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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |Slovak Republic

ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Ministries of: the Environment; Foreign Affairs; and  Economy; etc.

Co-ordination is ensured mainly by Ministry of the Environment and the Council of the Government of Sustainable Development that involves all the relevant ministries and governmental bodies. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

In the area of foreign trade policy there are resolutions of the Government of the Slovak Republic 499/1999 on comprehensive programme of support for export and 356/2000 to the report on foreign trade of the Slovak Republic.

Within the comprehensive programme of support for export the efforts of the Slovak Republic are concentrated on complying with commitments in relation to WTO, commitments resulted from the Agreement on Customs Union between the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic, multilateral agreements on free trade to support liberalization processes in international business. Resolution of the Government of the Slovak Republic 356/2000 has approved contribution programmes for export and investment support oriented to assisting the small and medium enterprises from the point of view of competitiveness on the developed world markets.

One of the contribution programmes of investment and export support approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic is the Programme of support of industrial zone development which should increase the volume of foreign direct investments as one of the conditions for stabilization of economy and sustainable economic growth.

New legislation has been passed, as for example the act No. 76/1998 on protection of the ozone layer of the Earth, which confines the trade with ozone depleting layer of the Earth. Environmental standards are being harmonised in order to achieve compatibility with legislation of the European Union.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic has submitted for discussion within the Government the material "Information on methodological guidelines for dealing with old ecological burdens", which supposed elaboration of draft act on contaminated territories till 2002. This act should bring a comprehensive solution of the issue of old ecological burdens. Until elaboration of the act on contaminated territories, individual evaluation of old ecological burdens with determination of responsibility and process of financing the remedial measures will be ensured in individual cases of enter of foreign capital.

The Slovak Republic as a UNCTAD member in the framework of international co-operation supports economic growth in developing countries with the aim of sustainable development and actively participates in activities of other international organizations in the issues of trade liberalization, fair economic competition and trade and investment support. In the framework of Agreement on General System of Preferences the Slovak Republic applies preferential system of tariffs on imports from 102 developing countries and the 48 least developed countries. Preferential rate measures are related to goods coming and imported directly from developing countries up to 2,000,000 USD or equivalent in another currency in the structure of applied preferential tariff. After exceeding this limit a contracted tariff rate will be applied. The goods imported and coming directly from the least developed countries is free of tariff. Provision of General System of Preferences is regulated by a regulation of the Government of the Slovak Republic 360/1996. In the framework of regional programmes and projects (Capacity 21, Democracy 6) this agreement contributes to sustainable development in developing countries.

The Slovak Republic actively participates in activities of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that supports liberalization of trade relations among their members. The Government of the Slovak Republic in September 1997 approved accession to the Ministerial declaration on trade in products of information technologies (ITA), facilitating the access to products of information technologies through gradual reduction of tariff rates, and to the Fourth Protocol to the General Agreement on Services (GATS) that liberalizes services in the sector of basic telecommunications. In December 1998 the Slovak Republic accessed to the Fifth Protocol to the GATS, which means further liberalization in the sector of financial services. The Slovak Republic is an active participant or observer of regional groups and agreements – SEI, BSEC, CMHS, CEFTA. 

Trade liberalization and globalization:

In order to prepare opening of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations the mandate negotiations were organized in 2000 in the bodies of the WTO, particularly, in the Council for trade in services and in the Committee for agriculture, where the Slovak Republic participates. At the same time negotiations of individual permanent bodies of WTO supervising implementation of WTO agreements that are based on open, non-discriminatory multilateral trade system continue. Besides the above mentioned bodies the Slovak Republic actively participates in meetings of the most important body – General Council of WTO, in particular as far as meetings affecting the foreign trade policy of the Slovak Republic are concerned (Committee for regional trade agreements, Committee for sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, Committee for trade in products of information technologies, etc.).

Within the WTO the Slovak Republic actively participates in negotiations on accession of countries to the WTO, in particular countries that are strategic trade partners of the Slovak Republic (Ukraine, Russian Federation, Belarus, Lithuania, Croatia). Before sessions there are bilateral consultation meetings with individual countries in accession process organized where concession documents and documents of special commitments of an accessing country are discussed. At the same time the Slovak Republic prepares for discussion on a trade regime for the period of 1995-2000 in the WTO body for survey of trade policies of individual member countries.

Up till now the Slovak Republic has concluded 12 preferential agreements in accordance with GATT provisions that are an important contribution to liberalization of trade and gradual integration. Small and medium exporters constitute an important export potential of Slovakia in strengthening the role of trade in particular from perspective point of view because they have a considerable ability to increase dynamism of export, fasten adaptation to changing conditions of international markets. Their share in the Slovak  export has stabilized in period of 1998-1999 on the level of 32 percent.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

The social policy of the European Union covers a number of issues: living and working conditions of employees, their health and safety, equal opportunities for men and women, dialogue between social partners, human resources, employment, social protection and social exclusion. Social policy was developed via various tools, including legal instruments and the European Social Fund as well as activities oriented to specific issues, e.g. health of inhabitants, poverty and role of the handicapped.

Role of social partners and social dialogue in the Slovak Republic.  The social partnership has been institutionalized:

Political changes in 1989, preparation and launching of the fundamental economic and social changes in 1989 constituted a considerable pressure on economy and inhabitants that caused a danger of social tension. Social and economic changes after 1989 led to transformation of economy, proprietary relations and production conditions.

The roles of the Government as an organizer and managing component of production process were to large extent transferred on enterprises that have become sovereign economic units. Besides managing the production process the enterprises have become responsible for setting conditions for employees in accordance with production relations.

Collective negotiation in Slovakia:

Trade unions, as in other countries, are the largest organizations of employees and they fight for rights and interests of the employees in the area of working and social policy. Power of trade unions and implementation of interests of employees are demonstrated in preparation of acts in labor and social areas. Collective negotiation represents the most dynamically developing area of working relations characterized by fulfillment of social and economic rights in a context of international commitments by establishing a special legal regime of independent trade unions within the Act 83/1990 as amended by further legal instruments and by adopting a legal arrangement of collective negotiation within the Act 2/1991. Collective working relations were subject of important reforms since early 1990s. The Act on collective negotiation as a basic legal standard deals with collective negotiation among relevant trade union organizations and employers which is oriented to conclusion of a collective contract. This Act has two advantages – it gives trade unions an exclusive rights of collective negotiation and collective contracts are basis of the labor law. The Act deals with basic institutions of collective negotiation, such as:

At present the amendment to the Act 2/1991 on collective negotiation has been prepared. It should simplify survey on legal arrangement dealing with collective negotiations. Provision of the Decree on mediators and arbitrators will be transferred to the new legal arrangement.

Tripartite:

Tripartite ensures a broad consensus of opinions among the state, employers and employees who can join in the interest of public welfare. It is necessary to stress importance of role of individual social partners in such a form as they are applied in practice. Forming new relations in the area of social work is a creative process involving employees and employers and their organizations and unions. It is a process of co-operation based on respecting the rights, obligations and responsibility.

The Council of economic and social agreement of the Slovak Republic, which works on the basis of consensus of all stakeholders, was established in October 1990 on the basis of a voluntary agreement of three social partners: the Government, trade unions and organizations of employers. The General Agreement is a basic tool to achieve and maintain social peace that is a condition for economic and social transformation and positive development of the economy. This Agreement defines position of the Government, trade unions and employers, as far as economy, employment, incomes, social policy and rights of employees are concerned, and is based on legal instruments in force and recommendations of International Labor Organizations. The Agreement is based on effort to avoid social tension and to create conditions for maintaining the social peace and is legally binding for all three stakeholder groups. The General Agreement, in contrary to collective contracts, is not a legal document, it is a gentleman agreement. Its fulfillment is not possible to enforce by legal means. 

One of the completed phases strengthening the active participation of social partners in social dialogue was the adoption Act 106/1999 of 12 May 1999 on economic and social partnership (the tripartite act). This act deals with relations of economic and social partnership among the state, employers and employees (social partners) who through their representatives make agreements on basic issues of economic and social development and negotiate on these issues with the aim to achieve an agreement on national level.

The current economic and social situation still more intensively requires solution of problems on the basis of social dialogue and partnership, i.e. seeking the most suitable ways to deal with these problems in a form of mutual agreement and consensus. For effective social dialogue it is important to perfectly know the social situation of the state. Based on investigative surveys the social dialogue is transferring to regional level. The evidence is establishment of regional tripartite in various regions of Slovakia. Regional tripartite in the Slovak Republic as common, initiative, consultation, negotiation bodies of local state administration, trade unions and employers of a given region begin to participate in formulating the social policy on regional level. Their characteristic feature is voluntaries and seeking mutually acceptable solutions in the area of their competence on the basis of consensus.

The basic problematic issues which are subject of activities of regional tripartite are problems of economic and social development of a region, active policy of employment (solution of employment problems in a region), problems with minorities, protection of consumers, support of development of small and medium enterprises, advisory activities, problems of sectors of education, transport and health, environmental protection, violation of basic human rights, etc..

Necessity to create feeling of co-responsibility for maintaining social peace is the main opportunity for further development of dialogue among individual partners. Based on Labor Code and the Act 106/1999 on economic and social partnership (tripartite act) the social partners participated in preparation of acts in the area of labor law and its reform.

Women:

Basis of institutional mechanisms for ensuring the equal opportunities was established in 1996, when the Parliamentary Commission for Women was established at the Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic for Health and Social Affairs. It is oriented to promotion of interests of women within parliamentary negotiations. In 1999 the Parliamentary Commission for Women at the Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic for Human Rights and Minorities began to work. The Coordinating Committee for Issues of Women has been working since 1996. It is an advisory, coordinating and initiative body of the Government of the Slovak Republic for issues of women and for gender issues in all areas of public and family life. The Coordinating Committee for Issues of Women elaborated on the basis of the Fourth Women Conference in Beijing the National Action Plan for Women in the Slovak Republic that was approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic in 1997.

Based on co-operation between the Government of the Slovak Republic and the United Nations Development Programme, the National Center for Gender Issues was established in 1997 as information, documentary and coordinating center for non-governmental organizations.

Department of Gender Issues was established within the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic which ensures approximation of the Slovak legislation with the EU law. This department was responsible for preparation of the National Report of the Slovak Republic on Population and Development (Cairo + 5) and the National Report of the Slovak Republic on Implementation of Peking Action Platform. The department is preparing the Conception of Gender Issues.

Coordinating Committee for Issues of Women and Department of Gender Issues of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic submitted projects of international co-operation to the UNDP and other support programmes of the European Union. Co-operation is planned in particular in the area of involvement of women in decision-making processes, political life and programmes for women with fewer development chances. Equal position of women, sexual non-discrimination is included in educational programmes of schools.

Programmes and Projects   

In the period of 1997-1998 the UNDP Programme Capacity 21 for the Slovak Republic was carried out that was oriented on establishment of a participatory network for environmental assessment and sustainable development in the Slovak Republic. The principal objective of this network was to establish a basis of a network of experts dealing with environment and sustainable development working in various areas of social and economic life of the society. 

In 1999 the second UNDP-funded programme started which is oriented first of all on preparation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development.

Ministry of the Environment received a special grant from Global Environmental Facility (GEF) for preparation of biodiversity strategy, action plan and the first national report on implementation of the Convention. The National Strategy of Protection of Biodiversity in Slovakia and the Action Plan for Realization of the National Strategy of Protection of Biodiversity in the Slovak Republic were elaborated in 1997. The main principles and strategic objectives of the National Strategy of Protection of Biodiversity in Slovakia are:

Conditions of habitat are respected in forest management. In order to more fully implement ecological aspects in forest management models of forest management according to forest areas of Slovakia have been elaborated in the light of the system of legislative regulations currently in force, which will be introduced into practice of forest management arrangements.

Through the programmes PHARE CBC and Interreg II the issue of sustainable development is being dealt with in a form of transboundary cooperation with Hungary and Austria. In this way institutional cooperation of local and regional bodies is being created and preparedness of human resources in solution of issues of sustainable development is being increased.  In the framework of regional development in collaboration with the Ministry of Construction and Regional Development the Phare 2000 programme has been oriented human resources development (education, re-qualification).  Improvement of labor protection system (education, legislation, information systems, information for the public, management systems in enterprises).

Bilateral co-operation with the Netherlands – MATRA – education of labor inspectors that provide advice in enterprises.

Programmes for improvements in unemployment, employment of handicapped people – 2000.

Specialized preparatory programme – action plans of employment – 1999.

Status   

Among the earliest transition measures undertaken in Slovakia was the liberalization of foreign trade. As a result, the foreign trade monopoly was lifted and this facilitated a more active involvement of the Slovak economy in international trade. The second measure undertaken was a three-step devaluation of the Slovak crown. This act established preconditions for alerting the interest of foreign partners in domestic production. Exports were given preferential treatment while imports were treated less favorably. Yet, due to an increase of the costs of inputs from abroad and controlled prices in the local market, economic enterprises continued to operate at a loss. The objective of the devaluation was to promote exports and curtail imports. Eventually, the implementation of these measures did not meet expectations due to improper timing. The collapse of the COMECON market and the economic slump in Western countries resulted in the further devaluation of the Slovak crown which triggered inflation. The lingering effect of State paternalistic practices was superimposed via inflationary prices on companies, households, farmers, research and development, health care, etc.

Growth of production in several areas initiated by increased export of the Slovak Republic has not caused recently any changes of the environment, which would present problems.

In the sector of machinery after 1989 a significant decrease of production and export can be observed which caused also decrease of impacts on the environment. Investment into new productions and technologies were practically none. During last two years more significant revival of production can be observed in car production, mainly due to company Volkswagen Bratislava. New investments comply with environmental requirements. At present support of the Government for entrance of foreign (strategic) investors into the sector of machinery is becoming still more and more important. Minimisation or elimination of adverse impacts of previous industrial activities is connected to that, and that means need of financing the recovery of territories adversely affected by industries.

In the sector of chemical industry investments in 1980s and 1990s were aimed at protection of the environment and at adjustment of production processes, which were also leading to more effective use of resources and energy. The total decline of industrial production after 1990 led to decrease of productions with high level of pollution.

In the textile industry, lather and boot production no modernisation of production-technological basis has been realised recently.

Development in the sectors of glass-making, polygraphic and cloth production in the Slovak Republic is stabilised. Impacts of this development on the environment are not adverse, which is determined by decline and abandonment of the most adverse productions (textile factories and tanneries).

As far as wood processing industry is concerned there has been no increase of environmental problems caused by export or production.

The sector of pulp and paper production together with growth of production and investments and, in particular in accordance with financial possibilities pays appropriate attention to problems of the environment a there is no extreme burden on the environment.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The International Conference “Towards Sustainable Development – Challenge of the New Millennium” was held in Bratislava on 27-29 November 2000 in the framework of the UNDP-supported project “Capacity Building for Sustainable Development in the Slovak Republic”. The Conference was co-organized by the Regional Environmental Center Slovakia, the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic and the United Nations Development Programme. The main objectives of the Conference were:

Information   

Information related to trade, investment and economic growth is made available to potential users in aggregated form for individual sectors of national economy through bulletins of the Office for Statistics of the Slovak Republic. Index of industrial production is calculated in accordance with international standards since January 1999. As far as our knowledge is concerned, this information is not made available on the Internet.

Research and Technologies   

Ministry of Economy has worked out a draft “Conceptional Orientation of Technological Policy of Industrial Sectors of the Slovak Republic till 2003”. The main priorities of technological policy are:

In accordance with an action programme for strengthening the competitive power of the industry the content of the Conceptional Orientation of Technological Policy of Industrial Sectors of the Slovak Republic till 2003 was oriented to the following programme orientations of research and development:

The Conceptional Orientation of Technological Policy of Industrial Sectors is oriented so that the results contribute to positive growth of competitiveness of the country and sustainable development of the society. Through application of results of research in relevant production and technological areas the following benefits of industrial sectors are expected:

Financing   

Mobilization of domestic and external financial resources for development cooperation:

A comprehensive institutional system of financial support of small and medium enterprises has been established in the Slovak Republic that is comparable to systems in countries with developed market economy, with exclusion of amount of available funds that is in the Slovak Republic considerably lower.

Cooperation

The Slovak Government believes that the integration of the country into European political and economic structures is a prerequisite for ensuring the democratic development of society and the country's economic prosperity. The signing of the Europe Agreement concluded between the European Communities and their member countries on the one hand, and the Slovak Republic on the other, played a significant role in promoting this goal. This Agreement became effective in February 1995, and it assumes the establishment of a free-trade zone between the Slovak Republic and European Union (EU) countries.

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This information is based on Slovakia’s submissions to the 5th, 8th, and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update:  April 2001.

Click here for the ECE Statistical country profile for the Slovak Republic.
For information in the Slovak Republic on the PHARE projects, click here.

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TRADE

No information is available

This information is based on Slovakia’s submissions to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

Click here for the ECE Statistical country profile for the Slovak Republic.
For information in the Slovak Republic on the PHARE projects, click here.

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Status   

The Government has stated that among its long-term objectives it would like to reduce electric energy and water consumption to the average of member countries of the European Union (EU). The energy-supply system in Slovakia has limited resources. All available resources, including fossil fuels, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy are utilized for the generation of electrical energy. The use of non-traditional, alternative energy sources is still in an experimental phase. Two large fossil fuel based thermal electric power stations are currently in operation, as well as six large district heating plants, and one nuclear power station. A second nuclear power station is under construction. The electrical energy grid is evenly distributed throughout Slovakia and is connected to systems in neighboring countries.

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

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FINANCING 

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

In the past, the implementation of both economic and non-economic environmental conservation instruments which could influence or ameliorate environmental degradation were excluded due to the country's centrally-driven government and policies, the monopolistic status of the state sector especially in the branches of heavy industry, and the absence of institutional protection of the environment. The present Government anticipates the wider use of economic instruments for environmental conservation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

To combat poverty, in particularly social aid allowances are allocated from the state budget, budget of the Social Insurance Agency and from the National Labour Office. These allowances are provided during unemployment, social troubles, for support of housing, etc.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges

Slovakia suffers from the lack of a vibrant private sector, capital markets, resources and credit which would help rebuild the economy and provide potential mechanisms for environmental protection. Additional impediments to environmental protection include: the inaccurate valuation of natural resources, an inflexible finance and banking system, the delayed arrival of foreign capital oriented towards environmental projects, the centralized distribution of financial resources, and the lack of entrepreneurial interest in environmental products and services.

In contrast to the recent past, when foreign partners were willing to assume environmental accountability in return for an increased share of ownership, these partners now demand that environmental responsibility be assumed and guaranteed by the Slovak Government. Since the first round of privatization, neither the environmental liabilities of the newly privatized enterprises, nor their impact on the environment have yet been evaluated.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available

Information 

Information on public financial sources devoted to financing sustainable development is published in the approved state budget, budgets of environmental state funds and budgets of municipalities for respective year. Data covering the whole state budget (balance) are published on Internet, but concrete data on financing the relevant part are not published separately and cannot be found gained from information on the whole state budget. Information from private sector, i.e. private sources, is not known to us.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Currently new environmental taxes, levies or charges have not been introduced. Slovakia has not identified environmentally unsustainable subsidies.

State budget expenditures by the Ministry of the Environment in 1991 totalled CSK 1,226,788, and in 1992 CSK 2,329,217 (after incorporation of the Slovak Geological Institute into the Ministry) . However, the total fell to SK 1,482,785 in 1993 (0.93% of the National budget of the Slovak Republic). For 1994, environmental expenditures were further reduced to SK 1,116,009 (0.80% of the National budget). In 1993, state funds for environmental protection were provided not only in the budget of the Ministry of the Environment, but also in the budgets of the Ministry of the Economy (SK 443,292), the Ministry of Agriculture (SK 2,915,000), the Ministry of Culture (SK 6,855), and the Ministry of Education and Science (SK 1,200), for a total of SK 3,458,972. Slovakia is a recipient country of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Cooperation  

No information is available

 

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This information is based on Slovakia’s submissions to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

For information on participating States in the Global Environment Fund, click here.
For information about issues and projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia from the World Bank, click here.

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TECHNOLOGY

Transfer of Environmentally-Sound Technology

Status   

A positive step in research and technology activities includes the establishment of the Grant Committee for Research and Technology. The amended Higher Education Act and the Act on State Support of Science and Technology are expected to improve the development of science and technology in the educational system.

A dramatic decline (60%) of workers in science and technology was reported after 1989. College and university educators often leave school positions due to inadequate working conditions. Generally speaking, funds allocated for research on science and technology have been limited. Of the sum allocated for research and development, 12 to 14% is intended for university research, and 70% for sector research.

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This information was provided by the Government of Slovakia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update:  April 1997.

Biotechnology

No information available.

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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INDUSTRY

Status   

Industrial production is the origin of a significant amount of air pollution in Slovakia. Slovakia produces four times the sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions of neighboring Austria, despite the fact that SO2 production has declined from 606,000 tons in 1988 to 374,000 tons in 1992. The reason for their reduction is the replacement of lesser quality fuel by more environmentally sound fuels such as gas, heating oil, coal with lower levels of incombustible components, as well as a general decrease of power generation and consumption after 1989. The conversion to gas has also contributed to the reduction of SO2 emissions.

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This information was provided by the Government of Slovakia to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update:  April 1997.

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TRANSPORT

 

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Ministries of: Transport, Post and Telecommunications; Interior; the Environment; Construction and Regional Development; Soil Management;  Economy; Finance; and Defense.  Governmental departments and state organizations: Regional offices; District offices; The Railways; Road Management; Airport Management; Management of Flight Operation; The State Navigation Management; The Slovak Navigation and Ports; The State Railway Office; The Naval Office; The State Transport Office; and The Aviation Office.

The Conception of Transport Development was approved by the Government in 1993 as a basic starting document for development plans in the transport sector (the Resolution of the Government 166/1993).Realisation of concrete development programmes determined by the Conception and their application is ensured by formulating the principles of the national transport policy.

Principles of the state transport policy as a set of mutually conditioned objectives and ways of coordinated development of individual modes of transport in the Slovak Republic were discussed and approved by the Government (Resolution 648/1993. This main systematic material of the transport sector constituted a basis of the transport system which fulfils important roles in the framework of the economic policy. Subsequently to adopted Principles the Government by the Resolution 284/1994 approved the Elaboration of Principles into concrete (mainly legislative) tasks. Comparability to principles of the common transport policy of the European Union  has been achieved through systematic approach to formulating the principles of the state transport policy. Gradual coordination of the transport policy of the Slovak Republic with other European states has been ensured by participation of representatives of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications in relevant CEMT committees (the Conference of the European Ministers of Transport).

The Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications reflected the perspective of development of transport, post and telecommunications into the main plans of the sector for 1996 – 1998 and into the Updating of development programmes for period 1996-1999. The main plans of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications in the area of development of transport infrastructure have been fully transferred into the Principles of the economic policy.

At the beginning of 1996 the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications submitted the “Long-term programme of railway network development”. The principal activities of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications however included the programme of motorway network development. The Government of the Slovak Republic adopted the resolution 269/1995 to the document “Development of motorways and international roads on the territory of the Slovak Republic” by which it laid down completion of motorway network by 2005. The Government also adopted the resolution 965/1995 to the “Comprehensive project on preparation and construction of motorways on the territory of the Slovak Republic” by which it took note of solution of the crucial problematic areas in the phase of investment preparation, financing and realization of individual motorway segments.

The National report on relations between transport and the environment in the Slovak Republic has been worked out in co-operation with the Ministry of the Environment for the UN ECE Regional conference on transport and the environment (1997). This report is utilized for presentation of the interests of the Government of the Slovak Republic in implementation of sustainable development objectives in development plans of transport systems in the Slovak Republic.

The Programme Declaration of the Government is decisive also for dealing with environmental problems in the sector of transport. The Action plan for the area of transport and the environment was approved by the Government by the resolution 102 of 3 February 1999. The Action plan is determined by the National report on relation between transport and the environment prepared in the framework of preparation for the UN ECE Vienna Conference (1997).

In the framework of its responsibility the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications continually develops the co-operation with the European Institutions in order to create favorable conditions for accession of the Slovak Republic to the European Union. It also aims at internal harmonization of transport market with the external (European) framework. In this context the Updating and specification of principles of the state transport policy has been submitted. This document was adopted by the Government resolution 21/2000 of 12 January 2000. 

When taking into account the responsibilities assigned to individual levels of state administration by the Act on road transport, it is apparent that public transport in regions is at present controlled by regional offices (public regular bus transport – distant and sub-urban) and by municipalities (urban public transport) which take decisions on transport licenses. In general terms it can be stated that transporters who propose the extent and directions of transport outputs are the real transport policy makers in regions. The regional office influences the extent of transport outputs by allocating the amount of non-investment subsidies determined in accordance with the Act on state budget “to cover loss of incomes caused by providing discounts and services for the territory”.

Responsibilities and state administration in railway network are determined by the eighth part of the Act on railway network (State administration and state supervision in railway network). State administration in railway network, including state supervision, is carried out by railway administrative offices, i.e. the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications, the State Railway Office and Regional Offices. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The Acts in force in the area of transport:

These acts were adopted or amended after 1992, some are proposed for further amendments in relation with harmonization with the EU legislation, in the framework of the Legislative plan of the Government for 2000.

Decrees in force in the area of transport:

Road transport

Conditions and requirements for road vehicles from the point of view of pollutants in exhaust gases are laid down by the Decree of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications 116/1997 on conditions of traffic of vehicles on terrestrial communications.

Railway transport

Relevant regulations of the International Railway Union – UIC (Regulation of UIC 623-2, S1015 P/RP 1,…) are applied for approval of new types of railway driving vehicles of the motor traction from the point of view of emission production.

Air transport

The regulation of the Federal Ministry of Transport of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic L 16/II – Protection of the Environment – Volume II, Exhalations of aircraft engines, issued in relation to similar international regulation Annex 16/II ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), is applied for approval of technical capability of aircrafts and aircraft engines from the point of view of emission production.

Water transport

Smoke production of diesel engines in vessels is assessed in accordance with the STN standard 09 0867 “Piston combustion engines. Acceptable values and methods of measurement of smoke production”. The standard is generally valid for railway, vessel and industrial diesel engines.

The public passenger transport (railway and road) is still economically more advantageous and environmentally more friendly than individual road transport. 

The current level of Slovak transport infrastructure is below the European standard. The highway network, 195 km long, is far behind the European Union average. Road network coverage of "adequate" quality is not homogeneous. Despite the good quality of the surfaces of class I roads, their width and lane parameters are substandard. In 1995, the Government of Slovakia adopted a new concept of highway network development. Preparatory measures are being finalized for the construction of a highway network with a total length of 660 km before the year 2005.

The significance of noise and vibrations with adverse impact on the quality of the environment, human health, and on animal and plant kingdoms is increasing. In 1993, the preparation of an amendment to the Decree of the Slovak Ministry of Health No. 14/1977 on health protection against the adverse impact of noise and vibrations was initiated. The adverse impact of traffic noise can be primarily assigned to trams (76.2;%), followed by railroads (13.6 %), and air transport (10.3%). Although the numbers of personal vehicles have been on the increase, they do not necessarily have a direct impact on air pollution in urban areas, due to the introduction of lead-free gas and other technical measures (catalytic converters, etc.).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

The comprehensive strategy of transport system development in the Slovak Republic is rooted in the documents Principles of the State Transport Policy and the Strategy of Development of the Sector of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications. The basic strategic objectives of the transport development are determined by striving for the European integration of the Slovak Republic and represent conditions of permanent direction of development with the aim of sustainable mobility in integrated use of all modes of transport with special focus at intermodality and support of more ecological modes, i.e. railway transport, inland water transport and combined transport, as well as public passenger transport with creation of conditions for air transport accessibility of the Slovak Republic.

Conception of transport development as a starting document for ensuring development plans of transport sector in individual sectors was adopted by the resolution of the Government 166/1993 and was gradually amended and specified in development conceptions of individual transport sectors.

Until recently, there has not been integrated strategy of regional development planning in the Slovak Republic. The development of regions has been regulated by the territorial plans of higher territorial units, regions, which have also included transport development in regions.

Extension of transport infrastructure

Road network:

Previous long-term plans of construction of motorways and roads in Slovakia were after 1998 elections revised a replaced by plans with short-term perspective (2-3 years). The Conception of development of motorway infrastructure according to schedule of activities for 1999-2002 was approved by the resolution of the Government 236/1999.This conceptions is now being updated, but it is basically still binding. Financial need for realization of the mentioned plan is 30,225.6 million SKK (app. 600 million USD).

Road network in the Slovak Republic sufficient, as far as length and density are concerned, it is however necessary to concentrate on its quality. In the framework of required reconstructions it is necessary to gradually build new developments of cities and towns and to homogenize the road segments to achieve higher quality. In 1998 the Slovak Road Management worked out a conception of road network development.

Railway network:

Strategic objectives of further development

Considerable increase of quality to achieve the level of developed European railways will be achieved by upgrading of railway infrastructure. The crucial factors are upgrading of railway transport roads, selected border stations, information network and railway nodes. Development of railway transport development is achievable mainly through upgrading of international corridors defined by the 1994 Pan-European Conference of ministers of transport which was confirmed in Helsinki in 1998. Development of corridors is connected to the attempts of the European Union to develop a new railway policy. The transport policy of the Slovak Republic and the European Union expresses not only integration ambitions to unify a working railway system on the European continent but harmonization of qualitative indicators, legislative measures and increase of performance of railways in all states of Europe.

Draft development of railway network is determined by prognosis of future development of transport in Europe and by principles of the European transport policy which stresses the importance of utilization of ecological modes of transport, in particular railway transport. Investment priorities of development of railway network are in particular:

Short-term and middle-term objectives:

In the area of infrastructure and technical basis there is a lack of not only development but also, operational costs as well. All previous development documents have identified this problem and conditioned further development by adoption of adequate model of funding, which would allow application both of public and non-budgetary resources (domestic and foreign). The whole process of increase of quality cannot be realized on the whole territory, taking into account extent of problems and available financial resources. Therefore in the first phase it is necessary to concentrate on railway tracks included in the agreements AGC and AGTC, which cross the territory of the Slovak Republic and constitute an important part railway network of the European importance. Upgrading of corridors No. IV, V and VI will substantially increase competitiveness of transit transport on the Slovak railway tracks.

Priorities

1 – upgrading of Crete transit corridors,

2 – upgrading of border stations on transit corridors,

3 – upgrading of other railway network,

4 – telecommunication network,

5 – other constructions,

6 – upgrading of mobile park

Development of infrastructure of railway transport is achievable mainly by upgrading the international corridors defined by the Pan-European Conference of ministers of transport in Crete in 1994 and confirmed in Helsinki in 1998. . Development of corridors is connected to the attempts of the European Union to develop a new railway policy. The transport policy of the Slovak Republic and the European Union expresses not only integration ambitions to unify a working railway system on the European continent but harmonization of qualitative indicators, legislative measures and increase of performance of railways in all states of Europe.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

Self-governmental authorities of territorial units (municipalities), organizations of the third sector. Comments of the public to the transport policy are collected through public assessment and commenting.

The private sector is involved in this process through the Association of employers and its individual unions (e.g. the Union of employers in transport, post and telecommunications).

Programmes and Projects   

The Action Plan for the area of transport and the environment was adopted by the resolution of the Government 102/1999. It includes 67 mutually inter-linked measures, which will be in long-term, middle-term and short-term perspective and which are aimed at change of orientation of transport development towards sustainable development. One of these measures is the Programme of support of planning and realization of integrated systems of mass passenger transport which deals with issues of planning, creation and possibility of realization of integrated transport systems in passenger transport in Slovakia. This programme has a middle-term character (3-5 years).

Reducing emissions from transportation, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds: Monitoring the reduction of emissions from transport operation in the Slovak Republic and meeting the commitments of international conventions and protocols, to which the Slovak Republic has accessed.  The transport sector in Slovakia has:

Fulfillment of programmes of reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds from transport operation in the Slovak Republic contributes to considerable reduction of emissions of other pollutants produced by transport, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates.

Strategy of development of transport, post and telecommunications from the point of view of integration of the Slovak Republic into the European Union (April 2000) in accordance with the updating of the state transport policy (January 2000) defines the following scientific and technical programmes:

Programme 1: Development of quality of transport and communication systems and services;

Programme 2: Transformation and harmonization of transport and communication systems;

Programme 3: Development of logistic and information systems;

Programme 4: Development of information technologies and communication systems in creation of information society.  In 2000 the following projects are being implemented by the Research Transport Institute:

Status   

Situation in provision of transport services has worsened when compared to the past. The main reasons are:

Analysis of transport services provided to individual municipalities in relation to district cities shows that situation in providing transport services to inhabitants of municipalities is satisfactory. If we come out from standards of transport services proposed in the project “Conception of Harmonization of Transport Systems”, according to which each municipality has to have during working days 6 pairs and during Saturdays and Sundays 3 pairs of transport lines with a center (district) city, we can state that at present:

On the other hand 53 percent of municipalities have more than 12 pairs of transportation lines during a working day. 25 percent of municipalities have more than 12 pairs of lines on Saturdays and 23 percent of municipalities have more than 12 lines on Sundays.

The availability and accessibility of road network (state roads of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd category) is in the Slovak Republic on standard European level. This network is reasonably dense and responds to the needs. It is accessible to all road traffic stakeholders. Taxation of use of road routes is regulated by the Act 87/1994 on road tax.

Motorway network in the Slovak Republic is under construction in principle. Perspective length of the whole planned motorway network is 832 km in routes of international roads E65, E75, E58, E50 and E571. 290 km of motorways are currently in operation, of which 50 km only in a half profile (two lanes). Access to and use of motorways is charged.

The railway network is also accessible on the standard European level. The existing railway network is reasonably dense and responds to the needs. Only the Railways of the Slovak Republic has access to the railway network. Use of railway network is on reasonable level.  Six airports with a status of international airport are located on the territory of the Slovak Republic – Bratislava, Piešťany, Sliač, Poprad-Tatry, Košice (managed by the Slovak Airport Management) and the Žilina Airport. The current air transport is in the phase of development which relates to its limited utilization at present. In the framework of the national transport regular air connection Bratislava – Košice has been introduced and in the framework of international transport there are regular air connections between Bratislava and Prague, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Kuwait, Larnaka and Moscow.

Water transport is represented only by the Slovak part of the River Danube (ca 172 km). From the point of view of the Slovak Republic, the Slovak part of the River Danube is used mainly for international cargo and tourist passenger transport, in particular on routes Bratislava – Budapest, Bratislava – Vienna. The lower parts of the River Váh and a part of the River Bodrog are navigable to limited extent.

Consumption of liquid and gaseous

Fuels in road and railway transport in the Slovak Republic *)

Transport

Kind of fuel

Year 1990

Year 1995

Year 1998

Year 1999

 

Road

petrol         [t]

437,460

555,512

670,102

674,525

diesel           [t]

1,058,600

724,323

780,148

740,049

LPG/CNG     [t]

---

500

510

5,949

Railway   

diesel             [t]

118,184

64,012

54,148

49,568

TOTAL

road and railway transport

petrol          [t]

437,460

555,512

670,102

674,525

diesel             [t]

1,176,784

788,335

834,296

789,617

LPG/CNG     [t]

----

500

510

5,949

*) consumption of fuels in water and air transport is negligible when compared to consumption of fuels in road and railway transport.

The unleaded petrol (Natural) was introduced on the market in 1986. The leaded patrols are not distributed since 1997.

The split from the Czech Republic led to a modification in transport. The trans-regional east-west flow of raw materials, goods, energy, and services became radial supported by the geo-political location of Slovakia in the heart of the European continent. Western Slovakia became part of a territory with the most promising development prospects within Europe. The Slovak part of this territory is relatively well-prepared for this from an infrastructure viewpoint. Highways, electrified double-track railway lines, and systems of energy and power supply are currently available. The European arterial waterway, the Danube river, flows through this part of Slovakia.

Challenges  

The largest and the most urgent needs for improved quality of transport system are connected to mainly larger cities and economically less efficient territorial regions. Problem is also providing transport to marginal municipalities as well as transport in protected areas.  As far as population groups are concerned, the elderly people and physically handicapped with limited mobility most urgently need improved transport system.

Public passenger railway and road transport. Increase of their effectiveness would considerably contribute to the deadening of development of ecologically most unfriendly individual automobile transport.

Economic and financial obstacles determined by low efficiency, big decline and low development of the state economy in transition process from centrally planned to market economy. Investment costs of building and modernization of transport infrastructure (motorway and railway networks) are increased by complicated and difficult geographical conditions of the Slovak Republic.  

Slow alteration of considerably obsolete vehicles of all modes of transport, mainly in all categories of road motor vehicles, which is determined by overall unfavorable economic situation of the state and majority of its physical and legal persons.

The environment, health service, soil management, water management and forestry.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The main measures oriented to increase of public awareness on impacts of transport on the environment are carried out by problem-oriented programmes of the both state and private TV and radio stations, environmentally and specifically oriented mass periodicals and through a number of non-governmental organizations working in the area of environmental education.

The basic measure of this kind is still the economic effectiveness of public passenger transport when compared to individual car transportation. In many cases shorter transport times, comfort and safety of transport play a positive role in favor of public transport. The transport divisions at individual regional offices deal with building cycling-routes on the regional level and in border areas. Their assistance is, however, insufficient in particular because of lack of financial sources. Therefore such projects are proposed as international projects, for which it is possible to get financial assistance from international programmes, e.g. Phase programme.

The transport policy organize several times a year so called “week of safety on roads” accompanied by increased control activities concerning compliance with rules of road transport and technical state of vehicles. Free control of technical state of vehicles, adjusting the aggregates of vehicles responsible for safety and polluting the environment are organized in collaboration with retailers, service organization, driving-schools and other organizations.

Environmental education is included in educational programmes of schools at all levels (kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, universities).  1985 “Programme of educational activities in kindergarten” is being realized in kindergarten.  Environmental education at primary schools is connected mainly to natural and social sciences.  As far as secondary schools and universities are concerned, environmental education is included in environmentally oriented courses. A number of secondary schools and universities of technical and natural orientation educate experts with environmental orientation.

These measures are realized mainly through expert seminars and conferences organized by Houses of Technology, universities, research institutes and other specialized companies of the state and private sectors.

Information   

Process of accumulation of information in the state statistic service of the Slovak Republic  is organized as follows:

Inputs:

Outputs:

Data on amounts of production of emissions from transport, classified according to individual transport sectors (road, railway, water and air transport) are processed in the framework of annual data on emissions on global level for the whole Slovak Republic, in some cases classified according to regions or districts or affected sites (airports). Annual data on emissions from transport are processed for purposes of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications  and Ministry of the Environment. Public has access to this information via Report on State of Air Quality and on Share of Individual Sectors in its Pollution, which is elaborated and published each year by Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic.

Data on road traffic – on selected transport parameters (transport intensity, composition of transport stream, etc.) in selected profiles of the road network are collected and evaluated in the framework of so called regular transport counting on the road network of the Slovak Republic carried out by the Slovak Road Management and the Institute of Road Transport Bratislava in five-year interval. Results of this counting are processed and published in the Report on transport counting that is published by the Slovak Road Management and the Institute of Road Transport Bratislava.

In rare cases the following information is collected, processed and evaluated at the same time in the on-line regime: information on emissions from road transport, transport parameters of road traffic (transport intensity, composition of transport stream, speed of transport stream, etc.), information on transport noise, existing meteorological situation (direction and speed of wind, sun shine, etc.) in a given road profile (crossing, road or motorway profile). Information of this kind is collected for various transport analysis.  Electronic signs are currently in the Slovak Republic more or less not utilized or are utilized in a very limited extent (parking management).

Research and Technologies   

Use of gaseous fuels (LPG, CNG) in road transport as fuel for motor vehicles (gasification of personal cars and lorries and buses).

A number of management and information systems oriented to optimization of transport process management and to providing inhabitants with transport services are being implemented recently. They help to remove unprofitable traffic services. The most important ones include:

Integrated transport systems including the suburban railway transport, suburban road transport with urban public transport are being introduced in the area of passenger regional transport in the larger urban regions (Bratislava, Košice, Žilina, Banská Bystrica, etc.).  For the road transport there is an absence of similar comprehensive information and management systems of passenger and cargo public transport. The important transporters introduce isolated based on mode systems of support for decision-making.  The system GSP is being applied (with use of satellite transfer of information) in the area of management of international lorry transport and water transport.  Development of combined transport systems, introduction of integrated transport systems, information and management systems of transport of various levels, loading systems of road cargo transport.

Financing 

Road transport – motorways:

System of funding of road infrastructure is still not completed. The basic sources of road infrastructure funding system are:

Structure of investments in road infrastructure  [in  %] :

Years

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Incomes of State Fund of Road Management - total in  % :

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

Of which

road tax

23.37

21.53

6.60

7.30

6.77

transfer from state budget – consumption taxes

24.63

22.90

14.66

33.30

32.55

internal sources

1.01

4.72

2.27

2.40

3.43

bonds

41.50

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

loans total

4.93

3.90

50.31

51.69

53.33

of which:

foreign loans

0.00

0.00

49.75

49.96

53,32

loans from banks in the Slovak Republic

4.93

1.95

1.69

0.01

0,00

other

4.56

46.95

26.17

5.31

3.93

 

Expenses from State Fund of Road Management – total in % :

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

Of which:

capital expenses for road infrastructure

58.24

61.80

72.50

47.66

48.24

operational expenses for road infrastructure

35.60

31.45

9.98

8.27

8.95

other

6.16

6.75

17.52

44.06

42.81

 

Conclusion:

Railway transport:

Taking into account unsatisfactory way of funding the railway transport infrastructure for further period, the following sources of funding are proposed:

Structure of investment in railway transport infrastructure [ %]

Years

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Investment in railway infrastructure in %

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

of which:

state budget

9.16

15.22

12.16

14.44

15.81

internal sources

85.79

81.97

56.21

72.80

67.88

foreign loans

0.00

2.81

0.00

12.28

11.08

supply loans

5.06

0.00

31.64

0.00

0.00

Phare

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.48

5.23

 

Conclusion:

The main source is the Plan of Standardization which is being implemented via UNMS and SUTN. Enforcement of regulations and standards belongs to responsibilities of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunication and is partially financed by the Chapter of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunication – state budget and from sources of enterprises.

In the area of road infrastructure:

Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic expects regular incomes of financial sources to the State Fund of Road Management in amount of 80 percent from consumption tax of hydrocarbon fuels and oils since 2002.

Cooperation  

An important part of transport policy is protection of the environment against negative impacts of transport. The objective is acceptable development of transport in the framework of sustainable development of the Slovak economy – in accordance with the National Environmental Action Programme (NEAP) which was elaborated by the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic. On the basis of specification of principles of the state transport policy in concrete tasks the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications worked out the National programme for stabilization and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in transport (1994) and the Conception of environmental protection and management in the sector of the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications for period 1994-2000. In the framework of cross-sectoral co-operation the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications participated in preparation of the National programme of reduction of emissions of volatile non-methane organic compounds (March 1995) and the National programme of reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Slovak Republic is a Party to all important multilateral international agreements and conventions in the area of transport, such as:

Besides the multilateral international agreements and conventions mentioned above, the Slovak Republic has concluded a number of bilateral agreements with the European and non-European countries in the area of transport.

 

* * * 

 

This information was provided by the Government of Slovakia to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update:  April 2001.

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