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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN HUNGARY

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Agriculture is the agency primarily responsible for agriculture; and the Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy for regional and rural development. Under the recently adopted Regional Development Act, central and regional (county) development councils have been established as the principal coordinating and decision making organizations responsible for regional planning, priority setting, and allocation of financial resources for various regional development projects.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Government, after negotiating and approving the submitted proposal on the National Agri- Environmental Program and on the necessary regulations for the introduction of the program in mid-September 1999, took the following steps in a Government Decree:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Negotiation in the fields of agriculture and environment in Hungary started in August 1996. An management EU Harmonization Team of the Ministry of Agriculture was set up to deal with Agricultural-Environmental, Biological management, Forestry and Game. At that time the team was responsible for overseeing and analyzing EU harmonization tasks in the field of agriculture-environment and for preparing condition and effect-analyses of the Hungarian application, and for submitting proposals to the Government. The team represented experts of competent professional offices of MARD (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), and of other concerned Ministries (ME, KHVM (Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Transport, communication and Water Management)), NGO-s, agricultural universities, research institutes and agricultural interest bodies.

Participation is voluntary, each farmer has the right to decide whether he/she wants to take part in any of the target projects. Anyone who owns an area of at least 2 hectares, or a long-term (min. 10 years) tenure may join the country-wide projects. As a matter of course, regional projects are open only for those who farm in the designated region or area. This makes the exact designation of the target areas and regions necessary. After studying the conditions, the farmer who wishes to participate, enters into a 5-year contract in which he/she agrees to meet the requirements (the specific management "rules" of the target project) of the contract. In return he/she receives an annually fixed payment (on a per hectare or per livestock unit basis) for the contracted period. The payment covers income losses and additional costs occurring due to the implementation of the program, and an additional incentive of 20% to make target projects attractive and environment-friendly management competitive for farmers.

Programmes and Projects 

The framework for the accomplishment of a sustainable, conformable and ecology-based land use in Hungary are established in the National Agri-Environmental Program (NAEP), though its detailed elaboration and the creation and launching of its institution system and budgetary sources are still essential tasks to be completed.

The team is directed and the implementation of the work is co-ordinated by the Main Department of Plant Protection and Agri-Environment Management of MARD. After studying the related legislation and experiences in EU member states and analysing the potential domestic application, the Hungarian agrarian-environmental program was elaborated. The program enjoys a uniform approval from competent domestic and international scientific and professional bodies (National Committee of Environmental Protection, European Environmental Policy Institution, etc.). The principle of agrarian zones, which is a basis for the program, was applied during the elaboration of the concept of the National Land Development Plan as a preliminary base.

In the proposition submitted to the Government, the aim was to introduce the program in the year 2000, together with all target projects for a target area of 670 thousand hectares, which accounts for 10,8% of the agricultural area of the country. The target area of the program will continue to increase in subsequent years of the first phase (2000-2006), whereas by 2006 the NAEP will cover the total area of the country.

The elaboration of NAEP and the designation of the target areas were greatly supported by the study called "The elaboration of the land use zone system of Hungary" and by other studies elaborated by the experts of MARD, ME, GATE Environment and Landscape Management Institute, Soil and Agricultural chemistry Research Institute of MTA (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), IGCRS, the Hungarian Ornithological and Environmental Association and other institutions.

NAEP is characterized by the features of an environment-friendly management system, which integrates economical and ecological aspects. With regard to subsidies, significant priority must be given to the aims of the agrarian-rural development policy (being also an objective of the EU) to the multi-functional agricultural land use, which is based on ecological potentials. In accordance with the EU Regulation 2078/92, the objectives of NAEP describe a sustainable agricultural land use adjusted to the potentials of the given area. There are two main types of NAEP target projects, promoting an environment-friendly land use.

The first main type is the so-called horizontal, or country target projects, which cover the total country area of agricultural land use. By supporting environment-friendly production and management methods in various land use systems, the objective of these projects is to promote the establishment of a new development model of Hungarian agricultural management, which is sustainable and competitive in the long term. To this end, the projects, by various support programs, promote the spread of environmental approach in the management planning, integrated crop production, horticulture and ecological management and also the appropriate utilization of grasslands and wet habitats and the introduction of environment-friendly livestock production.

The second type is the so-called zonal or regional target projects. These projects promote an environmental approach in the land use of a given region and they contribute to the spread of management types that match the potentials of the region; contribute to the introduction of regional (landscape) management, preservation and development of natural and environmental values of the region. Regions that require special utilization strategies due to their environmental, soil or water protection conditions, may become targeted by these projects. Target projects promote the application of land use strategies, management methods specially elaborated for a certain region. Regional target projects form a network and may contribute to the establishment of the system of the so-called Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA).

The measures of NAEP are the following target projects:

In each target project, a separate regulation (Governmental decree) shall provide for the detailed rules of implementation. The present phase of the program applies to the 7 year period between 2000 and 2006. Simultaneously a Monitoring Program, which tracks the environmental-economical-social effects of the program is being launched and its results will serve as a basis for an interim and a final evaluation of the program in 2003 and in 2006. On the basis of these evaluation, changes and modifications to the program may be provided for the second period of the operation between 2007 and 2013.

The program is expected to reach its full capacity by 2007, when is may cover about 6 million hectares. According to the present calculations with the minimum amount of premiums applied in the Member States of the EU, in the case of full operation of the program, a support of HUF 249 billion may be obtained from the EU, which must be co-financed by HUF 83 billion. These figures are based on the valid present regulation, but according to expectations, more favorable conditions are likely to occur either due to Agenda 2000, or to certain trade-off agreements made during the accession to the EU.

Though the Governmental Decree exists, there are still many other conditions to be prepared in order to introduce NAEP prior to the EU-accession. The following necessary Governmental tasks arise:

The following were different stages of implementation and preparation of the above listed Governmental tasks:

For the operation of the program, the necessary institutional framework can gradually be established between 1999 and 2001. For providing the technical and informational technology background, ECU 1,4 million shall be used in the PHARE COP 98 program.

Status 

Increasing human consumption and consequent economic activities exploit the available land faster than ever, expanding social pressure and placing an ever increasing stress on the environment. This is especially true in the case of agriculture, which is associated with 85,5% of the total area of Hungary (agricultural lands) and is the main user of cultivated lands, and is the central player in conservation and development of the country. As a consequence, on the one hand, environmental protection basically depends on its co-operation with agriculture. The performance and efficiency of agriculture on the other hand depends mainly on the state and quality of the environment and natural resources. The interdependence of environmental protection, agriculture and the countryside makes the co-ordination of these three areas, the establishment of an integrated land use system inevitable.

This multi-purpose agriculture can fulfil its production, consumption, social, regional and protective functions and by linking economy with rural development is able to follow the development trends of Europe and the world. In order to achieve this, a common agreement should be made as soon as possible about the goals, purposes and multi-functional features of agriculture. The main components of this agriculture may include the following:

providing jobs and acceptable income for as many as possible.

The basic precondition for sustainable agriculture, which is feasible in the long term is accommodating the level of agricultural production appropriate to the environment. This means that the extent of intensity and the type of land use should not exceed the tolerance level and capacity of a particular land.

The careful and gradual utilisation of the environment built up over 2500 years, has been devastated by 250 years of over-utilisation. If the tendency continues, the consequences are incalculable.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

For the successful implementation of the NAEP, one of the aims of the program is to establish an improved research, education, model-farm and counseling network on the basis of the present agricultural and environmental institution system to support the operation of the program. This is a basic requirement of the EU agrarian-environmental programs. The network should deal with research, education, planning, counseling and demonstration tasks of the agrarian-environmental programs. It seems expedient that the agrarian-environmental related institution system shall be effectuated by the higher agricultural-environmental education and research institutes and controlling and counseling agricultural and environmental organizations.

In order to inform the public, including those wishing to participate, the program, a wide-ranging information campaign was launched prior to the introduction of the program, in November- December 1999. For the successful implementation of the program this information-communication campaign shall be followed by educational, counselling and demonstration-economical programs.

In the framework of education projects, personal background is being developed in 3 steps. The duties falling on institutions imply a co-ordinated and synchronised work for many organisations. Agricultural authorities, environmental organisations and higher agricultural-environmental education and research institutes shall work together in this field.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

The Government ordered that in order to create the financial resources for the National Agri-Environmental Program and considering the co-financing demand of the EU pre-accession subsidies (SAPARD), a source of HUF 6,5 billion should be separated within the agrarian budget as an agrarian-environmental target subsidy from the central budget for the year 2000.

In order to expand the financial resources of the National Agri-Environmental Program and to meet the requirements of the above mentioned co-financing, the Government appointed the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide the necessary funds during the planning of the central budget for the years 2001 and 2002.

The basic objective is to introduce NAEP in 2000, so that the highest possible level of the agrarian-environmental EU support is potentially made available in the post-accession years. According to calculations, this may mean an annual support of HUF 250 billion. In order to achieve this, the program could be introduced in the year 2000 and gradually increase the subsidy support from 2001 on.

Cooperation

Hungary participates in various international agricultural development programmes coordinated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). European Union regional and rural development programmes are increasingly important for Hungary as an associated member state.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: March 2000.

For national information on agricultural land, click here.
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy is responsible for national programmes, the development of legal instruments, and facilitating the implementation of these programmes and international obligations. The environmental aspects of key sectors are also taken into account in the regulations and programmes of the relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism for the energy sector; and the Ministry of Transport, Telecommunication and Water Management for transport issues. The Hungarian Energy Office was established in August 1994, and the Energy Saving Department is a part of this agency.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Hungary participates in a number of international efforts to protect the earth's atmosphere. With respect to ozone depleting substances, the Montreal Protocol (1987) was signed in 1989 and enacted by Ministerial Decree No. 13/1992; the London Amendment (1990) was signed in 1993 and enacted by Ministerial Decree No. 22/1993; and the Copenhagen Amendment (1992) was signed in 1994 and enacted by Governmental Decree No. 13/1994. The latest report to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat were prepared in 1996. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed in 1992 and enacted by Act LXXXII in 1994. The latest report to the UNFCCC Secretariat was submitted in 1994. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) was signed in 1979 and ratified in 1980. Subsequently, its various protocols were signed and ratified as follows: Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation Protocol (EMEP) signed in 1985 and ratified in 1985; first sulphur protocol signed in 1985 and ratified in 1986; nitrogen protocol signed in 1989 and ratified in 1991; volatile organic compound (VOC) protocol signed in 1991 and ratified in 1995; and second sulphur protocol was signed in 1994 and ratified in 1994. National reports are submitted to the LRTAP Secretariat on a regular basis in accordance with international obligations.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In terms of energy efficiency, Parliament approved the Energy Conservation Plan in early 1994. Subsequently, an Action Plan for Energy Conservation was launched in January 1995. The priorities of this Action Plan are as follows: enforcement of regulations for building construction; energy efficiency regulations for household appliances; information programmes for consumers and local authorities; training programmes for engineers and managers; energy audits; and demonstration projects. The Hungarian Energy Office coordinates the implementation of the energy savings programme. On the basis of the Action Plan, an Energy Saving Soft Loan Programme was established in 1996.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The various environmental NGOs that are represented on the National Environmental Council or the Hungarian Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) include air pollution issues as part of their review of recent programmes, in particular the National Environmental Programme.

Programmes and Projects 

With respect to air pollution, a national initiative called the Cross-sectoral Air Pollution Control Programme was launched in 1993. The Programme, scheduled to be implemented between 1994 and 1998, gives special attention to improving information systems to ensure real-time data evaluation on air quality and creating an integrated approach to all aspects of local and transboundary air pollution problems. A national Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emission Reduction Programme is also planned. It will be based on the obligations and recommendations of the UN ECE Protocol. A database on VOC emissions has been established.

The Hungarian Government has urged local governments to prepare traffic control measures which contribute to emission reduction. A City Bus Greening Programme has been introduced to focus on the replacement of old bus motors with environmentally sound ones which meet European Union (EU) emission standards. Protection of the atmosphere, improving air quality, and promoting the reduction of harmful atmospheric emissions are high priority areas of the new National Environmental Programme. This programme lists key sectoral policies and indicates the most essential regulatory tasks.

Status 

In Hungary, all ozone depleting substances (ODS) are imported, as the country has no facilities for their production. The National Programme for ODS Phase-out was prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy. The quantity of ODS used as propellants has rapidly decreased, partly due to governmental regulations and partly due to fundamental changes in the Hungarian economy. Product fees for chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) refrigerants and refrigeration appliances were introduced in 1995. They serve as economic incentives for recovery, reclamation, and recycling of refrigerants. New regulations stipulate that only 25% of CFCs could be used in 1994 and 1995 compared to the base year, while 15% of carbon tetrachloride (CTC) and 50% of methyl chloroform (MCF) were allowed for use in 1995. Firms are aware of these regulations under the Montreal Protocol. They study the experiences of other countries, but they cannot undertake similar measures or introduce new ODS technologies because of the declining economic situation. The solution to this problem is now facilitated by a Global Environmental Facility (GEF) project (see below).

Importers and distributors of ODS are consulted each year by the Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Importation approvals and limits are based on these consultations. The Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy has also consulted with the Hungarian Association of Plastic Industry on the necessity and technical possibilities of phasing out CFCs used in plastic foam production.

Moderate progress can been seen in the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, a resolution was passed by the Hungarian Parliament in December 1993 to return carbon dioxide emissions to 1985-1987 levels by the year 2000. Fuel emissions from coal mining, which constitute approximately 75% of the total methane emissions, decreased by 20% between 1985 and 1990. The changes in greenhouse gas emissions are primarily taking place due to the substantial structural changes in the economy, that is the recession of the principal "polluting" sectors. Various measures are projected which will contribute to further emission stabilization. One of the most critical programmes is related to the improvement of energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Emissions of sulphur, nitrogen compounds, and other air pollutants cause significant environmental problems in Hungary. Emissions from traffic are now the major source of air pollution, while those from industry have decreased over the last two years, mainly due to the economic recession. Approximately 13% of Hungary's land area is polluted, and nearly 29% of the population live in highly polluted areas. Mortality related to air pollution is slightly increasing, and the incidence of lung cancer, and allergic and respiratory diseases (chronic bronchitis, pneumonia) has also increased.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

The national Central Environmental Fund provides considerable financial resources for projects which directly or indirectly serve to protect the atmosphere and improve local air quality. Nevertheless, Hungary has not had adequate financial resources to support investment in the new ODS-free technologies. Therefore, the country has applied for a GEF grant to help its ODS phase-out activities. In the energy sector, a number of rationalization programmes have been supported by World Bank loans. The main objective of these programmes is to increase energy savings and introduce modern technologies in the energy sector. Since 1983, more than US$240 million has been provided. Costs of the Cross-sectoral Air Pollution Control Programme are estimated to be approximately US$500-750 million (at 1992 rates). Approximately US$ 40 million for energy efficiency projects has been provided by the German Government under its coal aid loan programme (see below).

Cooperation

Bilateral cooperation on atmospheric issues with the Netherlands is based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Environment. The objective of this cooperation is to study climate change in Hungary, including its consequences for energy production and related issues. Another project, "Control Strategy for the Emission of Volatile Organic Compounds," was started in 1993. A cooperative project with the Norwegian Centre for International Climate and Energy Research (CICERO) focuses on creating a long-term energy policy to respond to possible climate changes and was initiated in 1994. Another project launched in 1994 under the US Country Study Programme, supports Hungarian policy planning with particular attention given to energy savings/efficiency aspects. A soft loan programme entitled "German Coal Aid" provides Hungarian households with an opportunity to buy German coal in order to offset Hungarian demand for coal. In the agreement between the two countries 60% of the revenues received from the sale of coal (worth DM50 million) would be spent on a preferential credit facility aimed at energy saving.

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on air, click here.
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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The cross-sectoral tasks related to biodiversity are coordinated under the auspices of the Hungarian Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). The Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy and its Nature Conservation Agency have the prime responsibility for concrete regulatory tasks and programmes, including the fulfillment of the specific obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed in 1992 and ratified in 1994 in Hungary. The country is an active participant in other relevant international agreements such as, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Wildlife Habitat, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, and the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In 1994, a conceptual approach to set the general requirements, principles, and objectives of biodiversity conservation was formulated within the national framework for environmental protection and nature conservation. In the same year, a new environmental and nature conservation policy, introduced by the Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy reflected both the recommendations of Agenda 21 and of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The recently adopted Act on Nature Conservation also puts a special emphasis on the conservation of biological diversity. Based on these documents, the Basic Plan on Nature Conservation was adopted by the Government and submitted to Parliament at the end of 1996. A country study and a specific action programme are now being prepared. This report will be submitted in 1997 to the secretariat of the Biodiversity Convention in accordance with the relevant decision and the guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

A network of environmentally sensitive areas is planned in Hungary. The aim of this network will be to create a more harmonious relationship between agriculture and nature conservation. In addition, botanical and zoological gardens are considered important for preserving species and for the educational role they play.

Hungary complies with provisions established under CITES which was ratified in 1985. The country is taking an active part in preventing and controlling trade in endangered species. Reports are regularly submitted to the Convention's secretariat. A ministerial decree was issued for the implementation of the Convention in Hungary in 1990 making the provisions more stringent in several respects. All birds of prey are included in Appendix I of the Convention. Everyone who is in possession of Appendix I species or their derivatives, or who have breeding stocks of Appendix II species must be registered. The import of ivory into Hungary is prohibited. Transit shipments without the required CITES-permit are not allowed within the territory of Hungary.

For CITES, the concrete management tasks are performed by the Nature Conservation Agency. This Agency is authorized to issue CITES permits. About 200-300 permits are issued per year. Animals and plants, including their parts and derivatives, which enter Hungary illegally are seized by the Agency in cooperation with the Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard and its regional offices.

In Hungary, the problem of biodiversity is a high priority issue. Biodiversity conservation will be approached on all major levels: (1) for populations, where the main target is the conservation of genetic diversity and the protection of gene-reserves, including non-domesticated plants and animals, as well as cultivated plants and bred animals; (2) for species, where their extinction has to be prevented, the viable populations maintained in adequate diversity; and (3) for biocenoses, where the preservation of the diversity of biocenoses and the maintenance of the variety of species-combinations are to be regarded as main objectives.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

A monitoring programme providing data on the status of biological resources has been developed. Species and habitats which are scarce or endangered receive particular emphasis. The objective of creating such a biomonitoring network is to identify and assess the changes of biodiversity, both from the influence of various human activities and natural processes, and from the measures initiated under the planned biodiversity conservation programme or other conservation programmes. The main elements of the network are a biodiversity data recording system and network for Hungary, and a general survey and inventory of main habitat types.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on "nature,' click here.
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For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
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For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Qery System, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The main government agencies responsible for coordinating desertification and drought initiatives in Hungary are the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy. These agencies, together with the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Water Management, work closely with the CSD on the Convention.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa has not been signed. Hungary did not participate in negotiations for the Convention (CDD). Interdepartmental consultations in preparation for accession to this Convention are now in progress under the auspices of the Hungarian Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD, an interministerial steering body which coordinates cross-sectoral activities. In addition, Hungary has joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and takes part actively in international climate related activities.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Combating desertification and drought is of high importance in Hungary. A drought management strategy aimed at prevention and control of droughts has been introduced. The key elements of the strategy are promotion of water-saving farming methods (for example, tillage systems, application of organic manure, use of certain types of agricultural machines); plant protection and weed control; amelioration and irrigation; afforestation and plant breeding; and improvement of observation systems.

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences recently coordinated a multidisciplinary research project addressing the problems of droughts. This project is continuing as a programme called Agro-21 which provides a scientific basis for the further development of Hungarian agriculture taking into consideration the variability and probable changes in natural conditions. The Academy has also established a special subcommittee to coordinate these research activities and to provide decision-makers with necessary scientific information. Farmers, agricultural cooperatives and their organizations also play an important role.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

The country is located in a climate zone predisposed to drought, and dry periods have always occurred. Large parts of the country are semi-arid or dry sub-humid. The Great Plain, and especially the area between the Danube and Tizsa Rivers, is the most threatened region where certain symptoms of desertification can be detected. The problem of droughts is compounded in some areas by soil erosion.

Analysis of long term observations show a decreasing tendency in precipitation amounts and average soil moisture content. Winter and spring precipitation amounts show a significantly decreasing trend. Severe or moderate droughts occur in Hungary nearly every year. Drought frequency has increased, primarily in the last two decades.

It is expected that one of the possible consequences of anticipated global climate change will be an average decrease of precipitation levels in the Hungarian region by approximately 50-100 mm/C annually. This could cause severe water supply problems in semiarid areas and drylands.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Hungary actively participates in extensive international collaboration on various agricultural, breeding, and monitoring issues, some of which are relevant for drought and desertification management.

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Hungarian Energy Office was established in August 1994, and the Energy Saving Department is a part of this agency.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Changes to the tax and price systems related to natural resources, energy and raw materials represent a further essential factor. Environmental product charges and fines for environmental pollution also contribute to these changes.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In terms of energy efficiency, Parliament approved the Energy Conservation Plan in early 1994. Subsequently, an Action Plan for Energy Conservation was launched in January 1995. The priorities of this Action Plan are as follows: enforcement of regulations for building construction; energy efficiency regulations for household appliances; information programmes for consumers and local authorities; training programmes for engineers and managers; energy audits; and demonstration projects.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

The Hungarian Energy Office coordinates the implementation of the energy savings programme. On the basis of the Action Plan, an Energy Saving Soft Loan Programme was established in 1996. Modest results of these initiatives to improve energy conservation and energy efficiency can been seen in the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions.

Status 

Research related to sustainable development, particularly energy-saving technologies, represents one of the highest priority areas in Hungary. Enterprises in the energy production and distribution sector have adopted, to some extent, the stewardship concept and, based on it, formulated and introduced environmentally sound technological, managerial standards and practices. This progress is reinforced by changes to international trade regulations, the increasing share of trade with the industrialized countries, and the related environmental requirements.

Consumption of coal has been reduced considerably due to the introduction of nuclear energy. The single nuclear power plant provides about half the electric energy for the country. Since 1990, total energy use has increased, especially within the residential sector. General consumption of goods has declined in recent years. This trend does not result from more environmentally conscious consumers, but from lowered income levels.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

In the energy sector, a number of rationalization programmes have been supported by World Bank loans. The main objective of these programmes is to increase energy savings and introduce modern technologies in the energy sector. Since 1983, more than US$240 million has been provided. Approximately US$ 40 million for energy efficiency projects has been provided by the German Government under its coal aid loan programme (see below).

Bilateral cooperation on atmospheric issues with the Netherlands is based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Environment. The objective of this cooperation is to study climate change in Hungary, including its consequences for energy production and related issues. A cooperative project with the Norwegian Centre for International Climate and Energy Research (CICERO) focuses on creating a long-term energy policy to respond to possible climate changes was initiated in 1994. Another project launched in 1994 under the US Country Study Programme, supports Hungarian policy planning with particular attention being given to energy savings/efficiency aspects. A soft loan programme entitled "German Coal Aid" provides Hungarian households with an opportunity to buy German coal in order to offset Hungarian demand for coal. In the agreement between the two countries 60% of the revenues received from the sale of coal (worth DM50 million) would be spent on a preferential credit facility aimed at energy saving.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Forestry as a whole is under the control of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. The Office of Forestry and its local authorities, and ten State Forest Inspectorates control the management of forests. The Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy is responsible for protected forests.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The legal and institutional framework was adjusted to the new and changing demands and the long negotiated new Law on Forests came into force in 1997. The structure of the state forestry was changed in the early nineties and the former state companies became holdings responsible for managing the state properties on a contract basis. The forestry administration was reorganised when the new forest law came into force, and the State Forest Service was established with the mandate of large-scale planning, verifying and monitoring of forests and forest management. 

The Act LIV of 1996 on the Forests and the Protection of Forests and its regulations issued in 1997 were seen as the legal background for implementing the results of the international forestry dialogue available to date. The new legal framework defined forests in a holistic manner giving equal importance to their different functions. A definition of sustainable forest management is also given, together with the use of criteria and indicators for monitoring. The law devotes specific attention to the protection of forests defining the role of the different stake-holders and that of the international cooperation. The paragraphs on transparency of the forest sector and the internal and international information dissemination are new elements of the legal framework. The law defines the new institutional background describing the mandate of the different actors.

The Forestry Act adopted by Parliament set a regulatory basis for sustainable forest management by taking into account the changes in ownership, economic aspects, and ecological requirements. Some of the important elements of this law are: forest management should be practiced according to management plans approved by the Minister of Agriculture with forest owners obliged to follow the plan's recommendations; the state inspects the owners' activities through the State Forest Inspectorates; "semi-natural" forest management is recognized; privatized forests are considered as private properties and common goods at the same time; clear cutting limits and the obligation to do selective cutting; and the introduction of the agro-forestry concept (short-term rotation forestry).  

It must be noted that the traditional planning and control system in Hungary fulfils most of the mandate of forest certification in general, and all mandates in sustainable forest management in particular. Certification is therefore not expected to have a particular impact on forest management. Rather, it could improve public understanding of sustainable forestry.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The most recent land use policy of the country was developed as a part of the accession process to the European Union. Since this policy envisages a considerable change in the agriculture as well, for economical and regional development point of view, forestry was identified as one of the alternative land uses replacing traditional agricultural activities, and the policy defined a need to convert approximately 750 thousand ha of arable and pasture land to forests. Adequate attention is given to the future role of new forests and their role and impact of rural development. 

The National Strategy for the Agriculture devoted an independent chapter to forestry. The forest law, which represents the nfp in the Hungarian context, is in accord with the national strategy for sustainable development in this way. Since the law considered the outcomes of the IPF process to the extent possible at the time of its development, it was not necessary to updated it in early 1997. But with specific regard to cross- and inter-sectoral issues it is necessary to develop an nfp which incorporates the elements already covered by the law.

 The National Strategy for the Agriculture recognised forestry’s multifunctional role in the sustainable development so afforestation remained a priority for the coming decades and is seen as a tool for implementing rational land use policies. Forestry is also recognised in the accession to the European Union with specific regard to the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy. 

Although the new forest law was designed the perform several roles of the national forest programme, the developments of the recent years made it necessary to develop a comprehensive national forest programme as outlined by the IPF proposals.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Owners, scientists, and NGOs represent the major groups involved in forest issues. The new private owners of forested areas represent an important interest group. Scientists engaged in special monitoring, analytic studies, and forest science provide essential information to decision-makers. A significant number of environmental NGOs actively pursue the various aspects of sustainable forestry, conservation of forested areas of specific value, and related questions.

 In order to improve the participation a new hierarchical system of forest management planning was introduced by establishing forest regions where the large scale management plans are developed with the contribution of all relevant stake-holders through a legally defined negotiation process. On the highest level a Forestry Council was set up to assist the minister responsible for forestry in his decisions. The Council consists of representatives from all fields of forestry.

Programmes and Projects 

The state forestry initiated a project co-sponsored by the Phare programme on developing proposals for the use of independent forest certification schemes and quality assurance systems. The project is expected to be completed later this year. The private sector also shows interest in this field and a newly established association of private forest owners and managers announced its readiness to join the PEFC (Pan-European Forest Certification).

Various studies indicated that about 500,000-1,000,000 ha of currently agricultural land should be converted to other land uses, for the most part forestry. Thus a government programme of afforestation has been adopted supported by the research findings of forest geneticists. This programme is under the responsibility of the State Supervision of Propagation Material and uses propagation material which is well-adapted to the local environment and durable. The aim is to improve both the volume of growing stock and the quality of wood material.

There are only a few hectares of natural forests in Hungary. Realizing the need for such unmanaged forests, an official programme for establishing natural forest reserves was initiated in 1991. As a result, 71 forest reserves had been established by 1995. Scientific research programmes are conducted in these natural forest reserves. About 20% of all forests are under different levels of protection. Forests exist on approximately 60% of the total area of protected land. Forest inventories, mapping, planning, and yield estimates are undertaken on a 10 year basis, that is one tenth of the total forest area is covered annually.

Status 

The multiple roles of forests for environmental, social, and productive values have always been regarded as important in Hungary. During recent decades, however, the primary goal has been to improve the productivity of existing forests. The most widespread characteristic of the Hungarian forests is the big variety of mixed, multistoried stands of broad-leaved species. As a result of regulations aimed at achieving sustained yield, the age structure of the Hungarian forests has been improving.

The post-UNCED period coincided with several important steps of the overall political, economical and social transition in Hungary. The changes gave way to the newly emerging private sector and the share of the former overwhelmingly dominant public ownership decreased to 60% while private ownership was established on 40% of the 1,8 million ha of forest resources of the country. This shift of ownership was the result of the restitution process aimed at the re-establishment of the ownership structure of the late forties. It must be noted however, that privatisation of forest land as interpreted in a market economy environment took place to a very limited extent only and is expected to play a role as the economy develops.

The steady increase of the forest resources observed in the previous decades continued in the period 1992-2000: the forest area increased by about 0,5% annually as a result of an ongoing afforestation programme. Since the forest management has always been under strict professional control annual fellings have never exceeded the sustainable limits of the allowable annual cut, thus the growing stock has been steadily increasing for decades by a pace of 3 million m3, i.e. 1% per year. The structural changes led to an expectedly temporary decrease of the annual cut in the mid-nineties, thus the accumulation of growing stock increased by an additional 0,5%.

In accord with the changing demands towards forestry the share of productive forests decreased (even though new afforestations aimed at production purposes mainly), while the share of protective forests and those of with social functions increased. For protecting and better understanding the functioning of the forest ecosystems a network of forest reserves was established representing the wide range of natural and semi-natural forest types. Beside its protective functions the network is expected to provide continuous information on the natural succession processes in various ecosystems.

While most of the developments of the post-UNCED period successfully responded to the new challenges of sustainable development, the country learned that the establishment of a well functioning private forestry requires considerable time and human and financial resources. The process is slower than it was expected to be and the delay creates new problems such as the deterioration of forest stands due to lack of proper management, increase of illegal fells on such areas, etc. The biggest challenge of the present is to promote the development of an ecologically and economically sustainable, vital private forestry.

The former cooperatives and their successors owned 535,000 ha of forests, while about 10,000 ha of forests were held as private properties before the transition era. The area of private forests is now increasing as privatization and compensation proceeds. The forests owned by cooperatives are being distributed among those private persons who owned them before the collective system of agriculture was established. Increasing the number of forest owners and private properties may cause some disruption to the work of the Forest Management Planning Service and the local State Inspectorates although their responsibilities have been redefined.

Although poverty as such is not a widely observed phenomenon in Hungary, there is clear link between the living standard and environmental consciousness. As a certain level of unemployment and its temporary increases seems to be unavoidable in a market economy, such periods result in illegal felling and undesired exploitation of forests. While some of these fells are really driven by the needs of those unemployed, it is easily associated with a certain type of organised crime which takes into consideration that the society is more tolerant towards need-driven violations of laws.

New priorities were set up for forestry research resulting in intensified work on the stability and development of forest ecosystems and cause-effect relationships between forest stands and various environmental stresses.

In the current hierarchical system which follows the scheme widely used within the EU regional development includes agriculture, which in turn includes forestry. This system however needs further development, since forestry needs to be recognised in its complexity and its relations to other relevant sectors should reflect not only the role it plays in a hierarchical system, but also the role it plays on its own right.

During the last couple of years a considerable share of packaging materials is made of fibre replacing the formerly widely used plastics and different polymers. The National Strategy for Agriculture includes energy generation among the potential uses of wood coming from afforestations. However more intensive promotion of forest products would be needed to successfully fight for new markets.

Recycling mostly affects the use of industrial residues, the amount is 200 000 m3 annually i.e. 2% roughly, while the paper industry uses a considerable amount of recycled fibres which equals to approximately 3% of the total wood supply.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

New actions are needed in the private forest sector, in particular in improving forestry extension services and encouraging more sustainable forms of forest management through different joint tenure systems. Additional financial resources are also needed to increase efficiency and competitiveness of the private forestry.

Information

Indicators for sustainable forest management have been being used since the early seventies in Hungary for continuous monitoring through forest inventory and periodic reporting on the state of the country’s forests. These indicators were analysed on an annual and a five years basis. The results of the annual analysis were used when developing professional and financial regulations for the respective years while longer term analysis helped the evaluation of the relevant policies and strategies.

According to the recent regulations, the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development publishes a report on the State of the Forest Resources. In addition, the State Forest Service is responsible for developing a forecast, on an annual basis, on the development of the forest resources for the next four decades.

The information is available in print in the following publications:

Beside the printed versions all information and the underlying data files are available in electronic format at the State Forest Service on request.

In addition to regular publications on the forest resources, several analyses are published in the Journal of Forestry or in books. The longest period analysed ever is 70 years in the Hungarian Forestry in Data 1920-1990.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

With regard to private forestry new financial instruments were introduced to promote sustainable forest management, and formation of new organisations were encouraged by different means. Dissemination of forest related knowledge was intensified through publishing written material and organising training courses and seminars.

The system of forestry subsidies includes a special financial tool which was designed to encourage the social functions of forests and their welfare-oriented services. Forest owners should apply for subsidies, the applications are evaluated by an independent committee.

Special budgetary funds were allocated by the Ministry of Agriculture for the implementation of the large-scale afforestation programme. During the privatization process, certain protected forested areas were removed from state forestry control. Following the intervention of the Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy, the land privation regulation has been amended and a special fund established to repurchase these areas with compensation to the private owners. Under the new forestry law, those who manage forests pay a specific forest-maintenance contribution to a separate account. These funds form the financial base for the regeneration of forests.

Cooperation

Hungary has joined several international treaties with provisions relevant to sustainable forestry and forest conservation. The treaties include the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Wildlife Habitat, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, and the Geneva Convention on Transboundary Air Pollutants. In the latter Convention, the impacts of this pollution on forest conditions in Europe are analyzed.

Although Hungary did not represent itself at the IPF sessions, it actively participated in the European forestry dialogue, notably the pan-European Process and the FAO fora provided opportunities to contribute to the discussions and express our position. Furthermore, in working towards the development of C&I for SFM, Hungary participated in expert level meetings, e.g. the ISCI seminar in Finland.

Many of the IPF proposals for action such as those of fighting against forest deterioration, increasing of forest cover, C&I for SFM, international cooperation, transfer of technology, improving the statistical system etc. were well on the way of before the IPF process was completed, therefore they all contribute to the implementation of the proposals even if not always recognised that way.

There is a need for negotiating forestry issues in an inter-sectoral environment and develop strategies for new cooperation with trade, transport, energy, industry, water management beside the traditional forestry-agriculture-environmental protection triangle.

Hungary participates in the pan-European process (Resolution L2 of the Third Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe: Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management). It also takes part in international cooperation on forest management under the auspices of FAO.

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: March 2000.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The agencies mainly responsible for the protection of freshwater resources are the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Water Management; and the Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The basic regulatory framework consists of the Water Act of 1995, and the law on environmental impact studies of 1994. In addition, there are important provisions affecting freshwater resources under the Act on Environmental Protection (1995).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

The most recent development has been the development of the National Environmental Programme (submitted to the Parliament) which includes substantial provisions and measures for the management of surface and subsurface water resources. Some of the key targets and approved policy directions are: regulation development to encourage economical water use; improvement of water quality for the main watercourses (Danube and Tisza Rivers, Lake Balaton); 65% community sewers for all settlements by 2002; biologically treatment for all collected wastewater; and nitrate and phosphorous load reductions for highly protected and sensitive waters. On the basis of European Union (EU) guidelines, wastewater drainage and cleaning should be resolved for all settlements of over 15,000 inhabitants by 2000.

The government has recently passed a programme to improve water quality management. The programme's objective is to develop waste water treatment and drainage systems and improve technical monitoring systems to meet EU standards. The principal implementation problems of the programme are based on the transitional state of legislation, difficulties in collaboration between various governmental agencies, and the provision of financial resources. The state is responsible for training qualified personnel for water resources management and protection. However, there is some lack of professional knowledge, hindering authorities from evaluating the degree of environmental hazards through, for example, risk analysis or environmental impact assessment.

Status 

Land owners are responsible for the protection of subsurface drinking water resources to the extent specified in their licenses. Waterworks and local governments also take responsibility for providing healthy drinking water. Scientists traditionally play an important role in Hungary in facilitating decision making related to the conservation and environmentally sound utilization of freshwater resources. Freshwater resources are also of special concern to various environmental NGOs.

Nearly 90% of the total drinking water demand in Hungary is satisfied from subsurface resources. Signs of excessive use of these resources have occurred in some regions. Approximately 97% of the population receives piped drinking water. The quality of water supplied by public utilities fulfills general national health requirements. However, meeting the relevant (EU) standards is a serious problem.

Freshwater resources have been of special concern for state authorities, local governments, and citizens for reasons other than for domestic consumption. There are overwhelming drainage areas in Hungary. In fact, the annual average amounts of water flowing through the country per capita (120 billion m3/year) is the highest in the world. Furthermore, large and agriculturally important areas have a semi-arid or dry climate with low humidity which increases the need for extra freshwater resources. This raises waste water management issues. The state of sewerage and sewage treatment is much worse than that for drinking water supply. By 1994, 53% of the population lived in settlements without adequate sewerage and sewage treatment utilities, and only 43% of the homes were connected to sewers. Fifty-four percent of the collected waste waters is discharged into treatment plants, where the ratio of biological treatment is only 33%. This is a very unfavourable situation, because it endangers the quality of surface and subsurface waters in many locations. Sewage water treatment capacities are increasing, but there is slow progress for various reasons including the lack of financial resources.

Both the natural and the anthropogenic impacts on freshwater resources can be adequately analyzed in the country due to the good monitoring network. The standard network was established in 1968 to allow regular water quality monitoring of surface waters. Parallel monitoring for subsurface waters and for water quality in irrigation projects is also operational.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

A special fund has been established for technical development purposes to increase freshwater supply and waste treatment capacities. It is financed by fees, charges, and other contributions. The fund provides grants for different activities and investments related to the protection of water resources.

Cooperation

Cooperation with neighbouring countries is a significant priority. Existing agreements on transboundary waters will be harmonized in accordance with international agreements and EU regulations. The UN Economic Commission for Europe Water Convention (Helsinki 1992) is an important legal instrument in this regard. It outlines the basic provisions for the protection and use of transboundary water courses and international lakes.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Responsibility for legislation and the coordination of land management programmes rests primarily with the Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy, and the Ministry of Agriculture. In addition, the role of local authorities (municipalities) in the regulation, management, and control of land use practices has substantially increased in recent years.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The legislative framework for the management of land use are Act I and Act II on Cooperatives (1992), the Act on Land (1994), the Act on Environmental Protection (1995), the Act on Nature Conservation (1996), and the Act on Forests (1996). These acts ensure up-to-date regulation of land ownership, land use, soil conservation, and special management criteria for protected areas. The recently adopted national environmental policy pays attention to the conservation of soil resources and sustainable land use. It lists the basic measures to be taken in advancing soil conservation policy.

The elimination of the subsidy on pesticides has resulted in their decreased use. Maximum limits for the toxic content of fertilizers were introduced in 1992 to encourage only high quality fertilizers and yield increasing compounds and to ensure the reasonable, environmentally safe use of these inputs. A law on land tax, introduced in 1992, allows a 50% reduction of this tax if a farmer adopts environmentally sustainable technology. The following activities are currently subsidized: liming of acid soils, sustainable nutrient management based on soil tests, increasing the proper use of manure, and land use with appropriate soil conservation measures.

The main legal instrument for protecting wildlife sites is the designation of reserves. This type of protection depends on the voluntary cooperation of landowners because the state owns only 10% of the reserve areas. This could cause conflicts between conservation and development aspirations on newly privatized farmlands. In order to solve such issues, some of the regulations

have recently been amended in favour of nature conservation. In this context, the provisions of the new Act on Nature Conservation (1996) are essential. Under this act, the basic plan of nature conservation was prepared, adopted by the government, and submitted to Parliament as part of the National Environmental Programme in 1996. The Programme itself formulates the most important objectives for sustainable land use, protection, and conservation of soil resources.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

As a result of the re-privatization process, one of the most important new interest groups consists of the many landowners or associations of forest owners who have received back their land ownership. The agricultural cooperatives have remained significant stakeholders and they still have a large share in the production and provision of agricultural goods. Their members and interest group representatives also play an important role in negotiations to change land use and agricultural production regulations, or allocate funds with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, and local governments.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

Extensive changes in land use have occurred during recent years because of the transition to a market economy and the massive compensation and re-privatization processes. The total land area of Hungary is 93,000 km2. About 70% of this area is agricultural land, an extraordinarily high percentage by international comparison. Of this, 73% (4.7 million ha) is arable land, 20% are pastures and meadows, and about 7% gardens, orchards, and vineyards. Eighteen percent of the total area is covered by forest.

The country enjoys relatively favourable geographical and climatic conditions for agricultural cultivation. Seventy-three percent of the territory is flatland with highly fertile chernozem and brown earth soils. A large part of the arable area is sown with grain (wheat and maize) and industrial plants (sunflower, sugarbeet). Long-term records also confirm Hungary's ability to grow high-grade fruit and vegetables, sowing-seeds, and propagating plant materials.

Before the recent socioeconomic changes (during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s), the Hungarian cooperative and state farming system was uniquely efficient within the Central- and Eastern-European regional context. Agricultural production was mainly concentrated on large farms, but small-scale private production on household plots also played an extremely important role.

Due to this integrated production structure, Hungary did not simply achieve self sufficiency in all basic plant species for domestic consumption and forage needs, but gained 25% of its total exports from agriculture. The agricultural sector accounted for 20% of Hungary's gross national product and employed 17% of the active earners. This situation has dramatically changed due to the recent economic restructuring, the recession in agriculture, and the loss of a large share of the market for agricultural products in the Central European region.

A new Soil Information and Monitoring System was established in 1992. It contains 1,400 observation points, 1,000 of them on agricultural land, 200 in forests, and 200 in environmentally threatened areas. Important soil parameters are measured regularly in cycles of one, three, or six years.

The extensive use of chemical inputs and the large-scale intensive farming systems of the past 20 years has resulted not only in high yields by world standards but also in negative environmental impacts upon land and water resources.

The biotope-system, which consists of green areas, non-used regions, protective zones, live hedges, hedgerows, woodland strips and other regeneration zones, has become, not only in Hungary but world-wide, an obstacle and has been mainly destroyed by industrial management.

Re-creation and maintenance of the biotope-system can no longer be delayed, since it provides for the preservation of biodiversity and the ecological features of the landscape, the stability of the environment and the natural structure of the area by appropriately utilizing those areas with a low agricultural production potential. Experience proved that in order to fulfil its implicit tasks, this system needs to cover at least 7-12% of the total area, even on areas with the highest arable potential.

The research, launched as an initiative of the Agri-environmental EU Harmonisation Working Group of the MARD, tried to establish a unified land qualification system, and based on it, a zonal system, by the main co-ordinates of agricultural suitability – environmental sensitivity. The analyses were co-ordinated by the Environmental- and Landscape Management Institute of the GAU.

Depending on the scenario, Hungarian lands are designated as:

This implies a significant change in the land use category or in the system or intensity of management over almost one-quarter of the area of the country. Thus, according to the studies,

Although poverty as such is not an widely observed phenomenon in Hungary, there is clear link between the living standard and environmental consciousness. As a certain level of unemployment and its temporary increases seems to be unavoidable in a market economy, such periods result in illegal felling and undesired exploitation of forests. While some of these fellings are really driven by the needs of those unemployed, it is easily associated with a certain type of organised crime which takes into consideration that the society is more tolerant towards need-driven violations of laws.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

Environmentally friendly technologies which use fewer inputs (for example, low input sustainable agriculture [LISA] systems) are now being encouraged.

Recycling mostly affects the use of industrial residues, the amount is 200 000 m3 annually i.e. 2% roughly, while the paper industry uses a considerable amount of recycled fibres which equals to appr. 3% of the total wood supply.

During the last couple of years a considerable share of packaging materials is made of fibre replacing the formerly widely used plastics and different polymers. The National Strategy for Agriculture includes energy generation among the potential uses of wood coming from afforestations. However more intensive promotion of forest products would be needed to successfully fighting for new markets.

Financing

Agricultural Funds were adopted by Parliament in 1992 to create an entrepreneurial type of agriculture. The regulations on these funds were extremely important for the transformation of agriculture; forest development; and the protection of arable land, biological bases, and game. In particular, the Agricultural Development Fund was aimed at upgrading the material-technical base of agricultural production, broadening its infrastructure, ensuring the qualitative development of its biological bases, and operating a new system of agricultural counseling. The Land Protection Fund was established to assist production in high-quality land areas withdrawn from farming, and to ensure proper use and protection of arable areas. The National Forestry Fund ensured protection and sustainable management on large areas of woodland.

The Regional Development Fund helps to create employment opportunities for the unemployed in agriculture and thus preserve rural capacities. The Credit Guarantee Fund supports farmers having difficulties providing the property guarantees demanded by the banks. Financing systems are also being refined to build an effective rural network of banks.

Nevertheless, there are serious problems in restructuring and reorienting agriculture, and in strengthening the conditions for ecologically and economically effective land use practices. This is due partially to the limited availability of financial resources.

Cooperation

Land use policies are also subject to harmonization with European Union (EU) regulations.

Hungary participates in the relevant programmes of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The regional development directives and programmes of the EU are increasingly important for Hungary. These instruments, for example the Common Agricultural Programme, contain the essential requirements for sustainable land use.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: May 2000.

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MOUNTAINS

No information available.

 

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In Hungary, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was ratified in 1985; the Convention on the High Seas was ratified in 1961; the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter was ratified in 1976; and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships was ratified in 1983.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The government regulates the treatment of toxic chemicals. Responsibility for the control of toxic chemicals is shared among different ministries and institutions, but the Ministry of Welfare has the primary role. Regulations issued at different levels constitute the legislative framework for chemical safety. A governmental decree of 1985 and a ministerial decree of 1988 regulate production, marketing, use, licensing of toxic chemicals.

Chemical safety legislation is not yet properly harmonized with the requirements of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Serious steps have been taken, however, due to the environmental requirements for Hungary to join OECD.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

The recently prepared National Environmental Programme sets out the basic tasks for toxic chemical management. The programme underlines the importance of enhancing the legal basis for environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals and chemical safety; and for setting these regulations in line with OECD and EU criteria. A dedicated sub-programme to reduce chemical risks will be adopted and implemented by 2002 with registration of emergencies and damages in the fields of production, transportation, and storage.

Status 

Management of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes is a substantial problem. The major part of toxic waste is not properly treated or stored. Health hazard assessments and licencing documents are required under existing regulations for each chemical produced or used in Hungary. These assessments and licences are provided by experts of relevant institutes as well as by the Office of the Country Chief Medical Officer, National Public Health Centre.

Challenges

At present, there are still various infrastructure and resource problems for the adequate implementation of the chemical safety requirements. These constraints include a shortage of professionals in the field of toxicology; and the lack of means for developing and maintaining an effective information and control system.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The role of international cooperation in the improvement of management of toxic chemicals is important. The Government is committed to follow the OECD recommendations on the management of hazardous chemicals including the information exchange systems. Hungary participated in the International Conference on Chemical Safety held in Stockholm in April 1994.

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Currently, the government organizations responsible for the public administration of waste management are the Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy (responsible for waste management policy and control) and the Ministry of Welfare (responsible for public and environmental health issues). Participating authorities include: the Ministry of Industry and Trade (organizes the use of wastes and secondary raw materials, and licenses exports and imports); the Ministry of Agriculture (veterinary and phyto-sanitary issues); and the Ministry of the Interior (in charge of enforcement tasks related to municipal waste treatment).

Local governments are responsible for the treatment of municipal waste. They also issue construction permits for waste treatment facilities. Regional (county level) governments are also responsible for waste issues in the territory over which they have authority.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In Hungary, no uniform responsibilities are defined for waste management and there are no regulatory powers covering the whole waste sector. The forthcoming Act on Waste Management has been developed to address this deficiency.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

In Hungary in the early 1990s, all state owned specialized companies organized regionally into a trust to collect and purchase (mostly reusable) waste from industry and households for re-sale. Certain trading companies selling manufacturing equipment also operated in this fashion. The role of the private sector in this activity was insignificant.

Both the specific and the absolute values of municipal waste generated in Hungary are high when compared internationally. Around 100-110 million tons of waste are generated annually; with industry and agriculture producing 40% and 60% respectively. The quantity of waste generated dropped by about 20% due to a reduction in output and consumption between 1985 and 1994. The introduction of waste-effective technologies and products, the restructuring of industry, and planned development and reconstruction projects brought modest changes in 1993 and 1994. Only about half the production waste is reused, which represents 3% of total material use.

Eighty-three percent of municipal solid waste is collected and treated in an organized way. The proportion of recycling paper wastes, which represents more than 50% of domestic collection, has been extremely high. The pulp and paper industry gets more than 80% of its production material from waste paper. In other respects, solid waste treatment is limited mostly to landfill placement (91%). Budapest is the only city that has an incinerator for municipal solid waste (annual capacity 310 thousand tons).

The state of sewerage and sewage treatment is unsatisfactory. Only 43% of dwellings have sewers. By 2010, Hungary's objective is that all settlements with a population of more than 2,000 will have biological sewage treatment facilities. Approximately 54% of the collected wastewater is discharged into treatment plants, where 33% receives biological treatment. This is a very unfavourable situation because it endangers the quality of surface and subsurface waters in many locations.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

Municipalities receive standardized support from the government budget based on the annual budget. The size of the support is determined according to the number of residents. These disbursements are debited from the budget allocation to general responsibilities of local governments or from the allocations for settlement operation. The treatment and disposal of municipal liquid waste may also be supported from central government allocations. The amount of per capita support is HUF 1637. The provisions of the Act on Targeted Subsidies also allow disbursements to support waste management tasks, for example, establishing regional landfills. Municipalities may set aside 30% of the income generated by environmental fines to create municipal conservation funds to support the implementation of their responsibilities. They may also apply through tender for subsidies from government funds set aside for capital investment and development projects. These include: Earmarked Estimates for Regional Development, the Central Environmental Protection Fund, and Earmarked Estimates for Economic Development. The Central Environmental Protection Fund may be used to extend interest-free or concessionary loans, or to issue financial guarantees for credit purposes to applicants from the business sector.

Cooperation

With the price of waste in Hungary lower than in other countries, there has been a lot of interest, mostly from Western Europe, in reusable iron, steel, and a variety of non-ferrous metal (copper, aluminium) wastes. Several enterprises (around 600 with 1000 sites) are engaged in collecting and purchasing wastes primarily for export purposes. Additionally, a smaller circle of enterprises, mostly partnerships, have been established for secondary processing (cutting, compacting, packaging in bales) for foreign markets. However, only a few are successful due to low capitalization.

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on solid waste and sanitation, click here.

 

Hazardous Waste

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was ratified in 1990. In hazardous waste export-import issues, the provisions of the Convention are taken into consideration in the course of licensing in Hungary; and the required information and notification are regularly provided to the Secretariat.

The government, primarily though the Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy, regulates and controls the treatment of hazardous wastes. The current regulations are harmonized with the provisions of the Basel Convention. The Government decision on "The control of the production of hazardous waste and the activities related to its neutralization" (56/1981) was revised by a recent decree (27/1992). It is the primary legal instrument for hazardous waste management supported by other laws and decrees which partially address these issues. New, comprehensive legislation on waste prevention, re-use and management was to be enacted in 1994.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

These problems and objectives are now summarized in the framework of the National Environmental Programme which identifies adequate waste management as one of the most urgent tasks. It is generally recognized that some basic problems should be solved as soon as possible. This would include the development of a comprehensive waste management act, and the development of a reliable information system for the different types of waste. There is an urgent need to increase waste disposal capacity for hazardous wastes. The implementation of tasks, such as waste surveys, stipulated by international conventions and programmes, particularly those of the Basel Convention, should also be a priority. It is planned to increase the incineration and dumping capacities for hazardous waste to 25,000 tons/year by the year 2002. In addition, the prevention of hazardous waste production should be promoted by using proper technological methods and changes in production patterns.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

Hazardous wastes and their management is a substantial problem in Hungary. A programme to build a network of regional hazardous waste landfills and incinerator plants was established in the mid-1980s, but has not been completed due to limited financial resources. One modern incinerator plant, one chemically secure landfill, and four interim storage sites have been constructed and put into operation. This is less than half of what was planned. The establishment of new regional incinerators is planned in the near future. In addition, many large and small factories have their own storage facilities.

A new registration programme covering the quantity and treatment of hazardous wastes is being prepared. Waste avoidance and recycling are regarded as the most significant long-term strategies for waste management, and should be given priority over treatment and disposal.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

International cooperation is important in improving the management of hazardous wastes. Hungary is an active participant to the Basel Convention and supports collaboration through bilateral agreements with several countries (Switzerland, Denmark, Japan, USA). In addition, a Phare project was carried out to create a strategy on hazardous waste management for the north-west region of Hungary.

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This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on hazardous waste, click here.
For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

 

Radioactive Waste

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Act on Nuclear Energy, passed by Parliament in 1980, defines the responsibilities of various ministries. The Ministry of Welfare is responsible for the licensing of the disposal of radioactive wastes. Interdepartmental projects are coordinated by the competent authorities and ministries, such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy, the Ministry of Welfare, the National Committee for Technological Development, the National Atomic Energy Commission, and the Hungarian Power Company Ltd. Under the above Act, licenses for construction, operation and other related activities must not be granted unless sufficient measures are taken for the safe storage of radioactive wastes.

In Hungary, Act LXVI/1996, and its related executive orders, specify and govern the responsibilities, procedures, and rules regarding the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy; including nuclear power generation and the treatment, disposal, and transportation of radioactive wastes. There is a single facility for final disposal and processing of radioactive waste in Hungary. It is used to achieve enhanced safe disposal of radioactive wastes generated in Hungary and originating from isotope use and manufacture. The waste is collected regularly and professionally by the Radioactive Waste Processing and Storage Plant under the auspices of the National Public Health and Medical Officers Service.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

The issue of radioactive waste arose when the first nuclear power station was started in Paks. This nuclear power plant generates most of the radioactive waste in Hungary. To promote the safe and sustainable management of radioactive wastes, a special national project has been introduced. The first phase of the project will outline the complex strategy necessary for the management and disposal of all types of radioactive wastes. The project will also elaborate criteria for site selection, select disposal technologies, suggest potential regions for high and low level waste disposal, establish the financial basis for waste management, and address public acceptance.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Hungary to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on radioactive waste from the application if isotopes, click here.
For national information on waste from nuclear energy production, click here.
Click here for national information on special radioactive waste


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