environmental costs within the central budget of the state, which integrates nature conservation costs as well. From this fund should be financed: the execution of the Plan and the fulfilment of international obligations as well as all the nature conservation related activities of the state (especially the operation of  the  nature  conservation  information  system,  ensuring  also  the  administrative  control, educational and social information issues and research) . In addition, the NPA ensures the possibility to ease the financial situation of protected areas with some kind of state support, reduced tax rates or tax reimbursements, or special credit constructions provided by financial institutions supported by the state. The details of these supports should be ruled by government decrees within the framework of the NPA on a case by case basis.
Protected AreasIn  general,  there  should  be  no  direct  connection  between Natura  2000  areas  and  other country-specific types of protected areas. In practical terms, it means that Natura 2000 areas might cover zones that are already protected under another regime (i.e., a national park). Hungary  had  the  obligation  to  propose  potential  Natura  2000  areas  until  2004, Hungary did not apply for postponing the deadline for the full and proper implementation of the two directives. Thus, experts had to make detailed research to fulfil all the requirements before Hungary’s joining the EU.  Municipalities are responsible for maintaining the protected areas of local significance with the support of the state controlled institutional network. Therefore,  in  Hungary  public  enterprises  or  private  organizations  do  not  have a role in administering and managing protected areas.  

Romania

Division of PowerUnitary-Republic State, the President is the only institution enabled to call for a national referendum.
Policy on Nature Protection and FundingThe Ministry of Environment carries out policies in the field of environment and water management at the national level, elaborates the strategy and specific environmental development regulations, and harmonizes these regulations within the general policy of the Government. The National Environmental Protection Agency is the specialised body of the central public administration, with legal status, under the subordination of the Ministry of Environment.  At decentralised level, and operating under the authority of the National Environmental Protection Agency, there are 8 Regional Environmental Protection Agencies and Local Environmental Protection Agencies, the key executive bodies with respect to environmental law implementation and enforcement in Romania.Main responsibilities of local EPAs are: issuing Environmental Permits for the first stages on environmental integrated permitting procedure. The National Environmental Guard is a specialised body for inspection and control, with a specific statute and responsibilities on the implementation of the Government environmental policy, ensuring the compliance with legal provisions, prevention and enforcement of the environmental protection legislation.All taxes charged for environmental authorisations and approvals flow into the Environmental Fund. Other incomes that the Environmental Fund Authority may manage must be previously approved by Governmental Decision. Most sums are supposed to go into projects related to the administration or management of protected areas; a common policy flow lies in reassessing these funds into grey programmes such as ‘cash for clunkers’ – renewal of the automobile park.  
Protected AreasDepending on the ‘level’ at which the protected area is declared and/or                     recognized that different categories of protected areas can be distinguished: a) National interest, such as: scientific reserves, national parks, natural monuments, nature reserves, natural parks. The minimum condition for an area to be declared as protected area of national interest is to present significant natural and cultural values that are nationally representative.  b)  Community interest or Natura 2000 sites, which are sites of European importance, special areas of conservation or bird protection areas.  c)  International interest, receiving a status of:  biosphere reserves granted by UNESCO MaB; wetlands of international importance and RAMSAR sites designated in accordance with the Convention on the Conservation of Wetlands of International Importance;  World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO MaB; geo-parks  status,  assigned  according  to  regulations  set  by  UNESCO  and  the European Geo-park Network Charter. d)  County (judet) or local interest: set on the public/private domain of administrative unitsIn most cases, the funds allocated to the management of protected areas come from the budget of the institution or organisation that took over administration. The state budget supports protected areas management in few isolated cases, providing co-financing for activities related to specific projects. Romania is the only country in the European Union in which the state does not allocate resources for managing protected areas of national interest.                The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve represents a big exception in terms of administration and finance.  This Reserve functions according to Law 82/1993 on the establishment of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve;  its administration is subordinate to the central environmental authority and is led by a governor. It also has an annual budget allocated from the state budget. Structurally, the administration of protected areas must work with a management advisory board and scientific board.  

Poland

Division of PowerUnitary State
Policy on Nature Protection and FundingAlthough the general structure of public administration in Poland is based on a model that differentiates between government administration and local administration, it is difficult to define the organisational model of environmental protection administration. The division of tasks and powers to respective government and local government administrative bodies dealing with environmental protection is inconsistent and is characterised by a casuistry, dispersion and randomness. Centralised supervision over these dispersed competences is also lacking.Generally environmental protection tasks in the above-mentioned areas are performed both by administration bodies for which environmental protection is only one of many public tasks they are responsible for as well as bodies dealing only with environmental  protection or specialised organs dealing only with special area of environmental protection. Public administration organs responsible for environmental protection include organs that execute over environmental power resulting from the public law and those that execute over environmental power resulting from the private law.- The financial burden of environmental protection costs is borne by the public entities. They must have secured funds for the implementation of their public duties from public funds
Protected AreasThe legislative competences in the field of nature and forest protection are entrusted to the Parliament. Legal acts of a lower order (regulations and acts of local law) are issued by the competent organs, both at the central level (by the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Environment) and at the local one (territorial organs of governmental administration and organs).The administrative tasks and competences in the field of nature protection are vested in the ‘nature protection organs’: The Ministry of Environment, General Director of Environmental Protection, Voivod (representative supervisor of local governments), Director of National Park,

Slovakia

Division of PowerThe Slovak Republic is a unitary state. In terms of the establishment of the state, Slovakia is a republic with a parliamentary democracy as a political system.
Policy on Nature Protection and FundingThe  Ministry  of  Environment  is  the  central  government  authority  in  the  area  of  nature protection. A  Regional  Environmental  Authority  exercises  its  powers  over  the  territory  of  a  region. A District environmental authority exercises its powers within its boundary. The State Nature Conservancy is an expert organization in the field of nature protection established by the Ministry of Environment.  Administratively, it is divided into National Parks Services, Protected Landscape Areas Services and Services of Caves. The State Nature Conservancy is an organization that protects wildlife on the field, and provides management and practical implementation of nature conservationAll these public authorities are financed from the state budget. An exception is the State Nature Conservancy, which is a state contributory organization connected to the budgetary chapter of the Ministry of Environment, thus a portion of its income belongs to the state budget while other revenue for its activities have to be provided from other resources.
Protected AreasThe Nature Conservation Act sets the following categorized of protected areas and provides a competent authority for the designation of a protected area: Protected Landscape Area, National Park, Protected Resort, Nature Reserve, Natural Monument, Protected Landscape Element, and Special Protection Area. An  expert  opinion  is  required  to  start  the  process  of  designating  protected  areas. A conservation  project  can  be  processed  only  by  a  qualified  person, or the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic as an expert conservation organization established by the Ministry of Environment. A  conservation  project  is  delivered  to  the  nature  conservation  authority  competent  for  the designation  of  a  relevant  protected.  An  area  that  is  intended  to  be  designated  as  protected,  might  be  subject  to  the  so  called preliminary  protection,  to  prevent  damage  or  destruction  of  its  natural  values  during  the process  of  designation. A  protected  area  must  be  declared  within  two  years  of  the  publication  of  the  intention, otherwise preliminary protection expires.  A  Special  Protection  Area  does  not  provide  levels  of  protection,  but  the  Ministry  with  its declaration  specifies  prohibited  activities  that  may  affect  the  object  of  protection  of  the Special Protection Area.  Currently, in the Slovak Republic protected areas can be declared only by state authorities. Large-scale  protected  areas  can  be  declared  by state central governmental authorities, small-scale protected areas by  regional  environmental  authorities  or  district  environmental authorities. The Ministry  of  Environment  established  an  expert organization of nature conservation, the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic. Administratively, this institution is divided into National Parks Services, Protected Landscape Areas Services and Services of Caves. The State Nature Conservancy is an organization that protects  wildlife  in  practice,  provides  management  and  practical  implementation  of  nature conservation.It  is  also  necessary  to  highlight  a  lack  of  financial  support  to  the  State  Nature Conservancy from the state budget, which causes problems in its staff capacities.  In case of forest land in the state-owned property, the management is carried out by state public enterprises founded by the Ministry of Agriculture, whose primary mission is exploitation of forest lands and making profit from forest exploitation.

Ukraine

Division of PowerUkraine is a unitary state.
Policy on Nature Protection and FundingThe Ministry for Ecology and Natural Resources (the “Environmental Ministry”) is the main body  in  charge  of  managing  natural  resources  and environmental  protection  at  the  state  level, implementing and enforcing environmental legislation and policies.The state system of environmental monitoring is financed from the budgets allocated to each of the  executive  bodies  involved,  as  well  as  from  the  budgets  of  local  or  regional  authorities  as determined in the regional programmes of environmental monitoring. The nature of the work and responsibilities of the Environmental Ministry requires the creation of various divisions in charge of specifically defined tasks at national, regional and local level. The Environmental Ministry has five subdivisions:  -The Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Protection” provides for the creation of a state system of environmental monitoring which operates on three levels: 1.)the general state level, which encompasses priority issues and tasks affecting the whole country; 2)  the regional level, which addresses matters within the territory of specific oblasts; 3)  the  local  level,  which  deals  with  issues  within  individual  territories  with  elevated anthropogenic impact.
Protected AreasCurrently there are no Natura 2000 sites in Ukraine and preliminary research on the possibility of extending the ecological network is being conducted only in the Carpathian region.In 2009 Ukraine became a participant of the Emerald Network, which is an ecological network composed  of  ‘areas  of  special  conservation  interest’  which  was  launched  by  the  Council  of Europe as part of its work under the Bern Convention. The Emerald Networkis is based on the same principles and approaches the Natura 2000 and de facto is an extension of the Natura 2000 network to non-EU countries. Thanks to the Emerald Network programme over 80 per cent of proposed sites in Ukraine have been identified to be designated as protected areas. These sites have  the  potential  of  being  integrated  into  the  Natura-2000  network  should  Ukraine  become member of the European Union

Serbia

Division of PowerParliamentary Republic
Policy on Nature Protection and FundingThe Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection is competent for nature protection and suggests politics/strategies and action plans, supervises and manages their  implementation  and  co-ordination  with  activities  of  other  ministries  and  competent institutions.  The  Ministry  proposes  legal  acts  on  nature  protection  and  depending  on  the hierarchy  of  the  act  it  can  be  adopted  by  the  Minister,  the  Government  or  the  National Parliament. The Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of data collection and reporting on the status of biodiversity. -Environmental inspection in Serbia is organized at all three level of governance – republic, autonomous province and municipal. Their competences are based on the territory and the level of protected natural good. The Environmental Protection Fund was established in 2005 at national level. At local level, environmental protection funds exist in few municipalities and operate with limited resources. State budget provides funds for protected areas, measures and activities prescribed by specific protection acts, protection of natural goods of national and international importance, liability for damage made by protected species, remunerations for property limitations due to nature protection measures, etc. Autonomous provinces and local authorities shall provide funds for the protection of areas designated  by  themselves,  measures  and  activities  prescribed  by  specific  protection  acts, liabilities and remunerations needed on their own territory.  Part of the needed funds is acquired through the use of natural goods and protected areas.
Protected AreasProtected areas are established on the basis of a study on protection. This study is based on scientific facts and developed by the Institute for Nature Protection.  The initiative for protection of an area can be started by the Government, an autonomous province, a municipality, the City of Belgrade, a legal entity, an entrepreneur or physical person which in their activity use some natural resource, professional or scientific organizations or institutions, citizens, their associations or other organizations.The Law on Nature Protection prescribes the obligation of the managers of the protected areas to adopt management plans. Draft management plans are publicly discussed. Management plans are adopted for 10 years if the act on protection does not require different term.  However, for these 10-year plans it is  necessary  to  develop  annual implementation plans which are subject to the approval of the competent body that adopts the management plan.  There might be a special case when the entire territory of the protected area, or its major part, is in a private property or a single natural object is protected as natural monument. The Law on Nature Protection envisages seven types of sources to finance protected areas: state budget, budget of autonomous provinces or local self-government units, eco-fund, remunerations for use of protected areas, incomes gained through management of protected areas, funds acquired for realization of projects, programs and plans related to nature protection, gifts, donations and other forms of financial assistance, other sources in accordance with law.

Full reports on the national legislations in the 7 Carpathian countries by EURAC Bolzano, Italy:

Czech report_final.pdf

Hungary report_final.pdf

Poland report_final.pdf

Romania report_final.pdf

Serbia report_final.pdf

Slovak report_final.pdf

Ukraine report_final.pdf

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