ESA home Search Parliamentary services Research and analysis National governments Regional cooperation Development issues

National Implementation of Agenda 21




Information Provided by the Government of Poland to the
United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
Fifth Session
7-25 April 1997
New York

United Nations Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
Division for Sustainable Development
The Information contained in this Country Profile is also available on the World Wide Web, as follows:


This country profile has been provided by:

Name of Ministry/Office: Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry; Department of Environmental Policy

Date: 25 November 1996

Submitted by: Czeslaw Wieckowski, Institute of Environmental Protection

Mailing address: Czeslaw Wieckowski, Director, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, ul. Wawelska 52/54, 00-922 Warszawa, Poland

Telephone: (48 22) 25 47 84

Telefax: (48 22) 25 47 61


Note from the Secretariat: An effort has been made to present all country profiles within a common format, with an equal number of pages. However, where Governments have not provided information for the tables appended to Chapters 4 and 17, those tables have been omitted entirely in order to reduce the overall length of the profile and save paper. Consequently, there may be some minor inconsistencies among the formats of the different country profiles.

All statistics are rendered as provided by the respective Governments.


2. International cooperation to accelerate sustainable development in developing countries and related domestic policies
3. Combating poverty
4. Changing consumption patterns
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability
6. Protecting and promoting human health
7. Promoting sustainable human settlement development
8. Integrating environment and development in decision-making
9. Protection of the atmosphere
10. Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources
11. Combating deforestation
12. Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought
13. Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development
14. Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development
15. Conservation of biological diversity
16. Environmentally sound management of biotechnology
17. Protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources
18. Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources: application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources
19. Environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, including prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products
20. Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, including prevention of illegal international traffic in hazardous wastes
21. Environmentally sound management of solid wastes and sewage-related issues
22. Safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes
23-32. Major groups
33. Financial resources and mechanisms
34. Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building
35. Science for sustainable development
36. Promoting education, public awareness and training
37. National mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries
38. International institutional arrangements
39. International legal instruments and mechanisms
40. Information for decision-making


APELL Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level
CFC chlorofluorocarbon
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research
CILSS Permanent Inter-State Committee on Drought Control in the Sahel
EEZ exclusive economic zone
ECA Economic Commission for Africa
ECE Economic Commission for Europe
ECLAC Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
ELCI Environmental Liaison Centre International
EMINWA environmentally sound management of inland water
ESCAP Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
ESCWA Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GAW Global Atmosphere Watch (WMO)
GEF Global Environment Facility
GEMS Global Environmental Monitoring System (UNEP)
GEMS/WATER Global Water Quality Monitoring Programme
GESAMP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution
GIPME Global Investigation of Pollution in Marine Environment (UNESCO)
GIS Geographical Information System
GLOBE Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment
GOS Global Observing System (WMO/WWW)
GRID Global Resource Information Database
GSP generalized system of preferences
HIV human immunodeficiency virus
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
IAP-WASAD International Action Programme on Water and Sustainable Agricultural Development
IARC International Agency for Research on Cancer
IBSRAM International Board of Soil Resources and Management
ICCA International Council of Chemical Associations
ICES International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
ICPIC International Cleaner Production Information Clearing House
ICSC International Civil Service Commission
ICSU International Council of Scientific Unions
IEEA Integrated environmental and economic accounting
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
IGADD Intergovernmental Authority for Drought and Development
IGBP International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (ICSU)
IGBP/START International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme/Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training
ILO International Labour Organisation
IMF International Monetary Fund
IMO International Maritime Organization
INFOTERRA International Environment Information system (UNEP)
IOC Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPCS International Programme on Chemical Safety
IPM integrated pest management
IRPTC International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals
ITC International Tin Council
ITTO International Tropical Timber Organization
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PGRFA plant genetic resources for agriculture
PIC prior informed consent procedure
SADCC South African Development Co-ordination Conference
SARD sustainable agriculture and rural development
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNDRO Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNU United Nations University
WCP World Climate Programme (WMO/UNEP/ICSU/UNESCO)
WFC World Food Council
WHO World Health Organization
WMO World Meteorological Organization
WWF World Wide Fund for Nature (also called World Wildlife Fund)
WWW World Weather Watch (WMO)


Poland occupies a territory of 312,658 square kilometres in Central Europe and borders 7 countries: the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. The total length of its borderline is 3,582 km, of which 528 km is the Baltic coastline. 99.7% of the Polish territory is located in the Baltic drainage area.

Poland is a lowland country with an average altitude of 173 meters above the sea level. 2.9% of the country's territory exceed an altitude of 500 meters. Sixty percent of the total area is used for agriculture; forests cover 28%; municipal areas, including those with industrial activity, take up to 9%; and inland waters occupy 3% of the total area of Poland.

In 1995, the population of Poland was 38.62 million inhabitants, with 61.9% living in towns and 38.1% living in rural areas. After World War II, as a result of the division of Europe into two blocks, political and social development of Poland followed the one of the Soviet Union. Since the 1950s, the economic structure of Poland was determined by its membership in the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA - "Comecon") which reduced foreign trade to relations with the other countries of the bloc. The 1989 elections put Poland on the course of transformations into a parliamentary democracy and towards a market economy.

Since 1989, Poland has transformed its economic system. Central planning was replaced by indirect governmental control of the economy by means of the budget, tax mechanisms and monetary policy. The private sector has been growing rapidly and in 1995 embraced over 62% of total employment. Small enterprises and trade have been privatised quickly while privatisation of the large ones proceeds at a slower pace.

The stabilisation programme for the economy, introduced in the beginning of 1990, the world recession, the collapse of the traditional Polish exports to the CMEA countries, as well as other shocks inherent to the period of transition, resulted in GDP decline by 19,5% in 1989-1991 and in a decline of industrial production.

Starting from 1992, Poland has noted economic growth. Industrial production and GDP grew by 2.6% in 1992. In 1993, GDP grew by almost 4%, and in 1994 and 1995 by 5% and 7% respectively. During the period 1990-1995, GDP (calculated in fixed prices) grew by 11.5%, reaching in 1995 the amount of US$ 2,950 per capita, according to the exchange rates of the National Bank of Poland.

However, unemployment, which at the turn of 1993/94 reached the maximum level of 18%, still constitutes a very serious problem of the transition period. Since that time, a downward trend of the unemployment rate has been noted, reaching 14.3% in 1996. A characteristic feature of the Polish unemployment is its considerable regional differentiation from 5% to 27%. Other economic problems of Poland concern the deficit in the foreign trade, the budgetary deficit and the high external debt.

During 1991-1994, Poland managed to negotiate a considerable reduction of its external debt, but at the end of 1995, the amount of the debt was still US$ 43,957 million, while the gross reserves reached US$ 14,963 million.

Poland is striving for political and economic integration with the Western European countries and with the other OECD member-states. In 1991, the Association Agreement with the European Community set a framework for a gradual development of free trade in goods and services and in the flow of capital. In 1996, Poland acceded to OECD.

Poland endorses the contents of the documents of the UN Conference "Environment and Development" and, in particular, the AGENDA 21. This programme coincides with the Polish "National Environmental Policy", which was adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Poland in 1991. The principles of sustainable development had become the foundation for development and environmental programmes in Poland two years before the "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro. The National Environmental Policy is being constantly implemented to the practice. The principles of sustainable development constitute an integral element of the "Strategy for Poland" - the governmental document determining directions of the social and economic development of our country.

The National Environmental Policy defines the specific goals of environmental protection for various time horizons. The implementation of these goals was reviewed by the Parliament of Poland in 1995. It was noted that degradation processes of the natural environment in Poland have slowed down, and in some areas an improvement of the state of the environment occurred. For example, between 1991 and 1993, SO2-emissions decreased by 15%, of NOx by 14% and particulate matters by 23%. The quantity of untreated waste water decreased by 36% and the quantity of solid waste disposed in landfills by 18%.

During the period 1994-1995, the positive trends noted in 1991-1993 ,showing a noticeable improvement of the state of the environment in Poland, were further consolidated. From 1990 to 1995, emissions of particulates and gaseous pollutants into the air (excluding CO2) originating from industry were reduced by 62% and 30% respectively. Also, the volume of waste water discharged was reduced by 12% and the volume of non-treated waste water decreased by over 30%. The quantity of solid waste produced decreased by 18%.

These effects were connected with recession in the economy only in small part. To a considerable extent these effects resulted from the consequent implementation of the National Environmental Policy by the central and local administration, public and private sectors and economic entities and through the introduction of the practice of market mechanisms, legal regulations, economic and other instruments, as well as through the involvement of public and non-governmental organisations.

These results were achieved by a dynamic development of the country, lower pressure on the environment and the establishment of the necessary financial resources to cover the needs of environmental protection.

Significant effects in environmental protection were achieved during 1990-1995 due to:

- more stringent requirements on polluters,

- increase of expenditures for environmental protection and their share in GDP,

- changing production patterns resulting in reduction of the use of energy, fuels, raw materials and water,

- restructuring and privatisation of industry, with gradual decrease of the importance of heavy industry in the economy,

- implementation of innovations connected with environmental protection in plants, mostly through introduction of new technologies, modernisation of technological processes and products, which require less primary materials and the increasing use of fuels of better quality.

New environmental problems, however, have arisen, connected with over-development of traffic, transformations in agriculture and the growing problem of solid waste, particularly through packaging materials.

All economic programmes of the Government strongly stress the investment- and export-oriented character of the economic policy, both, in the short- and in the long-term, and emphasis is placed on attaining technological and civilisational transformations of the economy. "The conception of socio-economic development through the year 2010" has been accepted in 1996 by the Council of Ministers. The document acknowledged that the principles of sustainable development should be the mainstay of the state policy. These principles also underlie the "Concept of the physical planning in the country", currently being considered by the Government of Poland. Together with the review of the "National Environmental Policy", carried out in 1995, the "National Environmental Policy implementation programme through the year 2000" was also presented to the Parliament, after being approved by the Government. The programme constitutes a kind of a plan specifying goals, as well as investment and non-investment tasks for the National Environmental Policy for "Strategy for Poland" and for the "Concept of the physical planning in the country".

Priority activities in the field of environmental protection till the year 2010 contain the following:

- protection and extension of sites of high natural value,

- reclamation of degraded resources,

- abatement of particulate and gaseous emissions,

- water protection, in view of its growing deficit,

- improvement of the system of dumping and utilisation of industrial waste.

This programme is open-ended and should be updated. A crucial role for its implementation belongs to the Commission for Sustainable Development, established by the Prime Minister on October 28, 1994. The Commission integrates activities of particular sectoral ministries, central administration offices, scientists and experts in various fields. NGO representatives are invited, depending on the agenda.

Poland actively participates in international cooperation in the field of sustainable development and is a party to 35 regional and global conventions and agreements concerning environmental protection. Poland has also concluded bilateral agreements on environmental protection with a majority of the European countries as well as with the USA and Canada. Poland is a signatory to the final documents of all environmental European Ministerial Conferences held so far, the Pan-European Ministerial Conferences on protection of forests in Europe, and the conferences of the Ministers of Health and Environmental Protection on drinking water supply.

During the recent Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe", in Sofia 1995, Poland declared willingness of close co-operation with the European Environment Agency. At present, this co-operation is being developed to serve sustainable development of the European region, as well as solving the global problems. Poland undertakes activities aiming at creation of the potential for action for sustainable development of the countries of Eastern Europe.



1. Name of Key National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism(s)/Council(s).

I. The Commission on Sustainable Development

II. Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry

Contact point (Name, Title, Office):

I. Secretariat of the Commission for Sustainable Development, Secretary of the Commission, Marek Haliniak,
Telephone: 48 22 25 94 94 26
Fax: 48 22 25 33 26

II. Department of Environmental Policy, MEPNR&F, Director of the Department, Czeslaw Wieckowski
Telephone: 48 22 25 47 84
Fax: 48 22 25 47 94

Mailing address: Wawelska 52/54, 00-922 Warsaw, Poland

2. Membership/Composition/Chairperson: Stanislaw Zelichowski, Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry

2a. List of ministries and agencies involved: Deputy Chairman: Roman Czerwinski/Ministry of Industry and Trade; Józef Zegar/National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management; Andrzej Urban/Ministry of Spatial Management and Construction. Members: Feliks Dela/State Fire Brigades; Marian Grzesiak/Main Statistical Office; Wiesaw Jaszczyski/Ministry of Health and Social Care; Leszek Juchnowicz/Ministry of Privatisation; Jan Chladaj/Ministry of Foreign Economic Cooperation; Kazimierz Madej/Ministry of Defence; Janusz Zaleski; Bohdan Marciniak/Office of Council of Ministrs; Anna Michalik/Main Office of Measures; Zenon Staniszewski/Chief Office of Customs; Jan Woroniecki/Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Marian Nasiadko/Ministry of Agriculture and Food Economy; Ryszard Pazura/Ministry of Finance; Tadeusz Polak/Ministry of Culture and Art; Teresa Koza/Ministry of Justice; Miroslaw Sawicki/Ministry of National Education; Tadeusz Szozda/Ministry of Transport and Marine Economy; Andrzej Walewski/State Inspection of Environmental Protection; Czeslaw Wieckowski/Ministry of Envrionmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry.

2b. Names of para-statal bodies and institutions involved, as well as participating of academic and private sector bodies: Maciej Nowicki/EcoFund; Józef Zegar/National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management; Zofia Fisher-Grodziska/Polish Academy of Sciences; Leszek Krzywosiski/Polish Standardization Committee; Krystyna Grodziska/Committee of Scientific Research.

2c. Names of non-governmental organizations involved: Polish Ecological Club, Institute for Sustainable Development, National Foundation for Envrionmental Protection, Office for Servicing Environmental Movements, Club ISO 14000

3. Mandate role of above mechanism/council: The task of the Commission and Department is combining economic and social development with envrionmental needs (sustainable development); Facilitates discussion and catalyses governmental activities, initiates and participates in preparation of programmes for the protection of Polish citizens and coordinates these programmes. In particular: (1) carries out periodical audits of meeting the requirements of sustainable development in: industry, power production, transport, agriculture, spatial planning, municipal economy, privatisation, health and other sectors, development programmes, restructuring of economy, existing legislation, as well as examines implementation of international obligations; (2) formulates opinions, recommendations, conclusions and proposals for the Council of Ministers concerning implementation of sustainable development; (3) cooperates during preparation of the report on implementation of the Global Action Plan (Agenda 21) according to the requirements of the United Nations and promotes Polish achievements and needs in this field; (4) prepares opinions on coordination of activities undertaken under conventions ratified by Poland as well as other multilateral agreements in the field of environmental protection; (5) coordinates preparations for preparation of the National Report for 1997 on implementation of Agenda 21.

4. If available, attach a diagram (organization chart) showing national coordination structure and linkages between ministries:

Prepared by: Institute of Environmental Protection

Authorized by: Czeslaw Wieckowski
Signature: Czeslaw Wieckowski
Title: Director
Date: 29 November 1996

Ministry/Office: Department of Environmental Policy, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry


STATUS REPORT: Poland, being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), supports the measures suggested by the Uruguay Round of GATT aimed at the liberalisation of trade in all fields, including environmentally sound technologies. Such a trend in the world market is favourable for the enhancement of sustainable development in developing countries. On the WTO forum Poland stands in favour of such domestic economic policies which aim at a complete integration of developing countries with the world market. This includes, among others, export oriented policies, tariff and other trade barrier reductions and open policies towards investment. Full implementation of WTO rules ensures sustainable development in all fields in a modern world economy. At the same time Poland recognises that developing countries, and especially the least-developed countries, may face severe problems in the implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements and that their economies require some time in order to create the ability of complete enhancement of the opportunities offered by a liberalised and global world economy.

Being an active participant of the work of the economic organizations of the United Nations System (such as UNCTAD, UNIDO and UNDP), Poland always stresses the need of supporting sustainable development in developing countries. Polish experts and volunteers take active part in different development assistance programs throughout the world. Apart from typically humanitarian aid, Polish experts and volunteers participate in projects and programs related to environmental issues, domestic economic policies, building of local government structures, food processing etc. Polish aid is especially noticeable in FAO and UNESCO activities, supporting development in the areas of agriculture management, culture and education.

Together with the accession to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Poland is changing its status from a beneficiary of international assistance to a potential donor of aid and support. This makes necessary the creation of an organised system of development assistance in Poland, aimed at developing countries and the least developed countries. Currently such a system does not exist.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: There are no integrated decision-making structures for development assistance within the governmental structure. The recruitment of Polish experts for UNIDO is operated directly from Vienna with some technical support from the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, which informs candidates on the availability of posts (UNIDO Experts Roster) and supplies them with necessary application forms. The candidates are selected by UNIDO headquarters in Vienna. The recruitment of UN Volunteers in Poland is handled exclusively by the UNDP Office in Warsaw.

In some cases, especially in humanitarian aid matters, decisions are taken on an ad hoc basis, meeting the requirements of existing situations in some regions of the world. Such actions include measures undertaken by the world community in order to minimise the results of nature cataclysms, famine and war. Because of lack of funding for these purposes, Polish participation in adequate programs and operations is minimal.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Necessary steps are being taken in order to create an integrated system of classification and monitoring of Polish development assistance.

3. Major Groups: Poland would be ready to assist developing countries in areas of environmental protection, health, agriculture, food processing, industry (chemical, steel, machinery, coal mining), local and economic management, education, and strengthening of democratic structures.

4. Finance: Because of the lack of an integrated development assistance structure in Poland it is impossible at present to make any calculation of the financial value of aid and assistance offered by Polish experts and volunteers.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Polish experts and volunteers participate in different development assistance programs and activities in all parts of the world. The fields of their activity include, among others, industrial training programs, women entrepreneurs, food technologies, environmental programming, industrial pollution, industrial economics, household energy etc. As an example, 48 Polish volunteers were active in different assistance programs operated by the United Nations Volunteers in 1996. 22 of them participated as observers in the elections in Bosnia.

Due to the lack of coordination mechanisms (such as rosters and lists) on the Polish side it is not possible at the moment to present the number of Polish experts registered in UNIDO and actively participating in the organisation's development assistance programs.


NATIONAL PRIORITY: Limitation of unemployment, including elimination of structural unemployment, considered as the main cause of poverty in Poland

Level of poverty

During the transformation of the Polish economy in 1990-1996 the level of poverty was growing in the majority of the groups of the Polish society. It became acute in the group of the retired and farmers, where, according to assessments, about 35-40% of the population lives on or below the poverty line. Poverty is defined through a minimum level of the family income.

According to World Bank estimates and considering the level of the lowest pensions, poverty affected 15% of the population in Poland during the transformation phase.

In order to counteract increasing poverty, the Government undertakes activities in the framework of the so-called action of social protection, which includes increases of the lowest salaries and pensions in relation to an average salary (increases respectively to 40% and 30% of the average salary).

Currently the Polish welfare system is in the phase of comprehensive reform.

National strategy

Certain groups of the population are particularly affected from poverty: families with many children, single old persons, parents bringing up children alone, pathological families and, especially in the regions afflicted with structural unemployment, unemployed people.

The phenomenon of unemployment is new and appeared only since the period of economical and social transformation after the year 1990.

The strategy to counteract poverty lies in supporting the economic growth and vocational activity of people, creating workplaces and providing opportunities to gain new qualifications and in the creation of the system of social protection for people especially endangered by poverty. Such a system should cover especially farmers and pensioners.

Concerning communities especially affected by high structural unemployment, the special system of preferences and financial-economic relief has been in place since 1991.

Highlight activities aimed at the poor and linkages to the environment

The basic activity aimed at the poor is the creation of a social network, consisting of basic elements that complement each other. A minimum wage is being guaranteed.

Actions have been taken in order to reduce the unemplyment rates and to ensure a minimum living standard: the unemployed are entitled to an unemployment benefit for the period of 12 months; this period is extended in those regions most severly affected by unemployment and the amount of unemployment benefits depends on the persons age, marital status and thge reason for dismissal.

The level of pensions is protected through introducing the minimal welfare benefit.

The system of social aid covers all persons who do not achieve a minimum level of income (minimum pension, minimum wage).

Apart of financial payments there are a lot of non-monetary forms of assistance, such as social work, pedagogical, psychological and legal counselling, and also training and requalification programmes.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: At the central level, the body responsible for activities to combat poverty is the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. At the local level, community offices are in charge.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: In order to increase the economic activities of the population, the following programmes are being implemented: "Promotion of the productive employment and decreasing of the unemployment" and "Promotion of the professional/vocational activity of the youth".

Training courses are offered taking into account the needs of local society. Special forms of training are offered for the rural unemployed and for employed who are in danger of loosing their work.

3. Major Groups: In Poland more than 1,200 non-governmental organizations support people affected by poverty, including pensioners federations, foundations providing aid for the poor and church organisation.

4. Finance: In 1995, welfare expenditures amounted to 9.3% of the state budget.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: No information.

VI 1996
Unemployment (%)
Population living in absolute poverty
Public spending on social sector %
Other data

x) population supported by social aid


NATIONAL PRIORITY: During the period of economic transition the quantitative objectives for changing consumption patterns have not been envisaged.
STATUS REPORT: Several activities have been initiated, including:

- rationalisation of energy use (wider application of market mechanisms, improvement in the quality of coal, promotion of environmentally sound technologies, promotion of use of biomass, creating conditions for the use of alternative sources of energy);

- steps to eliminate the effects of the introduction of disposable packaging made of non-biodegradable materials;

- launching of voluntary eco-labelling;

- preparation of an official system of eco-labelling.

In 1993, a "Programme for the Restructuring and Saving of Heat Energy" was launched. This programme deals with the conversion of coal to gas in 52 boiler plants throughout the country.

Several activities have been initiated, focusing on energy efficiency in the transport sector (stimulation of transport facilities less burdensome for the environment, technical improvement of vehicles, introduction of low-emission fuel and improvement of transportation systems). In 1995, the import of vehicles without catalytic converter as well as the import of old vehicles (1993) and two-stroke vehicles was prohibited. A graduated vehicle tax was introduced, depending on the engine cubic capacity and the fuel consumption. Simulation activities have been implemented for the limitation of energy consumption for heating.

In the process of assigning concessions on international road transportation trucking companies are being certified as "green lorry". Electric traction is used in 90% of rail transportation. The public roads system and organisation of transportation are being improved. Polish aviation has replaced its old aeroplanes with new ones characterised by lower fuel consumption.

Since 1995, products containing halons (fire-extinguisher, cosmetics and household chemistry products) do not obtain the safety certificate.

The content of phosphate in washing agents is being reduced.

Energy efficient bulbs are being introduced on the market.

The fast developing market economy causes the consumption model in Poland to proceed in an improper direction. This is visible particularly sharply in the example of transportation. During the last years a high increase of the number of cars was noted and this trend is still continuing and causes a growing threat to the environment. The share of individual traffic (in passenger-kilometers) increased from 40% in 1990 to 62% in 1995. At the same time, the number of rail carriages decreased by 50% and use of public transportation by about 30%. The quantity of municipal waste is growing through non-biodegradable packaging, plastics and cans. The model of unlimited consumption is being promoted in commercials in the mass media.

Additional notes:

Active participation of mass media, inter alia the state-owned television TVP S.A. is broadcasting programmes on issues of changing consumption patterns, regarding i.a. energy efficient heating, water saving, waste, domestic waste water treatment plants, promoting ecological paints and varnishes, promotion of healthy food habits, alternative energy sources, environmentally sound fuels, forest protection and promotion of the best attitude towards natural environment.

In 1997, the educational programme "Agenda 21" is beginning, aiming at the dissemination of basic Agenda 21 assumptions (in cooperation with the Baltic University in Uppsala) .

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

Act on the Protection and Management of the Environment, adopted by Polish Parliament (1991);

National Environmental Policy, adopted by Polish Parliament (1991);

Resolution of the Parliament on the Policy of Sustainable Development (1995);

Executive Regulation of the Minister of Transport and Maritime Economy on the technical conditions and control of vehicles (1993).

In 1994, the Executive Regulation of the Prime Minister established the Polish Commission for Sustainable Development, as a counterpart of UNCSD. The commission coordinates the harmonisation process of the Polish Ecological Policy with other national policies in the field of transport and spatial planning and in the field of concrete sectoral policies (e.g. development of heavy chemistry), resulting from Industrial Policy and legislative acts foreseen in the framework of the Industrial Policy. A national conference on instruments for product-oriented environmental policy of Central and Eastern Europe States was held in Warsaw from 20.-22.11 1995. The issues brought up were: product policy and export/import by GATT rules, product policy in Europe, labelling, voluntary agreements, and product-oriented policy covering motor vehicles, dangerous and harmful substances, packaging and detergent agents.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: A forum was organised by the Polish Academy of Science on the future and the transformation of the energy sector looking ahead to the 21st Century.

Poland is developing the Cleaner Production Movement, which is based on the declaration and letter of intent on cooperation, signed both by the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry and the Minister of Industry and Trade. Up to 800 persons from 500 plants have participated in training courses on ecological auditing methodology developed and implement by the Norwegian Engineers Federation (NIF). 200 plants have implemented model projects of cleaner production.

In order to promote Polish pro-environmental industry and Polish technology, the Centre for Cleaner Production and - on the initiative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade - the Agency for Technique and Technology will be established.

3. Major Groups: Foundation for Energy Efficiency, enterprises, business sector, non governmental organisations, ISO 14000 Club, Institute for Sustainable Development, research institutes, Parliamentary commissions, Polish Ecological Club, school children and students, ecological foundations, inhabitants of the most contaminated regions.

4. Finance: Budget resources of: National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, provincial and local funds for environmental protection and water resources, financial resources of enterprises, communities' budget and financial resources of inhabitants, foreign aid.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Revision of customs tariffs in order to give preference to environmentally sound products.

GDP per capita (current US$)

(2996 PLN)

(4051 PLN)

(5459 PLN)
Real GDP growth (%)
Annual energy consumption per capita (Kg. of oil equivalent per capita)

Motor vehicles in use per 1000 inhabitants
Other data:

Energy consumption in bouseholds in towns per capita (kWh)

Energy production per capita (kWh)

Hard coal production per capita (kWh)
















Government policies affecting consumption and production.

1. Goals and Agents (Stakeholders)

Indicate with a (X) those agents which your Governments policies are meant most to influence.



Civil society
Material efficiency
Energy efficiency:


2. Means & Measures and Agents (Stakeholders)

Indicate with an (R) those agents who assume primary responsibility for any of the policy measures indicated; indicate with an (I) the agents for which the impact is expected to be especially significant.


Means & Measures

Improving understanding and analysis
Information and education (e.g., radio/TV/press)
Evaluating environmental claims
Form partnerships
Applying tools for modifying behaviour
Community based strategies
Social incentives/disincentives (e.g., ecolabelling)
Regulatory instruments
Economic incentives/disincentives
Voluntary agreements of producer responsibility for

aspects of product life cycle

Provision of enabling facilities and infrastructure

(e.g., transportation alternatives, recycling)

Procurement policy
Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing performance
Action campaign
Other (specify)



NATIONAL PRIORITY: To stop the tendency of serious decrease of the natural growth and ageing of the population.
STATUS REPORT: On December 31, 1995, the population of Poland reached 38.62 million.

The growth of population in 1995 was 47 thousand inhabitants. Since the mid-eighties a downward trend has been noted.

The real growth of population is even lower due to a negative balance of foreign migration reaching on the average 15 thousand per year.

According to a preliminary demographic forecast for the years 1995-2020, at the end of this century the population of Poland will reach 39 million and will grow up to 40 million until the year 2010.

In 1995, 61.8% of the inhabitants lived in towns and 38.2% in rural areas.

A negative town to rural areas migration balance has been noted and is envisaged to be continued.

Demographic development of Poland in recent years was characterised by a slackening of population dynamics and a decrease of spatial mobility of the population which also results in reduced migration from rural areas to towns.

During the period 1995-2010, the effects of the changes in the age structure of the population will be as follows:

- a considerable increase of the youth of elementary and higher school age,

- a large growth of the population in the post-productive age until the year 2010 and a decrease thereof after that date,

- the production age population is getting older.

Average life expectancy for the persons born in 1994 is 67.5 years for men and 76.1 years for women.

Almost 80% of death cases in Poland are caused by civilisation diseases such as cardiovascular system diseases (about 51%), malignant neoplasm (cancer; about 20%),

The irreversible process of ageing of the Polish population, especially intense after the year 2010, and the high percentage of single people requires a comprehensive reconstruction of systems of social care.

The Government considers population growth satisfactory but the fertility level too low.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The basis for decision making by the government and for parliamentary acts affecting Poland's demographic policy are prepared by:

- the Governmental Population Commission (operated since 20 years),

- the Central Planning Office, and

- the Council of Ministers Social Committee.

There is a need for development and implementation of a new national social policy, adequate to the market economy system in Polish conditions, providing for a proper place of the family and providing the necessary means to meet basic and developmental needs of families. Under the new conditions, the state will safeguard to a much lesser degree the population's economic well-being than it was the case in the past, which means that a family in Poland will have to take care of its security by its own decisions, through labour and economic activity.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Specific actions must be undertaken for the improvement of the economic status of families and the implementation of the wage-cum-revenue policy to a higher extent considering family status, the elimination of unemployment and development of social assistance with a view to creating appropriate family income especially in families raising families. A system should be developed for crediting housing. Deficit in housing jeopardises Poland's further demographic development.

3. Major Groups: Local subjects of family policy and family counselling centres and the entities of family health care concerning all its members and, in particular, children.

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: In 1997, the educational programme "Agenda 21" begins, aiming at dissemination of basic Agenda-21 assumptions (in cooperation with the Baltic University in Uppsala).

Population (Thousands) mid-year estimates
Surface area (Km2)
Population density (people/Km2)
Annual rate of increase (1990-1993)
Other data


NATIONAL PRIORITY: The Ministry of Health and Social Care considers as a priority activities enabling the improvement of the health state of the population. The main directions of the National Health Programme (1990, updated in 1993 and later in 1996) cover: shaping benefits for health behaviour and life styles, elimination of health threats caused by the environment, optimisation of health care, elimination of diseases possible to prevent, reduction of mother-, infant- and child-mortality rates, limitation of the scale of diseases which are the main reason of death cases (cardio-vascular, neoplasm), prevention of accidents and poisoning. The concept of the National Health Programme is based on the European strategy "Health for all till 2000", developed and recommended by WHO.
STATUS REPORT: Actions enabling improvements of the health status of the society are assumed priorities by the Ministry of Health and Social Care. The main directions of the National Health Programme (1990, amended in 1993 and subsequently in 1996) cover: forming of benefits for health behaviour and life styles, elimination of diseases that can be prevented, reduction of mother-, infant- and child-mortality rates, limitation of the sick rate being the main cause of deaths (circulatory system diseases, cancers), accidents and poisoning prevention. The Concept of the National Health Programme is based on the European strategy "Health for all by the year 2000", worked out and recommended by WHO. Most of the goals and recommendations of Agenda 21 regarding protection and promotion of human health are implemented by the Ministry of Health and Social Care. The Act on the common health insurance, submitted to the parliament, will be the framework of the new health care system, based on concentration of health services. The act covers all social groups, including the poorest, the unemployed and those benefiting from social care. The National Health Programme and the Strategy for Health are strategic documents that respond to the recommendations of Agenda 21. An Interministerial Co-ordinating Group of the National Health Programme has been established. Institutes subordinate to the Ministry of Health have been studying, since 1992, the environmental impact on health. A set of health indicators is being prepared for monitoring of the health goals of the National Health Service (Health Service Indicators Programme, conducted in co-operation with WHO Regional Office in Copenhagen). For several years works have been conducted on the modification of the financing system of health service units. The Strategic Programme of Safety and Human Health Protection in the Work Environment (1995-1999) and the Programme on Conversion of the Basic Health Care (decentralisation) were worked out. These programmes have been implemented. An institutional system for AIDS prevention has been established. There is a system for contagious diseases monitoring, regulated by administrative provisions. A very high rate of vaccination of the population was provided. An overall reduction of mortality from polio, pertusis and measles has been achieved. The Ministry of Health and Social Care and subordinate institutions, according to WHO recommendations, support the programmes: Healthy Cities, Healthy Hospital, Healthy Apartment. The Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, in the framework of its statue activity, controls environmental factors which have an influence on spreading of contagious diseases (the control of water quality, carriers of contagious diseases and the way of waste disposal). The Institute of Food and Nutrition as well as the Food Research Divisions of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service promote proper nutrition patterns. The programmes for early diagnosis are being reinforced. Programmes: Heart Protection, Cancer Diseases Fighting, Emergency Services Reform, Self-sufficiency in the field of Hemotherapy and Blood Donating, Increasing of Efficiency of Mother and Child Health Care, Improvement and Development of Transplantation and Dialysis Therapy, Activity Directions of Dental Care, Medulla Transplantations, Pneumonia and Diabetes Fighting, Priority Activities in Surgery and Orthopaedy.

Basic health care in the country includes all the problems of prenatal care. Several modern, children and youth oriented preventive programmes are being implemented (including high risk groups): preventing and solving alcohol problems, drug use prevention, healthy life style promotion, rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation actions.

The basic aims of Agenda 21 in the area of decreasing of health risks caused by contamination of the environment are realised by the State Sanitary Inspectorate and the State Inspectorate of Environmental Protection. It is necessary to introduce the Monitoring of Environmental Health Risks and Its Effects, which has been already elaborated in the Ministry. In the framework of The State Monitoring of Environment, measurements of air pollution are conducted in the basic and general supervision nets. WSSE and the science and research institutes conduct the measurement of air pollution in apartments. Constant monitoring of drinking water quality is conducted. Bathing places are supervised with a view to compatibility with sanitation standards. "The Programme of Ecological Actions for Health in Europe" which is being realised (elaborated by the European WHO Office on the basis of assumptions of European Card "Environment and Health"). The Commission for Sustainable Development worked out "Priority actions in environmental protection with a view to health protection in Poland". On the basis of these documents, within National Health Programme 1996, Strategic Governmental Programme "Environment and Health" is being prepared. Clinics of environmental medicine are being created. Several steps were undertaken aiming to monitoring and decreasing of health risks in the most polluted regions. Difficulties are connected with economic crisis in the recent years and ecocnomic transformation of the state. There is not enough of well trained personnel in the field of public health and environment. Existing legal solutions regarding the health state of the environment are not satisfactory. Modern technologies and new organisational structures are necessary, especially in the field of sanitation and epidemiology.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Act on State Sanitary Inspectorate (1983), Regulation of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare on requirements for drinking water and water for communal use (1977, with subsequent changes), Act on Water Law (1972, amended in 1990), Regulation of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare on permissible concentration and volume factors harmful for human health, emitted from building materials, equipment and furniture in rooms designed for human residence (1996), Act on extermination of infectious disease (1963, currently amended), Act on health resorts and health resorts care (1966). The National Health Programme (1993, amended in 1996) was adopted by the Polish Government in September 1996. The Programme is coordinated by an inter-departmental team headed by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare. The Draft Act on common health insurance was submitted to the Polish Parliament in 1996. Some legislation, including on chemical safety and requirements for drinking water, is under preparation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare provides training courses for managers for the reformatted system of health protection (currently at Schools of Public Health in Cracow and Lodz). High-qualified environmental doctors are being trained in Sosnowiec (prepared to solve problems connected with the unfavourable influence of various environmental factors on the human health). Postgraduate training is provided for the requirements of their State Sanitary Inspectorate. The WHO Programme "Health Promoting Schools" covered 14 schools in Poland and a few hundred associated schools. The issues of health and environmental protection have been included in school curricula. Training is being provided for farmers and village councillors on principles of safety-at-work. The Polish television TVP S.A. is broadcasting a number of serial programmes regarding protection and promotion of human health.

3. Major Groups: The health department, state administration bodies, parliamentary commissions, research institutes, medical academies, youth and school children, Council of Farmers, ecological foundations, non-governmental organisations, local government, local communities.

4. Finance: Expenditures from the state budget designed for health protection and social welfare amounted to 3.3% of GDP (1993) and 3.5% (1994). It has been estimated that over a seven-year period, annual financing of the programme area "Reduction of risks to health which result from contamination of the environment" is US$3.2 million from national sources and US$ 920,000 from international assistance. The achievement of objectives related to communicable diseases is estimated at US$17.9 million a year, primarily from national resources.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Several programmes have been established with the support of WHO and IPCS.

Life expectancy at birth








Infant mortality (per 1000 live births)
Access to safe drinking water (% of population)




no data
no data
Access to sewage (% of population)





no data

no data
Malignant tumours as a cause of mortality (% of total demise)
Tuberculosis per 100,000 of population
Amount of inhabitants per one employee of health servants:













Budget expenditures for health protection and welfare
a = 1990; b = 1991; c = 1992; d = 1994; e = 1995

Other data: Increase in the average level of: lead, cadmium and chromium in human tissue in areas of non-ferrous metallurgic industry; methemoglobin among population living in areas close to nitric production plants; iron deficiency in serum of children up to 15 years of age.


NATIONAL PRIORITY: General objectives in this area are:

* improvement of social, economic and ecological quality of human dwellings,

* improvement of all inhabitants' living and working conditions,

* making authorities of all levels aware of their responsibility for sustainable development,

* vesting the urban and country dwellers with the authority in this domain.

STATUS REPORT: In 1995, 860 Polish towns had a population of 23,9 million, this was 61.8% of the total population. Since 1990, no growth of the urban population was noted, and the negative balance of the natural population growth is filled by the migration from villages into towns.

The biggest town in Poland, its capital city Warsaw, had a population of 1.6 million in 1996. An important impact on the living conditions in Polish towns, as in other countries, is the technical infrastructure and the state of the environment.

In 1995, 95% of the urban population obtained water supply through water supply systems, and growth of the population using waterworks during 1990-95 was 0.2% annually. The quality of water supplied by waterworks improved (less than 8% of water of uncertain quality). Sewerage systems were developed slower than water supply systems: in 1995, 81.8% of the population was served by municipal sewerage networks.

Significant deterioration of the transport situation in towns occurred due to a very dynamic growth in ownership of individual cars, which reached in 1996 about 250 cars/1000 citizens. Development of public transport in towns is too slow because of the lack of financial resources.

Pollution and degradation of the environment resulting from the adopted directions of the country's development in connection with wasteful exploitation of natural resources became one of the elements of the socio-economic crisis in the eighties and in consequence contributed to enforcing political change in Poland.

Manifestations of the environmental crisis in human dwellings are: emissions resulting from energy production (90% of SO2 and 60-80% of NOx and dust emissions) and automotive vehicles (25% of NOx and CO-emissions and 60% of hydrocarbons); the fact that 81% of the country's dust and 67% of gas emissions are concentrated in the area of towns and agglomerations (238 out of the total of 840 Polish towns are severly threatened); 81% of the national volume of sewage in need of treatment and 85% of untreated sewage are produced in 140 most industrialised towns and agglomerations, only 36% are biologically treated; 35% of the towns with sewerage system do not have any sewage treatment plant; out of 10 million tons of waste produced annually in Poland 90% are household waste; the waste volume keeps growing; in the last twenty years waste volume has grown by almost 60% and as much as 99% of the waste produced goes directly to dumping sites of which 25% are lacking sufficient equipment and supervision; pressure on the natural environment, taking over greater and greater space for new housing and infrastructure systems keeps growing, the so called green areas in towns are reduced; physical natural structures are being built up but, unfortunately, there are even no estimates to illustrate the phenomenon's scale; noise threat, especially in towns, keeps growing too. The greatest nuisance is created by street noise. It is estimated that 30% of the inhabitants of large cities, 45% of those of medium-sized towns and 25% of those small towns are affected from noise at the LAsq>60dB level. In the nineties a number of actions have been undertaken targeted at improvement of the environment in urban areas. This is facilitated by an economic and socio-economic reform led by self-government (territorial). There is vested authority in the territorial self-government which have been dictating the terms with regard to the environmental protection priorities in their areas. At the same time the new plans for physical development of the country acknowledge permanent and sustainable development as the top priority in development planning. For a number of housing projects, including those in the largest cities such as Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Gdansk local sustainable-development programs are prepared as per Agenda 21. These are comprehensive environmental protection and developmental programs taking into consideration the tasks in the area of permanent and sustainable development including: public participation, power industry and waste management problems, water and sewerage management, limitations of the nature's living resources at all. Poland actively participated in the UN Conference HABITAT II.

Activities of the Government of Poland aiming at reduction of the unit indices in energy consumption for heating, as a result of promotion of the improvement of insulation of buildings, measurements and regulation of use, are of particular importance. Activities to reduce water consumption from waterworks resulted in the reduction of the unit index by 10% over the last 6 years.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The efforts have been undertaken with a view to creating market conditions, using economic mechanisms, the introduction of bidding and the development of organisational structures. Municipal funds for housing were set up. Key importance is given to physical development plans which form a foundation for law-making in this area.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Most important is the introduction of new legal solutions which are the main operating tools for activity in this sphere. These are: - self-government (territorial) law of 1990; - state ecological policy;- physical development (planning) act of 1994 and Building Law;- procedures for the application of environmental impact evaluation on investment;- procedures for the evaluation of environmental impact of physical development plans.

Training of the municipal building managerial cadre has been also begun.

3. Major Groups:

- self government (territorial) authorities;

- general public;

- non-governmental organizations;

- professional organizations;

- state administration (in particular in the area of environmental monitoring and education)

4. Finance: US$ 25,000 from domestic and US$ 59,000 from foreign sources have been raised to implement the projects on sustainable human dwellings generated directly by the Agenda 21. However the main funds for the program originate from the local budgets which finance all types of development plans as well as those of physical development.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Several international organizations, including IFMO (Institut de Formation a la Maitrise d'Ouvrage), ISOCARP (International Urban and Regional Town Planners). CFH/USA (Cooperative Housing Foundation), ICA (International Cooperative Societies Members Association), IUP (International Urban Planners Union), FIABCI (International Real Estate Federation) and the ECE/UN have been involved in detailed projects. There also takes place the border area exchange of experience on physical development of border areas.

Urban population in % of total population
Annual rate of growth of urban population (%)
Largest city population (in % of total population)
Other data


(See pages vii and viii at the beginning of the profile)

NATIONAL PRIORITY: Harmonisation of ecological law and the decision-making process regulated by legal provisions with the European Union's law.
STATUS REPORT: Poland endorses partnership based actions for permanent and sustainable development at all management and decision-making levels: central, regional and local in cooperation with financial institutions and non-governmental organizations for the reason that the environmental protection and development costs are borne by the society at large.

However the decision-making level depends on its complexity. Decisions on policy and strategy are undertaken at the central level in case they affect the entire country or at a regional level if they pertain to specific regions of Poland. The decisions concerning towns and communities are undertaken by the local (territorial) self-government. The Law on spatial management of 1994 identifies sustainable development as the basis for spatial management, and executive acts ensure the application of this principle in practice.

The main governmental organ in charge of environmental protection and management is the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry. Its duties include formulation and implementation of the state environmental policy, drawing up regulations on environmental protection which include environmental quality standards and the pollutant's emission into the environment and supervision over the subordinate services.

Sustainable development policy and strategy are the subject of special attention of the Polish Parliament which every three years reviews its results.

"The Sejm (Parliament's lower chamber) resolution on sustainable development policy of January 19, 1995" has introduced the duty to coordinate all sectorial policies with the National Environmental Policy.

The forum for such coordination is provided by:

- both, parliamentary chambers and environmental protection commissions,

- the Council of Ministers,

- the Council of Ministers' Economic Committee,

- the Council of Ministers' Socio-Economic Committee,

- the Commission for Sustainable Development,

- bilateral agreements with the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry,

- interdepartmental circular.

A special role has been assigned to the Commission for Sustainable Development, set up by Chairman of the Council of Ministers' (Prime Minister) order of October 28, 1994, whose main task is venturing opinion on governmental documents and sectoral policies and strategies from the point of view of permanent and sustainable development.

The commission is composed of high level representatives of individual ministries and central offices, funds financing environmental protection undertakings and scientific milieus.

The Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry controls the State Environmental Protection Inspectorate which is in charge of ecological law enforcement and research on the environmental status at the national level (environmental monitoring) and the regional level (voivodships-provinces).

In effect of their control, the Inspection's organs may impose a duty to undertake action targeted at removal of the causes of harmful impact on the environment, to pay fines or stop the activity resulting in infringement of environmental protection regulations.

At the regional level, the Environmental Protection Sections (state administration organs) are competent to issue permits for the use of the environment and to authorise emission (licensing), to collect charges for environment's use, to exercise supervision over forest economy and the activities for environmental protection.

At the local self-government (territorial) administration level, local physical development plans are being prepared and approved, which require studies concerning sustainable development, and determine the impact and effects of a plan on the natural environment. Also, decisions are being issued for which investment an environmental impact assessment has to be prepared which covers land management issues, the management of municipal water supply, sewage treatment, waste management, nature conservation as well as the control of environmental protection regulations' observance.

An important role in implementation of the sustainable development policy has been assigned to the regional water management board responsible for drawing up water management and protection programs in a catchment system.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure (please also refer to the fact sheet): See above

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Creating prospects/energy related technologies: All the final UNCED documents have been translated and disseminated with a view to popularising the Conference's accomplishments and to undertake action. At the expense of the Sustainable-Development Council, which operated at the President of the Republic's office until 1995, materials were published recommending to work out sustainable development policies at the communal level. The action assumed quite big proportions. At the end of 1994, the Senate (Polish Parliament's upper branch) organised a meeting with representatives of the scientific milieu and non-governmental organizations on "Evaluation of the National Environmental Policy" in the context of the "Strategy for Poland". The meeting examined, to what an extent the sustainable development rules were reflected in the basic document dealing with the Government of the Republic operations until the year 2000. A great deal of conferences, seminars, training and other meetings were organised in various milieus promoting the sustainable development philosophy including high (secondary) school teachers.

3. Major Groups: Parliamentary deputies, territorial self-government council members, scientific workers, non-governmental organizations.

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry cooperates actively in the: implementation of Agenda 21 and the other United Nations sustainable development programmes, Council of Europe's work, Central European Initiative, European Union, OECD and financial international institutions. Poland has signed 35 international conventions most of which have been ratified.

Poland, together with the bordering countries the Federal Republic of Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia, has been implementing a number of joint projects. It participates in sub-regional projects such as the Baltic Sea protection, the protection of Europe's Green Lungs, Eastern Carpathians, Lower Oder, Black Triangle and Silesian-Orava region.


NATIONAL PRIORITY: Medium-term priorities set by the National Environmental Policy (1991): 1) reduction of SO2 emissions to 2.9 million tonnes, NOx to 1.3-1.4 million tonnes, particulate matter by about 50%, as compared to the year 1980, increase of the average efficiency of particulate removal to about 96%, 2) reduction of VOC, HC, heavy metals and other pollutants, 3) initiation of activities aiming at counteracting the global climate change in step with the international community efforts. Long-term priorities (until the year 2020): i.a. 1) full elimination of individual coal furnaces in urban areas and health resorts, 2) introduction of catalysers in all cars produced and used, 3) reduction of SO2 and NOx emissions by 80%, 4) elimination of freons and halons from use, 5) reduction of CO2 emissions to the level agreed upon at the international forum.
STATUS REPORT: During the period 1990-1993, particulate emissions dropped by 23%, SO2 by 15%, NOx by 14%. The medium term priorities with regard to the SO2, NOx and particulates reduction were accomplished already at the end of 1992. The "National Environmental Policy Implementation Programme through the year 2000" (adopted by the Parliament in 1995) covers the medium-term priorities. The basic objective of the programme is to ensure visible improvement of the state of the environment and to create conditions for sustainable socio-economic development. It will be achieved through consolidation and acceleration of the existing trend towards reduction of particulate and gas emission, reduction of the growing nuisance of transportation, investment activities (modernisation of particulate removal facilities, construction installations for coal enrichment and desulphurisation, activities promoting efficient energy use), non-investment activities (maintaining custom reductions on equipment for environmental protection and reductions of the tax on goods and services for environmental protection). The programme envisages that by the year 2000 SO2 emission will drop by 1,0 million tonnes a year, NOx by 0.13 million tonnes a year and the emission of particulates by 0.7 million tonnes a year due to improvement of coal quality, modernisation of combustion technology in coal-fired power plants, change to fluidised combustion and low-emission burners, restructuring of production processes, construction of flue gas desulphurisation and particulate removal installations, elimination of low emission, use of unconventional energy sources and improvement of the existing legal and economic instruments. The programme is consistently being implemented. The process of environmental degradation has been slowed down. Emission of pollutants is decreasing, but the simple reserves for emission limitation are being used up.

Environmental considerations have been included in the Transport Policy (1994) and the Industrial Policy (1993). Reduction of nuisance caused by transportation applies to infrastructure, means of transport and fuels. This document introduces an obligation to prepare EIA for investments related to transport infrastructure, to tighten the requirements for reduction of exhaust gases' emission, to increase power efficiency and to set new standards for fuels with a lower content of hazardous substances. However a large increase of the number of motor vehicles taking place in Poland during the last years causes significant increase of the emission of transport pollutants.

A formal system was elaborated (1993) for carrying pre-privatisation environmental audits for enterprises subject to capital privatisation, according to the procedure of the Ministry of Ownership Transformations' (more than 130 enterprises have been subjected to it so far). The procedure of "tradable permits" for emissions is being developed. The National Agency for Efficient Energy Use (1994) and the Polish Power Centre have been established. The "Assumptions for energy policy in Poland through the year 2010" have been adopted by the Parliament. As a result of implementation of the energy and environmental policies the energy consumption of GDP during the period 1991-1995 dropped by about 18% and hard coal use decreased markedly (hard coal's share in the primary energy balance dropped in the period 1991-95 from 79% to about 73%). The fast growing Polish economy during transformation period and the fact that the national power production still for the long time will be based on coal (in spite of the improvement of energy efficiency in power production and industry, as well as changes of the structure of fuel use towards increased use of gas), mean that reduction of the greenhouse gas emission in the long-term will be difficult.

Poland is party to the following conventions on air protection:

1) Geneva Convention of 1979 on transboundary long range air pollution ratified by Poland in 1985. Geneva Protocol of 1984 ratified in 1988. Poland carries out measurements of pollution at three EMEP stations and the inventory of selected pollutants' emission, it contributes to financing of three EMEP co-ordination centres. The protocol on reduction of nitrogen oxides emissions was signed by Poland in 1988. Protocol on sulphur emission reduction or the reduction of their transboundary flow by at least 30%, signed in Helsinki in 1985. Poland was not a signatory to this Protocol but it conforms to its provisions. In 1993 Poland reduced emission by 33,5% as compared to the base year 1980. The IInd Sulphur Protocol was signed by Poland in 1994. It has not come into force yet but Poland committed itself to implement its provisions on the basis of a special declaration of ministers adopted before signing.


2) The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed by Poland in 1994. A national economic long-term policy is required for Poland to meet the requirements. The process of economic transformation which is still in progress hamper a genuine evaluation of its implementation and determination of the acceptable level of reduction of gases responsible for the greenhouse effect in the future. The first governmental report on implementation of obligations of the Climatic Convention taken by Poland was developed according to the guidelines of the Conference of the Parties and submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat in 1995.

3) The Vienna Convention on the Ozone Layer Protection. It has been binding upon Poland since 1990. Poland takes measurements of and pursues research on the ozone layer at two stations and transmits the results to the international centres. Poland carries co-operation with international centres. The Montreal Protocol (1987) has been binding upon Poland since 1990. Poland signed the London (1990) and Copenhagen (1992) amendments in September 1996 and ratified them in October 1996. Three months after submission of the suitable documents to the UN, Poland will become a party to these amendments.

The last report for the Secretariat of the Montreal Protocol has been prepared in 1996.

Additional remarks to the chapter: Implementation of legislation stimulating activities oriented at efficient energy use is being planned. The draft Energy Law is in the Parliament and the executive acts thereto are being prepared. A new framework environmental protection act is being drafted. The Agency for Efficient Energy Use has been established (1995), as well as regional agencies and foundations of similar profile.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Act on Environmental Protection (1980); the Act on the State Inspection of the Environmental Protection (1991); the Order of the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry on protection of air against pollution (1990); the National Environmental Policy, adopted by the Parliament (1991); the National Environmental Policy Implementation Programme through the year 2000, passed by the Parliament (1995); the Parliamentary Resolution on sustainable development policy (1995); the Order of the Council of Ministers on fees for economic use of the environment and introducing changes to the environment (1993); the Order of the Council of Ministers on the level, principles and procedure for imposing monetary fines for non-compliance with environmental requirements (1995); the Order of the Minister of Transportation and Maritime Economy on technical conditions and testing of vehicles (1993); the Order of the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry on determination of the type of investment hazardous for the environment and human health and environmental impact assessment (1995).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: A movement for Cleaner Production based on the declaration and the letter of intent concerning co-operation signed by the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry and the Minister of Industry and Trade is being developed in Poland. So far, 800 persons from about 500 enterprises have been trained in methodology of conducting environmental audits, prepared and implemented by the association of engineers from Norway (NIF). Model projects on "cleaner production" have already been carried out in 200 enterprises. Preparatory work continues on setting up the Polish Forum ISO-14000 Club with the task to promote environmental management systems proposed in the ISO-14000 series standards. Initial steps have already been undertaken towards implementation of these systems in the selected enterprises. The programme "Responsible Care" was launched in 1994 and became operational in 1995 in chemical industry. The activities aiming at training of energy auditors are being carried out, as well as pilot projects and energy saving programmes.

3. Major Groups: scientific and research entities, parliamentary commissions, associations of enterprises, scientific-research associations, non-governmental organisations, environmental foundations, local administration organs, inhabitants of the most polluted areas, the Polish Environmental Club, the Environmental Movement Service Bureau, school and academic youth.

Cross-Sectoral Issues (Cont'd)

4. Finance: The basic sources of investment expenditures for environmental protection in Poland in 1991-1993 were: the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, provincial environmental protection and water management funds, own resources of enterprises, communal budgets and own means of population, state budget and external aid (PHARE, WB, GEF and others), EcoFund, a Polish foundation implementing the debts-for-nature swaps programme, supporting investments which are considered a priority in the European and global scale (through payments from the state budget). Since 1992 the EcoFund has spent a couple of dozen million USD for the projects selected by the intersectorial and international Council supervising its activity. Credits and grants from the World Bank (Environmental Management Strategy project, the GEF grant - Conversion from coal-to-gas heating). The Polish-German Co-operation Foundation (financial support for environmental protection projects implemented in the territory of Poland). In the course of privatisation process investors declare so-called investment packages, earmarking substantial means for environmental protection in their plants (in 1995 these means exceeded 10 million USD). For air protection the following amounts have been spent: in 1991-0.44% of the GDP, in 1992-0.47%, in 1993-0.47%, in 1994-0.44%.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Cooperation with Germany, Finland, Norway, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Czechia, Sweden, Lithuania and Bialorus.

Participation in the work of the UN Economic Commission for Europe on Energy.

CO2 emissions (eq. million tons)
SOx "
NOx "
CH4 "
Consumption of ozone depleting substances (Tons)
Expenditure on air pollution abatement in US$ equivalents (million)



Energy consumption in municipal households per capita (kWh)
Energy production per capita (kWh)
Other data



* protection of environmentally valuable areas

* expansion of forest cover

* reclamation of degraded land

* rational use of non-recyclable resources

* counteracting environmental crises

STATUS REPORT: Comprehensive planning and management of earth's resources in Poland includes:

- protection of areas of particular natural values, through their legal protection,

- sustainable management in forested areas including regular expansion of forest cover in the country,

- rational use of mineral resources, reclamation of degraded areas and contaminated soil.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy, the areas where environmental pollution indices have been exceeded (27 so-called environmental hazard regions) monitoring of the state of the environment has been conducted continually. In these areas the most serious environmental problems occur as a result of atmospheric pollution, excessive exploitation of raw materials, concentration of post-mining and post-industrial waste. Because the above mentioned areas cover about 10% of the country's territory, we consider that these parts of Poland require careful examination to identify the areas which require reclamation.

From the legal point of view, protection of the Earth's surface resources and their rational use can be provided through application of the national law (e.g. mining law, nature conservation law) as well as by means of physical planning constituting the basis for enacting the local law within communities.

Protection of the areas of particular natural value constitutes one of the largest programmes in the spatial and essential sense. Such a programme called the Environmental System of Protected Areas or the Large Scale System of Protected Areas has been implemented in Poland since the mid-seventies. Its principal idea was the creation of a coherent, interconnected system of protected areas.

Diversified protection regimes for individual elements of the system have been envisaged and the existence of key areas and their interlinkages through environmental corridors. Currently the system includes 22 national parks covering almost 1% of Poland's territory, 102 countryside parks which occupy about 6.5% of the territory, 1,150 natural reserves (0.4% of the territory). Areas of protected landscape covering almost 16% of the country's territory have been designated in the area of 35 voivodships (provinces).

All together over 23% of the national territory is protected on the basis of the nature conservation act. It should be emphasized that in the majority of cases such protection is of comprehensive character which means that both the values of living and non-living nature, including surface features, geological resources et al. are protected.

On the basis of the above mentioned act also protection of the objects of local importance is possible, such as the so-called environmentally valuable sites, geological documentation sites et al.

Protection means, in each case, at least a ban on changing the heretofore form of use. In case of the areas of higher protection standard (national parks, reserves) efforts aiming at naturalisation of these areas are also important.

About 48% of the area of State Forest is subject to protection, located mostly around large cities, in health resort areas, along rivers and the sea coast, in the area of dunes and others. Management in protected forests is governed by special functions performed by these forests (water protection, soil protection and others).

In the field of forestry, activities aim at increasing the forest coverage in Poland from almost 28% at present to over 30%. It is to be achieved through taking over for afforestation purposes the farmland which is not used by agriculture.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: State administration in case of protected areas and in case of the state forests, protection of mineral resources; territorial administration for protection of resources in the local scale. The basic role of local governments in the decision making system hampers extension of protected areas.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Introducing a modern legislation, and, in particular the Act on Physical Planning of 1994, the Acts on nature conservation and on forests of 1991 at all.

3. Major Groups: Interested local communities, non-governmental groups, experts, nature conservation administration, at all.

4. Finance: Protected areas are financed from the resources of the state budget or from the voivodships (provincial) ones. The tasks in the field of reclamation activities rest to a considerable extent with the National Environmental Protection and Water Management Fund. Reclamation of damages which occurred as a result of exploitation of rocky mineral resources rests with the enterprises which have obtained licenses for their exploitation.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: International co-operation is maintained with regard to protected areas as, for example, within the UNESCO MaB programme in the border areas, the so-called Carpathian Euro-region where co-management in the Middle-Carpathians is envisaged in the area of several countries. Co-operation takes place also in determination and exploitation of protected regions in the border areas, such as in the Lower Oder River at the Polish-German border or the concept of protected areas of tourist character at Poland's Eastern border. The joint German-Czech-Polish undertakings connected with reclamation are carried out in the area of the so-called Black Triangle.



- Forest area protection against changing the type of land use

- Forest protection against emissions from industry

- Protection of the health of forest stand and the forest ecosystems stability

- Enlargement of the forest cover of the country

STATUS REPORT: Since the end of World War II, the forest cover of the country has been permanently growing from 20.8% in 1945 to 27.9% in 1994. Afforestation of non-forest areas in the 50s and 60s was many times higher than the deforestation for the industry and communication investments. In the 80s and 90s, forest cover has been increasing, but much more slowly.

The Forest Act of 28 September 1991 (Official Journal 101, par. 444) defines the following principles of forest management:

- general forest protection,

- sustainability of maintenance of the forests and their use

- enlargement of forest resources.

The Forest Act envisages that afforestation programmes of non-forest areas will be supported by state budget.

The Act on Protection of Agricultural and Forest Land of 3 February 1995 (Official Journal 16, par. 78), as well as its previous version, restricts and rigorously controls the transfer of forest areas into the non-forest purposes. Each of the reforestation should be accepted by the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry or the Governor. Excluding the forest areas from the forest use imposes high costs on the investor.

The State Programme for enlargement of state forest cover, adopted by the Council of Ministers (1995), assumes increase of the forest cover up to 30% by the year 2020 and up to 33% in a further perspective. Afforestation of grounds useless for agriculture fully compensates small deforestation for investment purposes (motor-ways, industry, recreational construction). The implementation of this programme at the provincial and communal level started recently.

CONSTRAINTS ENCOUNTERED POST RIO: Reforestation, currently radically restricted by law and financial mechanisms, is under strict state control.

The programme of extension of the state forest cover encountered the following constraints:

- lack of financial resources for the implementation of large afforestation,

- attitude moulding of the owners of lands suitable for afforestation,

- protection and maintenance of young and unstable ecosystems of new afforestations.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

- Deforestation control and reduction - central level (Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry) and regional level (Voivods),

- afforestation - local level (local government) and regional level (voivodship authorities) with the support from the central level (Ministry of Agriculture and Food Economy, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry).

The Forest Act

The Act on Protection of Agricultural and Forest Land

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: An effort has been made to improve education and awareness-building concerning the preservation of forests. Much has been achieved by the Centre of Forest Culture in Goluchow. Local centres of forestry education are planned. Many programmes in the area of research are also envisaged.

3. Major Groups:

- local communities and governments

- spatial planning service

4. Finance: The Programme for enlargement of state forest cover will be implemented with the support of:

- state budget,

- local budget,

- National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management,

- Voivodship and local Funds for Environmental protection,

- other target funds (Forest Fund, EcoFund) and foreign aid.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Information and experience exchange.

Forest Area (Km2)
Protected forest area
Roundwood production (solid volume of roundwood without bark in mill m3) 2/
Deforestation rate (Km2/annum)
Reforestation rate (Km2/annum)
Forests endangered by industry (Km2)
Forests affected by fires (km2)
Other data

1) Sources: Central Statistical Office - 1986, 1991, 1995: Forestry, Environment Protection;

2) large dimensional timber

3) reforestation of post-agricultural areas + reclamation of deteriorated areas


NATIONAL PRIORITY: Prevention of regional and seasonal disturbances of water balance

International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification

Particularly in Africa

Poland is not a party to this Convention.

General characteristic of drought in Poland

One of the negative characteristic of the climate in Poland is the frequent occurrence of droughts. They tend to occur periodically in different seasons of the year and may sometimes cause serious economic losses. The direct result of drought is a disturbance of the natural water balance in a given area. This, in turn, leads to an excessive soil overdrying, lowering of the underground water table and decrease of the water flow in rivers. In comparison with countries having similar climatic conditions, Poland - with relatively poor natural water resources in relation to economical requirements - is faced with much more serious negative effects of the occurrence of post drought periods.

Regions with the longest duration of drought are situated in the zone stretching from Podlasie Lowland in the north-east, through Central Poland, Great Poland down to the Silesian Lowland in the south-west. Such a spatial distribution of drought is unfavourable from the point of view of the Polish economy, particularly of agriculture. The regions that are threatened with the possibility of drought is also where the major part of Polish farming potentials is situated.

On average, droughts occur in Poland once every three years. During the period of the last 50 years droughts with the largest territorial range were those which occurred in 1959, 1969, 1982 and 1992.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Only on regional level (voivodships, communities, basin's based Water Authorities).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Investigations are being carried out with the aim to determine the effects of the occurrence of drought. Studies are also conducted to improve methods of research.

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: Lack of separate resources for preventive procedures against drought. When drought threats occur only local decisions are taken.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: No international or regional cooperation. Voivodship offices act on a temporary basis and only when a drought already occurs.

Land affected by desertification (Km2)
Areas on which drought occurred (about Km2)
Area of forests on which fires occurred (Km2)
Other data



- nature and landscape protection

- water protection

- sustainable forest management

- development of recreational function

STATUS REPORT: Mountains in Poland - defined as areas higher than 350 m above sea level - covers ca 8% of the country area. They are: Sudety and Karpaty Mountains in the South and Saint Cross Mountains in central Poland. It is estimated that the mountain area in Poland is the source of ca 30% of all water resources.

Forests constitute ca 40% of the mountain area. Mountains - especially Sudety and Saint Cross Mountains - constitute the area for exploitation of rock raw materials. Half of the rural population works in agriculture. The type of small-commodity, low effective farming predominates. In many regions, clear agricultural regress and the growth of other forms of farming (e.g. tourist service) have been observed. There exist mountain areas in Poland - e.g. east part of Karpaty, certain regions of Sudety - where during the last 45 years a significant reduction of settlement networks has been observed.

The Mountains in Poland are covered by many protective programmes: protection against erosion, protection of head-streams of rivers and protection of areas of therapeutic mineral waters occurrence. Mountain forests are protected as soil and water protecting forests and recreational forests. Currently there is no danger of excessive deforestation of the mountain area. The part of that area (e.g. West Beskidy) is covered by special zones of sustainable development of forests - so-called Forest Promotional Complex.

The main hazards are the following:

- acid rains and industrial dust, which caused forest dieback in Sudety (the famous Black Triangle on the border area of Czech Republic, Poland and Germany), in West Karpaty and in the region of Saint Cross Mountain; a result of the phenomenon is increase of erosion and water flow;

- excessive development of settlements and the recreational equipment in the West region of Karpaty - especially visible in the region of Podhale, at the foot of the Tatry - the highest mountain in Poland;

- the mineral resources mines - mainly in Sudety Mountains.

Among the programmes of mountains protection, the programme of nature and landscape protection should be distinguished. Currently there are six national parks in Karpaty (Babiogorski, Gorczanski, Pieninski, Tatrzanski, Magurski, and Bieszczadzki), two in Sudety (Karkonoski and Gor Stolowych) and one in the Saint Cross Mountains (Swietokrzyski). Out of 22 Polish national parks (IInd category IUCN) nine are located in mountain areas. While the total area of national parks in Poland covers ca 1% of the state area, national parks cover 4% of the total mountain area. Additionally, in the mountains exist 16 landscape parks (Vth category IUCN) out of 120 existing in Poland and ca 100 nature reserves. The mountain area is especially attractive for tourism. The most attractive areas are visited all through the year. Highest attendance is noted in Tatrzanski National Park (ca 3 million tourists) and Karkonoski National Park (ca 2.5 million tourists). Summarising, the policy of aware protection of mountain areas currently covers a significant part of the mountains. Within the mountains area the changes of the forms of management observed so far manifest themselves in the decay of traditional agricultural and breeding works. The growth of tourist services has been noted. It should be highlighted, that the main hazards are air pollution and excessive recreational movement in the mountain.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The policy of protection of mountains is part of the guidelines of the National Environmental Policy. Strategic decisions are taken in accordance with the Act on Nature Conservation of 16th October 1991, e.g. decisions regarding the establishment of national parks and reserves have been made on the central level by the Minister of Environmental Protection, decisions on establishing other spatial forms of protection are taken at the level of provincial administration and by National Forests. Regional Water Management Boards supervise activities in the field of water protection.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The plans of local spatial planning constitute the basis for the implementation of the mountain areas protection policy. Local communities make the local law in order to stimulate local development and protective actions. They also appoint the persons responsible for the implementation of each task and define the level of financial resources for their realisation.

The Act on Local Government of 1990 allows for the development of intercommunity unions for the conduct of common spatial policy and common use of natural resources. This record is often used for establishing bodies responsible for management and protection of water, for waste management and the conduct of common actions for increasing of public ecological awareness. The gene bank in the Sudety Mountains was established with co-financing of GEF, World Bank and EcoFund.

3. Major Groups: The following groups are involved and responsible:

- local communities,

- forest administration,

- national parks administration,

- tourism organizations e.g. PTTK,

- economic federations,

- non-governmental organizations, among others the Polish Society for Development of Mountain Areas,

- Committee for Management of Mountain Areas of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

4. Finance: The activities of the national parks and other protected objects are financed from the state budget. Investment activities in the field of environmental protection are financed by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, provincial funds, EcoFund and by the funds of enterprises and local communities.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The cooperation in the mountain areas is conducted in the framework of common protection of areas of outstanding natural values, e.g. in the framework of the MaB programme (Karkonosze, Babia Gora, Tatry, Bieszczady). Cooperation in those regions is conducted on the basis of bilateral relations: Poland-Czech Republic, Poland-Slovak Republic and tripartite relations (Poland, Slovak Republic and Ukraine). A very interesting initiative is the Karpaty Euroregion, covering areas of East Beskidy in Poland and Slovak Republic, the Karpaty region in Ukraine and the northern regions of Romania and Hungary. Cooperation in this region has a wide range character. Establishment of International Biosphere Reserves. In 1992 the Polish-German-Czech Euroregion Nysa has been established, covering the whole western Sudety mountains.


Mountain areas (over 350 m above sea level) - 25,000 km2 (8% area of the country)

Surface of mountain forested areas in relation

to the surface of forested areas - 12,000 km2 (40%)


NATIONAL PRIORITY: The National Environmental Policy adopted by the Parliament (1991) determines environmental policy (until the year 2000) in the area of soil protection. It covers restructuring of agricultural production on the land excessively contaminated with toxic substances (mainly with heavy metals) through: amending legal regulations with an obligation to examine contaminated areas, adjustment of crops cultivated on such land to the existing environmental conditions or their exclusion from agricultural production; clear cut definition of the contaminated areas and the level of soil and plant contamination; identification of the areas where limitations in growing food plants should be imposed or where agricultural production should be discontinued; providing indispensable means and organisational conditions for the implementation of the above mentioned tasks; expansion of the scope of liming the soil excessively acidified as a result of the industrial pollution; performing periodic verification of the means used in fertilisation and chemical protection of plants, as well as technology of their production; limitation of water erosion in areas of high agricultural quality (loess) or of natural values (lake districts).
STATUS REPORT: About 6.6 thousand hectares of degraded and devastated agricultural, forest and recreation land were reclaimed in 1991-93. A regenerative liming is carried out on the most acidified soils, inter alia, as a result of industrial pollution (over the area of 5 thousand hectares in 1993). A number of research and implementation projects have been undertaken targeted at limiting or changing the food production profile on the soils contaminated with industrial pollution (Upper Silesia, the Legnica-Glogów Copper District).

Assumptions for the programme of food production elimination in the contaminated areas in Upper Silesia have been prepared, as well as the management programme in the areas contaminated by the metallurgic industry for cultivation of technical plants and their use in pulp and paper, textile and chemical industry in the Legnica-Glogów Copper District; proposal for farmland classification for production of specific agricultural crops depending on contamination of the soil and air; permissible levels of heavy metals content in soils (depending on their granulometric composition and acidity in a five-grade contamination scale, taking into account possibilities of cultivation of plants depending on their susceptibility to heavy metals' accumulation); geo-chemical atlas of soil contamination in Poland; draft programme for inventory of farmland devastated and degraded as a result of the negative impact of industry. The ongoing research work is targeted to reduce the impact of chemical degradation of soil and on plant contamination by means of immobilisation of heavy metals in soils.

A considerable number of pesticides which are excessively toxic and most hazardous for the environment have been phased out from trade.

A village sanitation programme has been developed. The budgetary means have been made available to subsidise the construction of farmstead sewage treatment plants for scattered settlements and of sewerage and collective sewage treatment for consolidated settlements. An effort is being undertaken in the area of rational use of fertilisers (soil and plant testing, a new integrated system for counselling on the use of fertilisers has been developed and is being implemented). A system of pesticide control in field crops, food and fodder has been organised. Particular chemical means of plant protection require permits to be admitted to trade. Permits are issued on the basis of the same criteria as in EU countries. The systems of integrated plant protection have been worked out and are being implemented. The same applies to new environmentally safe techniques and technologies in agricultural production, consuming less energy and raw materials and using renewable energy from wood and straw combustion, biogas, biofuel from rape, energy from solar collectors and wind energy. Poland is a party to the Helsinki Convention (1974, ratified in 1980) on protection of the Baltic Sea maritime environment and takes lead in the part concerning limitation of contamination originating from agriculture. Under preparation for ratification is the analysis of the legal and on-the-merits effects of the Helsinki Convention. The assumptions of the socio-economic policy for the rural areas, farming and food economy have been elaborated (1994).

A new general act on environmental protection is under preparation. A draft act on fertilisers is under preparation. The "Programme of environmentally friendly development of rural areas, agriculture and food economy" is under preparation. The assumptions for the strategy of agriculture and food economy development until the year 2010 have been developed in 1996.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

The Act on Protection and Shaping of the Environment (1980) regulates problems connected with emission of pollutants into soils,

the National Environmental Policy adopted by the Parliament (1991),

the National Environmental Policy Implementation Programme, adopted by the Parliament (1995),

the Parliamentary Resolution on Sustainable Development Policy (1995),

the Order of the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry (1995) on agricultural use of waste water;

also determines permissible content of heavy metals in soils,

the Act on Farm and Forest Land Protection (1995),

the Agricultural Market Agency Act (1996),

the Act on Protection of Crop Plants (1995),

the Water Law (1974), with subsequent amendments (the act being amended, referred to the Parliament),

the assumptions of socio-economic policy for rural areas, agriculture and food economy until the year 2000, adopted by the

Parliament (1994),

the Order of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Economy on the rates of subsidies for agriculture (1996).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Training for farmers and advisors is being carried out on optimisation of use of fertilisers, promotion of the rules of proper application of plant protection measures, promotion activity for environmental farming (among producers, traders and bankers). Permanent promotion of technological progress is carried out by the Agricultural Consulting Centres and agricultural schools.

3. Major Groups: Agricultural producers, socio-professional organisations of farmers, self-government organisations, scientific institutes, parliamentary commissions, business, the Polish Ecological Club, school and academic youth.

4. Finance: Budgetary means, voivodship (provincial) and communal environmental protection funds, PHARE funds; the Agriculture Restructuring and Modernisation Agency-subsidises programmes of activities, subsidies to investment credit interests; the Agricultural Market Agency, the State Treasury Agricultural Property Agency, banks serving food economy, Fund for Protection of Agricultural Land, the Foundation for Assistance Programmes for Agriculture (foreign means).

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Poland is a member of the FAO Genetic Resources Commission and since 1981 it has been participating in the European Programme for Protection of Plant Genetic Resources.

Agricultural land (Km2)
Agricultural land as % of total land area
Agricultural land per capita
Consumption of fertilizers per Km2 of agricultural land
Other data:

Agricultural land loss in relation to the previous year according to the land registration (thousand ha)




Vandalised and degraded land to be reclaimed and developed (thousand ha)
Land reclaimed within the year (thousand ha)
Marginal soil managed by the Treasury Agricultural Agency (thousand ha)


NATIONAL PRIORITY: In accordance with the "National Environmental Policy", passed by the Parliament in 1991, which adopted sustainable development as the leading directive for the Polish policy:

- sustainable use of biological resources,

- activity to stop the degradation process of the natural environment,

- implementation of the convention on bio-diversity and other environmental conventions.

STATUS REPORT: Poland possesses relatively little transformed natural environment and rich natural resources in the European scale. Poland signed the Convention on bio-diversity in 1992 and ratified it in 1996. It has also signed a number of other environmental conventions of significant importance for the protection of bio-diversity (e.g. "Ramsar" Convention, Bonn Convention, Washington Convention et al.).

With regard to climatic and geographical conditions, Poland is located in the zone of rich flora and fauna, due to the relatively low level of transformation of the landscape the rank of biological diversity of Poland as compared to Europe is high. There is also a large diversification of flora and fauna: from mountain areas, through non-mountain to coastal areas as well as from Atlantic species to sub-continental species.

Maintaining traditional forms of individual agriculture in large areas of the country enabled the survival of many primitive kinds and species of crop plants and farm animals.

In order to implement the principles of sustainable development in Poland and in connection with the obligations imposed on the country by the ratification of the Convention (i.a. inventory of biological resources, expanding protection beyond protected areas and species, development of the strategy for protection of biological diversity), a number of projects and studies have been undertaken, and documents have been prepared:

- the "National Environmental Policy" was adopted by the Parliament in 1991 (prior to the Earth Summit in Rio);

- since 1994, work has been ongoing on the national strategy for protection of biological diversity (a draft version of the national strategy has already been prepared);

- a paper on "Polish study of biological diversity" (1993);

- "Strategy for the protection of living natural resources in Poland" (1991);

- in 1995, the national system of protected areas, covering about 24% of the country's territory, included among others: 20 national parks, 102 countryside parks and 1,122 reserves and its further development to achieve a full coverage of the natural assets of the country; since 1990 the number of protected nature areas increased by almost twofold, and the surface increased by 50%;

- concept of the ECONET-national environmental network (1995);

- the "Polish policy of comprehensive protection of forest resources" (1995);

- preparation of the Project for Protection of Biodiversity of Forest Areas (Technical Report), within the Global Environmental Facility Programme, as a World Bank document, Washington-Warsaw;

- preparation and starting implementation of the National Programme for Expansion of Forest Cover, adopted by the Council of Ministers on June 23-24, 1995;

- establishment of the "nature conservation" annexes to forest management plans in forest inspectorates;

- designation of Promotional Forest Complexes: forest areas representing various natural forest conditions of Poland with a view to running a model forest economy in accordance with the principles of sustainable development (on the basis of the Order No. 30 of the General Director of the State Forests dated December 19, 1994); the establishment of further Promotional Forest Complexes is planned;

- expansion of the existing and establishment of the new gene pools;

- drafting a new "Forest Management Instruction" (1994) containing a number of components important for the protection of biodiversity in forests;

- Order No 11 of the General Director of the State Forests dated February 14, 1995 on enhancement of forest management based on environmental fundamentals;

- preparation of the Polish Red Lists (according to IUCN recommendations) of plants threatened by extinction;

- the "Monitoring of living nature. Programme with the instruction for the years 1994-1997"(1993).

Additional remarks to the chapter: The existing Polish law provides rational foundations for protection of a large part of biological diversity (see: legal acts in item 1 of the intersectorial issues).

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

- central authorities: the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Economy, the Ministry of Transportation and Maritime Economy;

- co-ordination of work on implementation of the Convention is carried out by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry;

- the regional environmental protection authorities (provincial environmental protection departments and departments of agriculture, provincial offices of nature conservators) and local (territorial) self-government (in communities) as well as planning services.

The key legal acts of essential importance for bio-diversity protection:

- the Act of 31 January 1980 on the Protection and Management of the Environment (Dz.U.[Official Journal] No.3, item 6 with subsequent amendments - unified text-1994, Official Journal No.49, item 196),

- the Act of 16 October 1991 on Nature Protection (Official Journal No.111 item 492 with subsequent amendments), together with the orders of the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry on protection of plant species (of April 4, 1995, Official Journal No. 41 item 214) and animal species (of January 6, 1996, Official Journal No.13, item 61);

- the Act of September 29, 1991 on Forests (Official Journal No.101, item 444);

- the Act of February 3, 1995 on Protection of Agricultural and Forest grounds (Official Journal No.16, item 78);

- the Act of July 7, 1994 on Physical Development (Official Journal No.89 item 415) and the Order of the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry on determination of the types of investments potentially hazardous to the environment and human health and on environmental impact assessment;

- the Hunting Law of December 18, 1995 (Official Journal No.147, item 713).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

- initiation of implementation of the sustainable development principles in Poland (according to the document the "National Environmental Policy" -1991);

- progressing implementation of environmental approach in forestry and agriculture;

- national and countryside parks and Forest Promotional Complexes-as testing grounds for application of sustainable development principles;

- planned development of the system of environmentally friendly economic solutions and incentives;

- planned development of environmental education - the "Strategy of environmental education" was prepared (1996);

- continuation of the inventory of natural resources and extension of data bases.

3. Major Groups: central, regional and local authorities, technical and scientific community, business, local communities, non-governmental organisations.

4. Finance: Lack of detailed information due to the absence of the relevant category in statistical reports.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: participation in, and organisation of, national and international conferences on biological diversity; development of international exchange of information; co-operation with neighbouring countries along the Eastern border on establishment of transboundary protected areas, planned also along the southern border of the country.

Protected area as % of total land area1
Forest area (% of land area)1
Number of threatened species of Polish vessel flora (% of Polish vessel flora)2
Number of threatened and extinct species of vertebraes in Poland (% fo vertebrates in Poland)3

Source: 1) Statistical Yearbook 1995 GUS, 2) Environmental Protection 1995 GUS (according to Polish Red List - Zarzycki K., Wojewoda W., Heinrich Z. (red.) 1992: List of endangered flora in Poland. W. Szafer Botanic Institute, Cracow; and the first issue of this list - Zarzycki K., Wojewoda W. (red.) 1986; List of extinct and endangered flora in Poland. PWN, Warsaw; 3) Environmental Protection 1995 GUS (according to Polish Red Paper of Animals - Gwacinski Z. (red.) 1992; Red Paper of extinct and endangered animals in Poland. Institute of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources PAN, Cracow.


NATIONAL PRIORITY: Completion of work on the Polish regulatory legislation and harmonisation with the European Union legislation regarding the management of biotechnology; development of a system for implementation.
STATUS REPORT: In Poland biotechnology is applied in agriculture, food economy, industry, forestry, environmental protection, health protection and other areas.

The issue of environmentally sound management of biotechnology is covered by the Convention on biological diversity, ratified by Poland. There is a lack of statutory regulations in this area, although this issue is covered by the "Strategy for the protection of biological diversity in Poland". The work on legislation regarding safety for the environment and health management of biotechnology was initiated in 1995.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: No information

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: In 1993-94, "Biotechnology", including safe biotechnology management, was introduced into the programme of education of a number of universities and technical academies.

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: No information


NATIONAL PRIORITY: - protection against the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea Gulf of Gdansk and Puck

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was signed in 1982, the ratification is under preparation.

Poland has also signed the first Convention on protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea and the Belts (Helsinki 1974) and the second Convention on protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea and the Belts (Helsinki 1992).

Poland is also engaged in the protection of seas and oceans on the global scale and is a party to many conventions in this field:

- International Convention on intervention on the high sea in case of oil pollution casualties (Brussels 1969) and Protocols to this Convention,

- Convention on prevention of marine pollution from dumping of waste and other matter (London, Mexico, Moscow, Washington - 1979),

- International Convention on the prevention of pollution from ships - MARPOL (London 1973) and Protocols to this Convention,

- Agreement on Conservation of small cetaceans of the Baltic and North Sea

Poland actively participated in negotiations of the "Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Sea" (FAO), the Code of Conduct of Responsible Fishing and the "Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea".

Poland is a member of international fishery organisations, controlling the rules of fishery resources exploitation:

- International Commission for maintenance of Antarctic living resources (CCAMLR),

- International Commission for the North-west Atlantic Fishery (NAFO),

- International Commission for the Baltic Sea Fishery.

Poland fulfils the obligations and recommendations resulting from above conventions and international agreements. The special obligations for Poland are included in the Helsinki Conventions on the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea and the Belts, as the Baltic Sea sets 528 km of the borderline (15% of the total length of the country's borderline); the Baltic coastline is 788 km, and 99.7% of the state area is situated in the Baltic Sea drainage area. Protection of the environment of the Baltic Sea is conducted in the whole drainage area.

These Conventions are also implemented in the following fields:

- the proper management in the coastal zones, for which the obligatory proceedings were defined (Act of 21.03.1991 on the marine areas of Poland and maritime administration); in 1996, the first regional programme for Integrated Management of Coastal Zones was established on the west coast,

- prevention, reduction and control of degradation of the marine environment caused by human activity at the sea; the MARPOL Convention 73/78, Helsinki Convention 1974 and the London Convention on dumping of waste were fully incorporated into the Act of 1995 on prevention of marine pollution from ships. The decisions of this Act are rigorously executed by the Polish maritime administration,

- prevention of marine environment pollution from drilling platforms, regulated by the Act of 4 February 1994 on the Geological and Mining Law,

- protection of sea-water from waste derived from land; Poland, as a signatory of both Helsinki Conventions on the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea was one of the initiators and a co-author of the Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Action Programme) adopted by the meeting of Ministers of the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM) in April 1992.

Status Report (cont'd)

The executive acts of the Water Law of 1995 have established standards for emissions of biogenic pollution to the inland waters, which, in majority, flow into the Baltic Sea (from 97.7% of Poland area), at the level as for the water especially liable to eutrophication. In accordance with the policy of discharge licensing, economic incentives have been introduced through charges for extraordinary environmental use and investment programmes for waste water treatment plants have been established. Low-rate loans are being provided from the Bank of Environmental Protection and grants from the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and the EcoFund. These measures have caused significant progress in reducing discharge of sewage into the inland waters and thus into the Baltic Sea; in the years 1990-95 the volume of untreated sewage decreased by 50%.

Activities were initiated towards implementation of the best available practice to reduce agricultural pollution. In 1994, the Minister of Industry and Trade issued the regulation on the limitation of phosphorus content in washing agents.

In 1996, the Act on the Protection of Crop Plants was put into effect, it determines the admission of the use of plant protection chemicals in Poland and the assessment of their ecological harmfulness, inter alia, in water environments.

The system of ecological safety certification of products has been in place in Poland since 1995. The certification covers waste water treatment plants, the elements of water supply and sewage discharge systems.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

- regarding protection of seaside and navigation: Maritime Offices subordinate to the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Economy

- regarding water protection against pollution and nature protection: Provincial Offices and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: High activity with participation of foreign partners promoting technological solutions and systems of protection and developing the public awareness regarding water protection.

3. Major Groups: Communal authorities, Association of Engineers and Technicians, ecological non governmental organizations, Regional Union, Seaside Towns Union, National Chamber of Tourism.

4. Finance: In the year 1994, from 1% GDP allocated to the protection of the environment, ca 4% were spent on water protection.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

- Sub-regional cooperation in the framework of the Helsinki Convention, executive body of Helsinki Convention and executive body of the Convention on protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea,

- cooperation within the framework of the MARPOL Convention,

- bilateral cooperation with the Baltic Countries.

Catches of marine species (metric tons)
Population in coastal areas
ca 2,000,000
Population served by waste water treatment (% of country's

total population)

ca 40
Discharges of oil into coastal waters (metric tons)
no information
Releases of phosphates into the Baltic Sea (tonnes) Ptot from the area of Poland

Releases of nitrates into the Baltic Sea (tonnes) Ntot from the area of Poland
Other data

Chapter 17 (Oceans) Continued:

Check the boxes in the column below left: Check the boxes in the column below right:
For level of importance use: For level of implementation use:
*** = very important *** = fully covered
** = important ** = well covered- gaps being addressed
* = not important * = poorly covered
N = not relevant O = not covered; N = not relevant


a. Preparation and implementation of land and water use and siting policies.
b. Implementation of integrated coastal and marine management and sustainable development plans and programmes at appropriate levels.
c. Preparation of coastal profiles identifying critical areas including eroded zones, physical processes, development patterns, user conflicts and specific priorities for management.
d. Prior environmental impact assessment, systematic observation and follow-up of major projects, including systematic incorporation of results in decision-making.
e. Contingency plans for human induced and natural disasters.
f. Improvement of coastal human settlements, especially in housing, drinking water and treatment and disposal of sewage, solid wastes and industrial effluents.
g. Periodic assessment of the impacts of external factors and phenomena to ensure that the objectives of integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas and marine environment are met.
h. Conservation and restoration of altered critical habitats.
I. Integration of sectoral programmes on sustainable development for settlements, agriculture, tourism, fishing, ports and industries affecting the coastal areas.
J. Infrastructure adaptation and alternative employment.
K. Human resource development and training.
L. Public education, awareness and information programmes.
M. Promoting environmentally sound technology and sustainable practices.
N. Development and simultaneous implementation of environmental quality criteria.


A. Apply preventive, precautionary and anticipatory approaches so as to avoid degradation of the marine environment, as well as to reduce the risk of long-term or irreversible adverse effects upon it.
B. Ensure prior assessment of activities that may have significant adverse impacts upon the marine environment.
C. Integrate protection of the marine environment into relevant general environmental, social and economic development policies.
D. Develop economic incentives, where appropriate, to apply clean technologies and other means consistent with the internalization of environmental costs, such as the polluter pays principle, so as to avoid degradation of the marine environment.
E. Improve the living standards of coastal populations, particularly in developing countries, so as to contribute to reducing the degradation of the coastal and marine environment.
F. Effective monitoring and surveillance within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of fish harvesting and transportation of toxic and other hazardous materials.


A. Sewage related problems are considered when formulating or reviewing coastal development plans, including human development plans.
B. Sewage treatment facilities are built in accordance with national policies.
C. Coastal outfalls are located so as to maintain acceptable level of environmental quality and to avoid exposing shell fisheries, water intakes and bathing areas to pathogens.
D. The Government promotes primary treatment of municipal sewage discharged to rivers, estuaries and the sea, or other solutions appropriate to specific sites.
E. The Government supports the establishment and improvement of local, national, subregional and regional, as necessary, regulatory and monitoring programmes to control effluent discharge. Minimum sewage effluent guidelines and water quality criteria are in use.


A. Established or improved upon, as necessary, regulatory and monitoring programmes to control emissions, including recycling technologies.
B. Promoted risk and environmental impact assessments to help ensure an acceptable level of environmental quality.
C. Promoted assessment and cooperation at the regional level, where appropriate, with respect to the input of point source pollutants from the marine environment.
D. Taken steps to eliminate emissions or discharges of organohalogen compounds from the marine environment.
E. Taken steps to eliminate/reduce emissions or discharges or other synthetic organic compounds from the marine environment.
F. Promoted controls over anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen and phosphorous that enter coastal waters where such problems as eutrophication threaten the marine environment or its resources.
G. Taken steps to develop and implement environmentally sound land-use techniques and practices to reduce run-off to water courses and estuaries which would cause pollution or degradation of the marine environment.
H. Promoted the use of environmentally less harmful pesticides and fertilizers and alternative methods for pest control, and considered the prohibition of those found to be environmentally unsound.
I. Adopted new initiatives at national, subregional and regional levels for controlling the input of non-point source pollutants which require broad changes in sewage and waste management, agricultural practices, mining, construction and transportation.
J. Taken steps to control and prevent coastal erosion and siltation due to anthropogenic factors related to, inter alia, land-use and construction techniques and practices.


A. Coordinating national and regional observation programmes for coastal and near-shore phenomena related to climate change and for research parameters essential for marine and coastal management in all regions.
B. Providing improved forecasts of marine conditions for the safety of inhabitants of coastal areas and for the efficiency of marine operations.
C. Adopting special measures to cope with and adapt to potential climate change and sea-level rise.
D. Participating in coastal vulnerability assessment, modelling and response strategies particularly for priority areas, such as small islands and low-lying and critical coastal areas.
E. Identifying ongoing and planned programmes of systematic observation of the marine environment, with a view to integrating activities and establishing priorities to address critical uncertainties for oceans and all seas.
F. Research to determine the marine biological effects of increased levels of ultraviolet rays due to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.
G. Carrying out analysis, assessments and systematic observation of the role of oceans as a carbon sink.


1. Frequency (external flights) 1. Frequency (external shipping)
2. Frequency (in-country flights) 2. Frequency (in-country shipping)
3. Cooperation at regional level in air transport and civil aviation 3. Cooperation at regional level in shipping
4. Cooperation at international level 4. Cooperation at international level
5. Economic viability of national air line 5. Economic viability of national shipping line(s)
6. Economic viability of regional air line 6. Economic viability of regional shipping line (s)
7. national level training in skills for air transport sector 7. National level training in skills for maritime transport sector
8. Access to training in skills for air transport sector within the region 8. Regional level training in skills for maritime transport sector
9. Access to international training for air transport sector 9. Access to international training for maritime transport sector
10. Supportive of ICAO



- ensuring healthy and safe water for drinking and municipal use,

- limiting industrial water use and protection of underground waters against pollution,

- protection of waters susceptible to eutrophication against pollution,

- lakes, midland waters reservoirs, estuaries and Baltic water bays,

- protection of the open waters of the Baltic Sea against pollution also from the point of view of their recreational use,

- limiting the impact of salt waters from mining on purity of water,

- meeting the commitments resulting from the international conventions signed by Poland,

- increasing reservoir retention of surface waters and use of water for energy production.

STATUS REPORT: Poland is a signatory to the Helsinki Conventions on the protection of the Baltic Sea (1974 and 1982) and the Convention on the protection and use of transboundary water ways and international lakes. It has also concluded agreements on water management of boundary waters with all the neighbouring countries.

Poland's midland water resources of both surface and underground waters are small with 1,600 m3/yr on the average. In most cases these resources are from the territory of Poland. Surface waters run-off is stabilised at 43-90 km3/yr, that is 1,100-3,000 m3 per inhabitant, depending on annual precipitation (data for the 1980-1995 period). Exploitative resources of underground waters in 1995 were 12.1 km3. Impounding reservoirs capacity is about 3,000 km3, that is about 5% of the annual run-off.

Water intake/consumption in national economy was 12.1 km3 in 1995, of which industry used 67.9%, agriculture 10.3% and the municipal economy 21.8%. In comparison with the maximum consumption of 15.6 km3 in 1985, water intake has dropped by about 30% as a result of the measures taken. Water consumption for municipal use has dropped by about 15%.

The rules of water management in Poland are laid down in the "Water Law" act of 1974 and a number of executive regulations thereto. Those regulations determine property of waters, their classification, manners of using the resources, rules of supervision and control, protection against pollution, licensing of water intake and sewage discharge, quality standards for the sewage discharged into waters, principles of resource balancing, rules of water regulation and maintenance, hydro-engineering and land improvement and water supply for the population.

At present, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry is working on amendments to the "Water Law" act with a view to harmonising regulations with the European Union laws and international conventions signed by Poland. It proposes to change resource management by shifting its burden onto the catchment system rather than the administrative one. Catchment management has already been initiated. In Poland, charges for water intake and sewage discharge are being collected which go to the National Environmental Protection and Water Management Fund. For several years, a monitoring system for surface waters, both for running and stagnant waters, as well as for underground waters has been operating through the services of the State Environmental Protection Inspectorate and scientific institutions.

Compliance with the terms of licenses for water intake and sewage discharge is controlled by the State Environmental Protection Inspectorate's regional services and infringements may result in high fines and in legal action. The exemption is discharge of saline mine waters from hard coal mines with a negative impact on the water quality of two biggest rivers of Poland: Vistula and Oder. Fees and fines for their discharge are not enforced because of the difficult economic situation of mines. This is an additional form of subsidising hard coal mining in Poland.

Activity in the area of water management and protection is carried out in conformity with the National Environmental Policy and its implementation programme, as well as the water management and protection strategy.

Consistent realisation of strategic goals in this area has resulted in a reduction of the volume of biologically treated municipal sewage from 29% to 50% in the period 1991-1995.

Over 90% of the 23.5 million urban inhabitants make use of the municipal water supply. 81,5% use sewerage system services. But only 24% of rural areas' inhabitants use collective water supply systems and there is a considerable deficit of sewerage services.

The quality of water supplied by municipal and rural water supply systems is sufficient in 90% only.

As a result of the change to the market economy there has been a reduction in wasting water which until 1990 was a resource freely accessible or available for a token fee.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry is the supreme organ of state administration in the water management area. Permits for special use of water are issued at the local level (voivodships-provinces). Charges are also determined and collected at the local level. The Regional Water Management Board is in charge of river catchment management. The system includes also Regional Water Management Directorates. The tasks are supervised by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Economy is responsible for Land Improvement and Water Installation Boards which are in charge of maintenance and service of basic land improvements. The State Environmental Protection Inspectorate monitors compliance with legal regulations pertaining to environmental protection.

The Ministry of Transportation and Maritime Economy is in charge of inland water transportation and the Ministry of Industry and Trade in charge of hydro power industry.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Environmental education of the public at large and the professional milieus is at a very advanced stage.

3. Major Groups: Institutional and legal conditions have been created allowing the participation of the public and non-governmental organizations in protection and management of regular waters. Especially noteworthy is the participation of engineers' associations, economic chambers, associations, designing units etc.

4. Finance: Water protection is financed with almost 50% (0.5% GDP) of all investment expenditures for environmental protection (1% GDP). This level has been maintained for the last few years.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Cooperation in the UN ECE and also within the framework of international conventions signed by Poland. Many projects have been carried out with use of foreign aid. The main contribution was made by: EU (the PHARE fund), Denmark, Japan and Sweden. The projects served predominantly creation of the prospects. Cooperation in frontier waters with the neighbouring countries.

Fresh water availability (total domestic/external in million m3)
43,000 - 90,000
Annual withdrawal of freshwater as % of available water
15 - 30
Other data


NATIONAL PRIORITY: The "National Environmental Policy" of 1991 is the basic document determining directions of environmental activities in Poland. Accepting sustainable development as its underlying principle it points out the necessity to restructure agriculture and industry, including the chemical industry, to implement safe technologies, low- and non-waste technologies, setting up a chemical safety system, an early warning system and a system for counteracting chemical accidents, to unify legislation and to harmonise it with EU laws and OECD recommendations.
STATUS REPORT: The refinery and petrochemical industry, organic and inorganic industry, plastics industry, artificial fibre, paints and lacquers industry, and rubber and pharmaceutical industry are the dominating branches of the Polish chemical industry. Its output constitutes about 17% of the total import and 12% of the total export.

At present there is no legal procedure in Poland that would allow registration of all chemical substances appearing on the market. Another unambiguous criteria is the lack of classification of chemicals. In the foreign trade area there is no separate national system to register trade in chemical substances especially in exports. The imports are connected with licensing procedures. Currently Poland controls the export of certain chemical substances on the basis of the Act on the principles of special control of foreign trade in goods and technologies in connection to international agreements and obligations (1993). The Institute of Organic Industry carries out risk assessments and keeps registers for certain chemicals (with the use of IRPTC).

Regulations on transportation of hazardous materials which are in force in Poland are based on the requirements of international conventions on rail, road, maritime and air transportation (COTiF, SMGS, ADR, IDMG, ICAO) to which Poland is a signatory, as well as the Basle Convention.

The "National Environmental Policy Implementation Programme through the year 2000" assumes, inter alia, the creation of the national chemical safety system, a hazardous materials control system, liquidation of outdated chemicals for plant protection, and the implementation of a "cleaner technologies programme".

Work has been undertaken on amendments to existing and on drafting new legal acts concerning chemicals. The draft act on chemical substances which assumes the introduction of principles for control of the use of chemical substances, in accordance with OECD and with the European Union legal acts, mainly in the area of research, classification rules, risk assessment, package labelling and registration, is now in the final legislative process. This act will impose a duty to inform the importing country about an export of a substance, in accordance with the London Guidelines.

The Minister of Health and Social Care, in co-operation with other ministers, is obligated to implement a chemical safety system in Poland. Setting up an interdepartmental institution coordinating chemical substances management is being planned. The new regulation will create a legal basis for pursuing regular research on chemical substances (heretofore conducted informally) taking into account the principles of Good Laboratory Practice and will allow the elaboration and implementation of risk reduction programmes.

The Programme Council for the "Data base on elementary requirements for safety, health protection, and the environment at the stage of production, transport and use of chemical materials, in accordance with the EU and the UN requirements" was established in 1994 and prepares hazardous substances characteristics charts, in line with the recommendations of the ILO Convention. The Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture and the Agency for Technique and Technology have been established in 1996. The Cleaner Production Movement continues to be developed. Pilot projects have been implemented in over 200 facilities. A ban on use, trade in and transport of certain chemical substances was introduced in 1996, and a list of units was published which are authorised to test materials and technologies from the point of view of their harmfulness. The new requirements concerning pesticide management were introduced by the Act on Protection of Crop Plants which came into force in 1996. Restructuring of agriculture, currently ongoing, is targeted at, inter alia, elimination of highly toxic crop protection chemicals and elimination of food production on the soil contaminated with toxic substances. A requirement to provide opinions on safety for health and the environment for plant protection products, before admitting them for trade and use, prepared by the Plant Protection Institute, the State Hygienic Institution and the Institute of Environmental Protection has been introduced this year.

Foundations have been created for implementation of the Convention of the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and the Convention on Environmental Impact in the transboundary context. The State Inspectorate of Environmental Protection co-ordinates the state environmental monitoring, including accidental threats to the environment. Preventive action in case of an accident are now taken by plants of chemical industry, within the Responsible Care programme coordinated by the Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Responsibility for chemicals' management lies with several sectors, including:

- the Ministry of Health and Social Care (trade in poisons, harmful substances, common use chemicals, industrial safety; the Ministry also supervises the State Sanitary Inspection;

- the Ministry of Industry and Trade (trade in chemicals, chemical safety, control of the Polish standards);

- the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Economy (protection of plants, food, sanitary supervision); it supervises the State Inspection for Plant Protection;

- the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Economy (transport of hazardous materials);

- the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (industrial safety, standards for pollution in work environment);

- the Ministry of Internal Affairs (chemical rescue service, border guards, national rescue-fire extinguishing system); it supervises the State Fire Brigedes Headquarters;

The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry co-ordinates activities of the state administration organs in the field of environmental protection and exercises control of compliance with the provisions of the Framework Act on Protection and Shaping of the Environment. It supervises the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection. Control organs: the State Sanitary Inspection, the State Labour Inspection, the State Institut for Hygiene, the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection, the State Inspectorate for Plant Protection, the Main Customs Office, Police. Regulations in force comprise: plant protection chemicals, consumer goods and cosmetics, hazardous substances transportation, introduction of chemical substances for production and use (toxic substances), use of chemical substances in a work place, use of materials in buildings, chemical rescue and accidental threats, as well as testing and certification of chemical substances hazardous to the environment.

Major acts (chronologically):

- the Act on Poisonous Substances (1963),

- the Act on the State Labour Inspection (1981-with subsequent amendments)

- the Act on the State Sanitary Inspection (1985),

- the Act on the State Inspection for Environmental Protection (1991),

- the Act on Testing and Certification (1993),

- the Act on Protection of Crop Plants (1995),

- the Act on the State Fire Brigades.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

- Draft acts serving as the basis for implementation of the national chemical safety system:

a. the draft act on chemical substances,

b. the draft act on preventing major chemical accidents.

- Setting up the Technique/Engineering and Technology Agency in 1996 (information systems on technologies, scientific-research activities, technical and economic consulting, transfer of and trade in technologies);

- implementation of the "Responsible Care" programme in chemical industry plants;

- implementation of the "Cleaner Production" programme (pilot projects);

- establishment of the Commission for Sustainable Development in 1994 (supervision of the implementation sustainable development policy);

- establishment of the Environmental Management Centre in the Chemical Industry (promotion of "good management practices", educational activity);

- educational-information activity (training, conferences, seminars);

- research and development activities;

- creation of information background, data bases.

3. Major Groups: central and local authorities, parliamentary commissions, local communities, business groups, businessmen associations, environmental organisations and foundations (the Polish Ecological Club), scientific-technical associations (the Chief Technical Organisation), scientific-research entities (institutes).

Chapter 19 (Cross-Sectoral Issues) (Cont'd)

4. Finance: Binding system of fees and fines (in accordance with the "polluter pays" principle) specific for certain installations depending of the degree of hazard they constitute. Planned introduction of product charges for products harmful to the environment; tax reductions for waste recycling and raw material recovery and license fees for products introduced to the market containing hazardous substances. Detailed data on expenditures or estimated outlays in the national scale on safe management of chemicals is lacking.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: International co-operation of Poland takes place mainly in implementation of the obligations stemming from conventions and international agreements in the area of chemicals' management and environmental protection. Poland participates actively in UN bodies' work, inter alia: ECE and UNEP, as well as with OECD (with the Chemical Substances Group), with the Council of Europe, the European Union, the PHARE programmes, the World Bank and the work of monitoring networks. Examples:

- UN ECE seminar on "Low-waste technologies and environmentally safe products" (1993),

- the European Communities' Conference "Co-operation and sustainable development in chemical industry" (1993),

- the IIIrd World UNEP Seminar on Cleaner Production (1994),

- the OECD Workshop on "Good Laboratory Practice" in the light of OECD Requirements (1995),

- co-operation with Norway within the Cleaner Production Movement.


NATIONAL PRIORITY: The basic document for pro-ecological activity in Poland is the "National Environmental Policy" adopted in 1991 which defines short, medium and long term priorities. In the area of hazardous waste management until the year 2000 they include:

- reduction of the overall volume of industrial waste in need of storage by at least 2005 by implementation of low-waste and non-waste technologies,

- increase of waste reuse for economic purposes,

- increase of waste recovery from the waste stored,

- rendering harmless or safe storage of all hazardous waste,

- reclaiming of degraded land,

- production of machinery and equipment for, inter alia, incineration plants,

- harmonisation of the Polish law with the European Community's.

STATUS REPORT: A hazardous waste management syatem is lacking in Poland and their management is not conducted in a suitable manner. So far no legal regulation exists in Poland pertaining to hazardous waste management. General rules for handling them are laid down in the environmental protection and management act and, in part, in a few other acts. Only the conditions for import, export and transit of hazardous waste have been determined, a list with 106 items has been compiled. In 1993, a ban on import of hazardous waste was introduced and the duty to obtain a permit of the Chief Environmental Protection Inspector to import all other waste earmarked for recycling. Also permits for export and transit of waste were introduced. In conformity with the requirements of the Basle Convention on control of transboundary shipment and removal of hazardous waste (signed by Poland in 1990 and ratified in 1992), the export of hazardous waste is allowed in dependance of a permit of the importer's country. In order to counteract illegal trade in waste the Chief Environmental Protection Inspector cooperates with the Chief Sanitary Inspector, the Chief Customs Office chairman and the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guards. Effectiveness of control of waste shipments transported across the territory of Poland is deemed very high.

According to the "polluter pays" principle, enterprises are charged for storage of industrial waste depending on their type (there are 4 categories) and volume and they pay fines for non-compliance with the environmental protection conditions.

In 1994, the "National Environmental Policy implementation programme through the year 2000" was prepared which determined investment and non-investment tasks serving for realisation of medium-term priorities. With regard to hazardous waste it called for the construction of regional plants for the treatment of industrial waste and for the organization of regional systems for the treatment of hospital waste (incinerating plants).

The Waste Law and the Act on keeping cleanliness and order in communes were adopted by the Parliament in 1996. Draft executive acts to the Waste Act call for, inter alia, introduction of a new waste classification, model documents with regard to keeping inventories of waste and model documents used in international traffic of waste.

Activity in the area of hazardous waste monitoring is carried out by the State Environmental Protection Inspectorate. In 1993, an inventory of hazardous waste landfills was completed and a computerised data system on waste (SIGOP), run by the Waste Management Institute, was put in operation in all voivodships (provinces). A concept for the rating of hazardous waste landfills has been created. In 1996, a PCB inventory taking program commenced. The program of regional hospital waste incinerating plants is being realised. In 1995, a "Burial grounds liquidation programme" was prepared for the overdue storage sites for plant protection chemicals. Within the framework of the PHARE program, "The program of waste management of the waste hazardous to Poland" is in preparation. The reclamation of degraded land of former military bases of the Russian Federation is in progress . The building of a "Regional system of industrial and hazardous waste management" for voivodships (provinces) in South-Eastern Poland has been commenced.

In progress is the work on a comprehensive recycling system for, inter alia, wasted oils, accumulators and batteries. In realisation is the "cleaner production" program, pilot projects have been implemented in over 200 enterprises. "Good management" practices are being promoted in industry. Technological changes introduced focus mainly on use of waste as secondary raw materials and on modernisation of technology allowing reduction of hazardous waste volume.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: At the central level the main organ responsible for implementation of ecological policy in the area of waste management is the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry which exercises supervision over the activity of its subordinate units (State Environmental Protection Inspectorate, scientific-research institutes). To a lesser extent responsibility for waste management rests also with:

- Ministry of Physical Planning and Building (waste storage, physical planning),

- Ministry of Industry and Trade (restructuring of the industry, low-waste and non-waste technologies),

- Ministry of Agriculture and Food Economy (restructuring of agriculture, low-waste technologies),

- Ministry of Transportation and Maritime Economy (protection of the Baltic sea, transportation of hazardous materials),

- Ministry of Internal Affairs (technical and chemical rescue services. industrial and transportation accidents),

- voivodship (provincial) Environmental Protection sections and in local (territorial) self-government (in communes).

The main control organ is the State Environmental Protection Inspectorate which also runs the state environmental monitoring. The Chief Environmental Protection Inspector is the "competent authority" for transboundary traffic in waste and hazardous waste management in the meaning of the Basel Convention.

The main legal acts (chronologically):

- environmental protection and development act of 1980 (with subsequent amendments),

- territorial self-government act (1990),

- the order on compilation of hazardous waste list (1993),

- physical development act (1994),

- the order on determination of the type of investments hazardous to the environment and human health and on environmental impact evaluation,

- the cultivable plants protection act (1995),

- the order on the charges for the economic use of the environment and effecting changes therein (1995).

- the order on the amount and the procedures of levying fines for non-compliance with the requirements of environmental protection and coefficients diversifying the amounts thereof (1995).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

- draft acts:

a. draft waste act,

b. draft act on maintaining cleanliness and order in communities;

- realisation of "Cleaner production" program;

- appointment of the Commission for Sustainable Development in 1994;

- establishment of the Chemical Industry Ecological Management Centre;

- establishment of the Engineering and Technology agency in 1996 (data bank on technologies, scientific-research work, technical and economic counselling, transfer of technologies and trade therein);- educational-cum-informational activity (training, seminars);

- research and development work;

- development of information background (data base on waste, dumping sites, low-waste technologies).

3. Major Groups: central and local authorities, parliamentary commissions, business groups, entrepreneurs' associations, ecological organizations and foundations (Polish Ecological Club), scientific and technical associations (Chief Technical Organizations), scientific and research units.

4. Finance: In effect are the charges for hazardous waste storage and the fines for infringement of environmental protection regulations. There are planned product charges for products creating environmental nuisance and tax exemptions for secondary use of waste and raw materials recovery. Lacking is detailed data on the national scale expenditures or expected outlays for safe management of hazardous waste.

Cross-Sectoral Issues (Cont'd)

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Poland's international cooperation manifests itself mainly in meeting the country's commitments resulting from conventions and international agreements in the area of environmental protection against waste, including hazardous wastes. Poland participates actively in the OECD proceedings (within the framework of the Ecological Policy Committee, Waste Management Policy Group), the work and programs of the UN, inter alia of the ECE, UNEP, Council of Europe, the European Union's PHARE and the World Bank programs. Some examples:

- UN ECE seminar "Low-waste technologies and environmentally safe products" (1993),

- UNEP IIId World Seminar on Cleaner Production (1994),

- OECD Workshop on "Hazardous Waste Management in Light of the OECD Requirements" (1995),

- cooperation with Norway within the Cleaner Production Movement.

Latest 199-
Generation of hazardous waste (t)
Import of hazardous wastes (t)
Export of hazardous wastes (t)
Area of land contaminated by hazardous waste (km2)
Expenditure on hazardous waste treatment (US$)
Other data:

* hazardous waste produced annually (1994): 3.2 million tonnes

* economic use index: 67.4%

* rendering harmless index: 0.6%* storage index: 32%

* number of hazardous waste storage sites under control: 1812

* export of hazardous waste: 1246 tonnes/year


NATIONAL PRIORITY: The National Environmental Policy adopted in 1991 is a basic document for pro-environmental activities describing, inter alia, priorities in the field of waste management, based on strategy of sustainable development. These principles are as follows:

- minimisation of industrial waste production by implementation of non-waste or low-waste technologies (reconstruction of industry),

- increase of waste usage in the economy,

- creation of pre-selection and recycling systems for municipal waste and their composting,

- harmonisation of Polish environmental law with the European Union legislation.


Solid waste

Poland is among the group of European countries leading in the amount of produced and accumulated industrial waste. Almost half of the overall amount are mining wastes. Further, there are floatation failings, fly-ashes, slugs from heat and power stations, blast-furnace slugs and phosphogypsium.

A low level of economic reuse of solid waste (54.5% in 1995, increase of economic reuse of solid waste during 1990-95 only by 1%) as well as a marginal range of other forms of waste utilisation (0.2%) causes increase of the volume of solid waste accumulated in the environment: in 1995 almost 2,000 million tonnes of solid waste were accumulated (during 1990-95 increase by 2%). Also, the situation of municipal waste management is not satisfactory. Only 55% of the population is served by cleaning services which results in "wild" waste dumps. Their number was estimated at 10,000 in 1995. There is a growing problem with packaging materials that create waste.

There is no separate legal act devoted to waste. General principles of waste management describes the Act on Protection and Shaping of the Environment, that has been amended several times, and a few other acts. Principles of import, export and transit of waste have been described in details. According to the Act on Local Government, the district is responsible for ensuring organisational and technical conditions for the protection of the environment against waste and for maintenance of cleanliness. The Law on maintaining cleanliness and order in communities does not cover satisfactorily the problem of municipal and other solid waste management. According to the "polluter pays" principle producers of waste are obliged to pay for waste disposal and to pay fines for non-compliance with environmental protection conditions.

The "National Environmental Policy Implementation Programme through the year 2000" calls for the following investment tasks with regard to municipal waste: construction of several incineration and composting plants, regional and local dumping sites and implementation of selective waste collection. Installations are being anticipated in mines for the disposal of waste from mining and power plants, as well as installations for binding of saline mine water with fly-ashes from power plants. There are ongoing activities under the programme to use waste for road and highway construction. The basic elements of municipal waste management were accepted in the 1996 guidance document "Municipal Policy Assumptions".

There are ongoing activities on comprehensive recovery systems for waste paper, rubber waste, plastics, glass and aluminum cans. Efforts are being made to introduce selective waste collection and recycling. A "Study on possibilities for regionalisation of management of waste from health service entities" was prepared in 1995, which assumes the construction of about 20 combustion plants for these waste.

Activities in the field of monitoring are implemented by the State Inspection of Environmental Protection. The electronic data system on waste (SIGOP), managed by the Institute of Waste Management, was implemented in all provinces.

On the final legislative stages are the draft Waste Law. These acts cover, among others, issues of packaging management, usage, utilisation, combustion, composting and safe disposal of waste. Designed executive regulations concern, among others, patterns of the documents for waste inventories. Introducing the "green waste list" is envisaged. The list includes waste which does not require a license for import.

There are ongoing activities on the reclamation of degraded areas of former military basis' of the Russian Federation. Restructuring of industry covers the introduction of low-waste technologies and higher use of waste as a recyclable material. The "cleaner production" programme is being implemented; in over 200 plants pilot projects have been implemented.

Status Report (Cont'd)

Waste water

In 1995, almost 10 million m3 of waste water were discharged into surface water, including about 7 million m3 of cooling water. During the period 1990-95 the quantity of waste water discharged into water bodies was decreased by 14% as a result both of transformation and recession of economy and effective implementation of the polluter pays principle.

Of the total quantity of waste water which require treatment (3 million m3), biological or equivalent treatment is applied to about 47%, while 23% is discharged without any treatment. Municipal waste water constitutes 42% of the total waste water which require treatment, half of it is subject to biological treatment.

Serious problems result from municipal waste water from towns with over 100,000 inhabitants which constitute almost 60% of the total quantity of municipal waste water and only 13% undergoes biological treatment.

A very clear development has been achieved in construction of waste water treatment plants in municipalities with less than 100,000 inhabitants.

From 1991-94, 1,303 waste water treatment plants were completed with a total capacity of 2.8 million m3/day, which significantly influences the improvement of the state of water purity.

Among 334 waste water treatment plants completed in 1994, 34 have been constructed with significant financial support of EcoFund in provinces over the Baltic Sea. In Poland, a licensing system is functioning for all waste water discharges and fees for waste water discharge are being collected, which are progressively growing depending on the harmfulness for the water environment.

Saline mine waters from hard coal mines located in the upper courses of Vistula and Oder rivers constitute a serious problem.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

At the central level the main body responsible for environmental policy implementation, including protection of the environment against waste is the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry. The State Inspectorate of Environmental Protection is the main executive body subordinated to this Ministry. Responsible for waste management are also:

- the Ministry of Physical Planning and Building (communal sewage, waste),

- the Ministry of Industry and Trade (reconstruction of industry, "cleaner production"),

- the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Management (sewage and rural waste),

- provincial Divisions of Environmental Protection and local governments (in communes).

Important legal acts (chronologically):

- the Act on Protection and Shaping of the Environment(1980 with amendments),

- the executive regulation on protection of environment against waste and other pollution and maintenance of cleanliness and order in towns and villages (1980),

- the Act on Local Government (1990),

- the Act on Physical Development (1994),

- the executive regulation on determination of the types of investments harmful for the environment and human health and on assessment of environmental impact (1995),

- the executive regulation on fees for economic use of environment and introducing changes to the environment (1995),

- the executive regulation on the level, principles and procedure for imposing monetary fines for non-compliance with environmental requirements and indexes differentiating the level of monetary fees (1995).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

- designed acts:

a. the Waste Law,

b. the Act on maintenance of cleanliness and order in communities;

- development of the Cleaner Production Movement; promotion of packaging for multiple use and sorting of waste;

- creation of the Agency for Technique and Technology in 1996 (data bases on technologies, research studies, technical and economic consulting, transfer and trade in technologies);

- creation of the Commission for Sustainable Development in 1994;

- educational and information activities (training, seminars)

- creation of information background (data basis on waste, disposal sites, low-waste technologies);

- development of the state environmental monitoring system;

- research and development studies;

3. Major Groups: local and central authorities, parliamentary commissions, business groups, associations of entrepreneurs, environmental organisations and foundations (the Polish Environmental Club, the Foundation "Clean Water"), the Union of Polish Metropolities, technical and scientific associations, scientific research studies (institutes)

4. Finance: The "polluter pays" principle is in force, according to which fees are collected for waste disposal and fines for violation of environmental protection provisions. Lack of detailed data, on the national scale, on expenditures and expected outlays.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: International co-operation of Poland shown mostly in the implementation of Polish commitments resulting from conventions and international agreements in the field of protection of the environment against waste. Poland actively participates in the work of OECD (in the framework of the Committee for Environmental Policy, the Group for Waste Management Policy), the UN bodies and programmes, e.g. ECE, UNEP, in the activities of the Council of Europe, the European Union, in the PHARE and the World Bank programmes. The following are the examples:- UN EKG seminar "Low waste technologies and environmentally safe products" (1993),- the III World UNEP seminar on Cleaner Production (1994)- co-operation with Norway in the framework of Cleaner Production Movement.

Latest 199-
Generation of industrial and municipal waste (t)
Waste disposed(Kg/capita)
Expenditure on waste collection and treatment (US$)
Waste recycling rates (%)
Municipal waste disposal (Kg/capita)
Waste reduction rates per unit of GDP (t/year)
Other data

Industrial waste (1994):

* produced through the year: 120.9 million tons

* economic usage indicator: 54.3 %

* utilisation indicator: 0.4%

* disposal indicator: 45.3%

* industrial disposal sites area: about 1.8 billion tons

* accumulation of industrial waste in the sites indicator: 5,986 tons/km2

Municipal waste (1994):

* produced through the year: about 14.5 million tons

* composted: 114,000 tons

* incinerated: 430 tons

* municipal waste production indicator per capita (1992): 368 kg/ca

* the area of the municipal waste sites: 3.100 hectares

* accumulation of municipal waste in the dumping sites indicator: 135 m3/km2

Waste water (1994)

* produced during the year: 7 million m3

* requiring treatment: 3 million m3

* index of treatment with the use of biological or equivalent methods: 47%


STATUS REPORT: In Poland, the problem of radioactive waste is of minor importance due to the lack of nuclear power plants.

The rules of classification and treatment of radioactive waste are determined by the Executive Regulation of the President of the State Atomic Agency of 19 May 1989 on the guidelines for classification of radioactive waste, their evaluation and recording, as well as conditions of their neutralisation, storage and dumping (MP 1989, No 18, item 125).

Radioactive waste have been divided into several groups:

* beta and gamma radioactive:

- low activity

- medium activity

- high activity

* alpha radioactive

* used up, closed radioactive sources.

The general supervision over radioactive materials used and transported through Poland belongs to the Chief Inspector of Radiological Inspection Central Laboratory of Radiological Protection (CLOR). The laboratory carries records and controls of the radioactive material, dosimetric measurements, calibration of instruments and equipment, radiochemical analysis and training necessary to obtain a license to work with radioactive materials. The Radioactive Contamination Measurement Service is located in CLOR, which conducts measures towards radioactive fallout (air, water, soil, plants) through the network of measurement units.

An organised nuclear waste dump is being operated.

The State System of Environmental Monitoring is capable to detect early radioactive contamination. The Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection issues daily announcements on the radiological situation.

The State Atomic Agency elaborates the "screenplay" of activities in case of radiological emergency.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Principles of handling radioactive materials (buying, transport, storage, disposal, neutralisation) are determined through the Act of 10 April 1986 on the Nuclear Law (Dz.U. 1986, No 12, item. 70) and its executive regulations. These regulations establish conditions under which buying and possessing of radioactive material is possible, as well as their storage, transport (incl. transit), conditions for location, construction and supervision of nuclear building structures, laboratories and institutions using radioactive material etc.

The executive order of the Chief of the State Atomic Agency of 25 February 1988 on export, import and transport of nuclear materials across the Polish territory, radioactive sources and devices containing such sources (Monitor Polski 1988, No 9, item. 82) bans transportation of radioactive waste produced abroad except of materials derived from treatment of the Polish nuclear materials and radioactive sources.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Radioactive wastes are subject to solidification process (liquid) or fixation (solid) after their concentration (liquid - inorganic sorbent treatment method, solid - compression). Transformed into a proper shape of a solid body, wastes are placed into a container, the most often into a steel drum, zinc-plated, of 200 liter capacity. In case of higher radio-activity, wastes are placed into radiation shield containers. Radioactive wastes are disposed to the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Site in Róan.

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: Activity connected with neutralisation and disposal of radioactive waste is financed from sources, which are partly covered by waste producers (health service, industry, science), and partly by the state budget in the form of donations (the executive order of the Council of Ministers of 6.12.1994, Dz.U. on the kinds and scope of activity connected with a safe use of nuclear energy and financed from the state budget as well as detailed principles and procedure of co-financing; O.J. No 131 item 661).

5. Regional/International Cooperation: No information


Electronic database on radioactive waste from all over the country, prepared for final or temporary deposition (data since 1961).

Database is updated continually.

Database owner and administrator: the Radioactive Waste Utilisation Pilot Plant - the Institute of Atomic Energy.


The role of major groups are also covered under the various chapters of Agenda 21. The following is a summary of main objectives outlined in Agenda 21. Please check the appropriate boxes and describe briefly any important steps or obstacles.



The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed on 29th May 1980 and ratified on 30th July 1980.

24.b Increasing the proportion of women decision makers.

From 1992 to 1996, the percentage of women in government increased from 4.7% to 4.8%, in parliament, their percentage increased from 9.1% to 13.0 and at the local government level it increased from 11,0 to 13,2%.

24.2.e assessing, reviewing, revising and implementing curricula and other educational material with a view to promoting dissemination of gender-relevant knowledge.

Curricula and educational material have not been revised yet.

24.2.f and 24.2.c formulating and implementing policies, guidelines, strategies and plans for achievement of equality in all aspects of society including issuing a strategy by year 2000 to eliminate obstacles to full participation of women in sustainable development.

Policies/strategies etc. have been drawn up and completed.

24.2.d establishing mechanisms by 1995 to assess implementation and impact of development and environment policies and programmes on women

Mechanisms are being developed.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): For ten years the Plenipotentiary of Government on Family and Women has formally applied to the Ministry of National Education with a proposal to correct the school handbooks according to the requirements of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Non-Governmental organisations have reviewed information covered in handbooks for classes I-IV of primary schools. Training materials which aim to increase awareness on women's matters and protect them are being issued in a non-institutionalised way, sporadically and occasionally.

In 1996, the "National Action Programme for Women up to the year 2000" was elaborated in accordance with the specificity of the Polish conditions, and on the basis of the the final document of the UN IVth World Conference on Women, the objectives mentioned in the Polish Report to this Conference and the recommendations for the action programme, which were considered as the most important by the Council of Ministers.

There is no system of institutions to examine the situation of women in society, policy and economy, mostly because there is in fact no discrimination of women in work, access to science as well as to take posts. In the future the research institutions will include the assessment of the adopted strategy and its impact on the role of women.



25.4 establishing processes that promote dialogue between the youth and government at all levels and mechanisms that permit youth access to information and opportunity to present their views on implementing A21.

Name relevant youth fora (3-4 most important):

1. the Green Federation

2. the Interuniversity Environmental Lobby

3. the Scout Movement for Environmental Protection of the Saint Francis

4. the League of Nature Conservation

These organisations participate on an ad-hoc basis in the national process.

25.6 reducing youth unemployment

Youth unemployment: In December 1992, 867,700 persons of age 15 to 24 were unemployed (34,6% of total unemployed), in 1996, 819,900 persons of this age group were unemployed (32.7% total unemployed).

25.5 ensuring that by year 2000 more than 50% of youth -- gender balanced -- have access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training.

The goal set in Agenda 21 has been reached.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): Youth, through non-governmental organisations, participates in preparing opinions on drafts of strategies or programmes. Environmental education of youth takes place mostly through informal education. For children and youth various types of events are being organised (environmental knowledge contests, Earth's Day, Cleaning of the World), and educational TV-programmes, publications and educational inserts in newspapers regarding the state and protection of the environment are being prepared. The ordinance of the Minister of National Education of 1992 provides for the possibility to create environmental profiles in secondary schools. The ordinance of the Minister of National Education of 1993 introduced the obligatory subject "protection and management of the environment" to professional schools. The "Polish Strategy for Environmental Education", which is now being evaluated, anticipates, during the course of general education in primary and secondary schools, the separation of three interdisciplinary paths: education for health, social education and environmental education. One of the basic targets of the strategy is to create a national information system on the state of the environment available for the entire society, and to create methodological and information centres for non-governmental organisations.

The government undertakes measures to limit and eliminate causes of unemployment of youth. The programme "Promotion of youth professional activity" concentrates on approximation of youth education to the needs of the labour market and assisting them in making decisions on education and employment. The so-called prize for activity programme is addressed to young people finishing schools, giving financial support to activities increasing their chances for employment. In the framework of "the Settlement Program", addressed especially to agricultural school graduates, the establishment of large family farms on uncultivated lands is envisaged.



26.3.a establishing a process to empower indigenous people and their communities -- through policies and legal instruments:

Policies and legal instruments are not in place.

26.3.b strengthening arrangements for active participation in national policies

Indigenous people participate on an ad hoc basis.

26.3.c involving indigenous people in resource management strategies and programmes at the national and local level.

Mechanisms for their involvement are being discussed.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): In Poland, the problem of ethnic groups is marginal although there are minorities which are treated in accordance with the international law (own schooling, representation in Parliament, etc.)

A few dozen years of the centralised management system have resulted in the social disintegration of communities and aversion to undertake common activities. A formal basis to facilitating overcoming these barriers no longer exist, but the process of organising local societies will be long-lasting. In the programme for improvement of functioning of human settlements and their sustainable development, the necessity to create conditions for enlargement of the local societies' role in creation and implementation of development policies and programmes is being emphasised and concrete solutions are being proposed.


27.5 developing mechanisms that allow NGOs to play their partnership role responsibly and effectively.

27.6 reviewing formal procedures and mechanisms to involve NGOs in decision making and implementation.

27.8 promoting and allowing NGOs to participate in the conception, establishment and evaluation of official mechanisms to review Agenda 21 implementation.

Mechanisms exist already and further mechanisms are planned for 1998. NGO inputs are rated important.

27.7 establishing a mutually productive dialogue by 1995 at the national level between NGOs and governments.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): Non-Governmental organisations participate in the process of assessment of draft strategies, programmes and policies. Currently the work is ongoing on the development of a system of constant co-operation of the government with the environmental movement and to solve legal, organisational and financial problems. An outline of the system is being worked out by the group of the authors of the report entitled "Co-operation between Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry and non-governmental environmental organisations". Supervision of work is performed by the mixed commission, consisting of the Ministry of the Environment and NGOs representatives. The extent of the project has not yet been determined, but it is postulated to establish co-operation at all levels of the state administration.

The Government co-operates with Non-Governmental Organisations in the field of social services through the Regional Centres of Support for Non-Governmental Organisations.(5)



28.2.d encouraging local authorities to implement and monitor programmes that aim to ensure participation of women and youth in local decision making.

There are at least 11 local agendas 21. The Government plans to support local agenda 21 initiatives.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): During the last years some activities have been undertaken propagating the idea of establishing local Agendas 21. In 1993, local authorities received information materials on how to prepare sustainable development programmes for districts. In order to stimulate the social activity for sustainable development of the country, in 1994, under the protectorate of President Lech Walesa, the Office of the President and provincial offices organised a contest for the best environmental community in Poland. In 1995, the "Methodological guidelines and directions for elaborating provincial programs for environmental protection" were prepared by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, with sustainable development as the guiding principle. The document includes guidelines for governmental administration services to prepare provincial programmes of environmental protection till the year 2001 at least.

However, the scarce actions for the creation of sustainable development programmes for communities in Poland are initiated exclusively by local authorities supported by Polish and foreign non-governmental organisations. The first attempts of establishing local Agendas 21 have been started in the Katowice agglomeration (13 districts), in seven provinces of the Pomeranian region (8 districts), in Radom and Elk, Warsaw and the Jelenia Góra voivodship.


29.2 full participation of workers in implementation and evaluation of A21.

29.3 a to e (By year 2000, (a) promoting ratification of ILO conventions; (b) establishing bipartite and tripartite mechanism on safety, health and sustainable development; (c) increasing number of environmental collective agreements; (d) reducing occupational accidents and injuries; (e) increasing workers' education and training efforts.

Workers do not yet participate in National Agenda 21 discussions/implementation.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): Poland ratified ILO Conventions on involving the trade unions and employers in the process of trilateral dialogue: Convention No 87 on freedom of unions and protection of union rights, Convention No 98 on applying rules of the right to organised and collective negotiations, Convention No 144 on trilateral consultations in the scope of putting into force the international standards on work.

Different forms of social dialogue of trilateral organisations, involving trade unions and employers into the process of social and economic decision making, became more common. In the framework of these consultations decisions regarding work environment, workers training, social service and environmental protection are being made.

During the recent years the number of accidents at work decreased. The number of accidents causing heavy injuries decreased significantly, while the number of light injuries increased.

It is more and more common for workers to participate in various types of courses and training for upgrading their qualifications.



30.6 increasing the efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output.

There are governmental policies encouraging the above objective.

30.18.a encouraging the concept of stewardship in management and use of natural resources by entrepreneurs.

List any actions taken in this area:

- "Cleaner Production" programme, implemented under the patronage of the Minister of Industry and Trade, and promoting development and implementation of new technologies and environmental solutions, consistent with the principle of cleaner production for various branches of the economy.

- Establishment of the Centre of Environmental Management in Chemical Industry. The Centre, in co-operation with the Polish Chemical Industry Chamber and CEFIC, leads a programme "responsibility and care", which means a gradual modernisation of a plant leading to energy savings, reduction of waste and sewage production and emission reduction.

- Establishment of the Polish Council of Sustainable Development composed of the representatives of economic and financial groups which promotes the concept of sustainable development as well as initiates and finances activities for environmental protection.

- Introduction of global and European quality standards - ISO 9000 to the management of industrial plant and preparation to the introduction of ISO 14000 standards and EMAS.

- Carrying the work on determination of quality requirements for sewage from particular industries.

- Labelling of machines and appliances saving energy.

- Introduction of an excise tax for plastic packagings and a tax exemption for the returnable packagings.

- Applying fees for economic use of the environment and for environmental pollution.

30.18.b increasing number of enterprises that subscribe to and implement sustainable development policies.

Three big enterprises and a few small and medium sized enterprises have adopted sustainable development policies.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The number of enterprises accepting and implementing the policy of sustainable development has increased. During the five years in the framework of the Polish-Norwegian program of Cleaner Production, 435 pilot projects have been carried out and implemented. In 1996, during the IInd National Assembly of the Cleaner Production Movement, 63 enterprises obtained "Certificates of cleaner production".



31.3.b improving exchange of knowledge and concerns between s&t community and the general public.

There is some effort in this direction: implementation of courses and training, participation in meetings, conferences and symposia, edition of publications

31.9 developing, improving and promoting international acceptance of codes of practice and guidelines related to science and technology and its role in reconciling environment and development.

Brief comments on this chapter not already described in chapter 35 (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Scientific Community is involved in formal and informal education of the society. The Federation of Scientific and Technical Associations and the Polish Centre of Cleaner Production conduct the Polish-Norwegian program of Cleaner Production. Since 1991, 27 editions of training have been carried out, preparing engineers to work out and implement projects leading to waste minimisation in production.

Training for teachers from primary and other schools is being organised. Scientific personnel participates in meetings with representatives of youth and local authorities. The idea of sustainable development is being promoted through press articles and publications ("Rio: beginning of the environmental era - Earth Summit", "Earth Summit, Global Action Programme")


32.5.c promoting and encouraging sustainable farming practices and technologies.

32.5.e developing a policy framework that provides incentives and motivation among farmers for sustainable and efficient farming practices.

32.5.f enhancing participation of organizations of farmers in design and implementation of sustainable development policies.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Act on agricultural chambers creates the opportunity of rank-and-file organising the agricultural community for finding common solutions to economic and professional problems. The tasks of agricultural chambers at the provincial level include: applying to governmental administration and local authority bodies with initiatives regarding legal regulations, advise within the sphere of agricultural activity, undertaking actions in favour of the development of agricultural infrastructure and improvement of the agrarian structure, leading actions in favour of increasing the quality of equipment and chemicals and in favour of improvement of work and safety conditions in agriculture, co-operation with agricultural schools, initiating changes in educational programmes and co-organization of training practices, shaping awareness of agricultural producers, acting in favour of improvement of the quality of agricultural products.

Certain measures are being undertaken for the promotion of environmental farms (access to low rate credits).


Financial resources and mechanisms are also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national financial policies, domestic and external (including ODA)

NATIONAL PRIORITY: Public financial resources should be primarily channelled to:

- protection and development of valuable natural areas,

- reclamation of degraded resources,

- abatement of gas and particulate emissions into the air,

- water protection because of its growing deficit and the need to provide healthy and safe drinking water,

- putting in order the system for dumping and utilisation of solid waste.

STATUS REPORT: In Poland, half of the financial resources for environmental protection comes from enterprises, local governments and societies (among others from bank credits) and half comes from the Integrated System of Financing Environmental Protection and from the state budget.

This System consists of:

- the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management, replenished by the resources coming from fees for using the environment and fines for infringement of the conditions granted in licenses (permits) by the users of the environment, including provincial and communal funds,

- the Bank of Environmental Protection, with NF, mentioned above, as the main shareholder,

- the "EcoFund" Foundation, managing financial resources from the swaps of the Polish external debt for supporting environmental protection activities. Until the 3rd quarter 1996, Poland signed agreements with USA (10%), France (1% of the debt) and Switzerland (10%% of the debt)

- other environmental foundations, administering mainly external funds of the European Union, the PHARE programme, the World Bank and funds from bilateral agreements between Poland and 11 other countries.

Financial resources for environmental protection from state budget, excluding EcoFund, amount to 5% and have been growing during the last years.

In the framework of the Integrated System of Financing Environmental Protection the loans with preferential interests, subsidies and grants for specific undertakings are granted, the share of financial resources from the Integrated System may cover even 70% of the value of the investment cost.

CHANGES IN NATIONAL BUDGET TO ADDRESS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Since 1989, when political, social and economic changes in Poland begun, the growth of investment expenditures for environmental protection has been noted, and their share in GDP increased from 0,5% in 1989 to 1% in 1993 and 1994.

The share of environmental investments from overall investment expenditures reached 6,3% in 1994. Since 1991, this share increased by 1,3%, and since 1993 it increased by 0,2%.

In 1994, 41% of expenditures came from environmental protection and water management funds, 31% from enterprises, 19% from communal budgets and society, 5% from the central budget, and 4% from foreign assistance.

The majority of investment expenditures (47%) was used for water protection, mostly for the construction of waste water treatment plants, 44% were spent for protection of the atmosphere, and 7% for waste management.

NEW ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS: Currently, in Poland the following economic instruments are in use:

- fees for particular use of the environment, such as disposal of waste water and water collection, emission of pollutants into the air, dumping of solid waste, including hazardous waste, use of natural resources e.g. geological concessions,

- fines for non-compliance with the conditions of permits (licenses) for emissions into the environment,

- release from administrative and custom charges,

- subsidies for environmental investments granted in various forms, among others, direct grants, grants for the reduction of interest rates of commercial credits or preferential loans,

- fees for water and energy supply,

- tax differentiation and excise tax on plastic packagings.

Introduction of "tradable permits", product charges, including fuel tax, environmental deposits and subsidies for cleaner technologies.

ELIMINATION OF ENVIRONMENTALLY UNFRIENDLY SUBSIDIES: Subsidies on fertilisers and pesticides were eliminated in 1990. However, some sectors harmful for the environment, such as coal mining, do not pay environmental fees because of economic problems, so, in fact they are subsidised by the state budget.

ODA policy issues

Poland receives financial assistance from the following:

World Bank




European Union










Great Britain

and credits of the World Bank, EIB and other banks guaranteed by the Polish Government

The United States of America agreed to transfer 10% of the amount of the Polish debt for environmental protection on the basis of intergovernmental activities of 17 July 1991. Moreover Poland and Finland have signed two agreements on cooperation in debts-for-nature swaps. The Finnish side determined the upper limit for these operations with 71.5 million FIM (amount of reduction to 13 million USD).

ODA funding provided or received (Total US$million)
Average for 92-93
Average for 94-96
Net flow of external capital from all sources as % of GDP
Other data:

Funding the environment Percentage

- environmental funds 58%

- Companies' own means 20%

- local communities' budgets 13%

- central budget 5%

- foreign aid 4%

Spending in the area of environment

- protection of water (particularly building sewage treatment systems) 47%

- protection of air 36%

- land management 16%

- protection of land 1%


Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building is also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national policies and actions relating to chapter 34.

NATIONAL PRIORITY: National priorities of technology transfer are determined by the National Environmental Policy and primarily address reductions of energy, water and material consumption in industrial production, modernisation and reconstruction of the existing energy sources, reduction of solid waste and the development of material recovery and recycling.
STATUS REPORT ON LINKS BETWEEN NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION NETWORKS/SYSTEMS: Transfer of environmentally friendly technologies and licenses for their introduction into the Polish economy have been implemented in order to reconstruct and modernise the economy, to upgrade its effectiveness, to reduce energy, water and material consumption and emissions of pollutants into the air and water, and to reduce waste generation.

Investments in technical equipment of industry are being developed.

In 1995, expenditures on industrial plants equipments increased by 132,3%, as compared to 1992.

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: The national industry policy, which among others proposes environmentally friendly production technologies, is determined by the following documents:

"Assumptions of industrial policy", adopted by the Council of Ministers in 1993,"Programme of the industrial policy for the years 1995-1997", adopted by the Economic Committee of the Council of Ministers in December 1994.

The national policy in this field focuses on:

- assistance in providing information and training in the field of modern, environmentally friendly technologies,

- implementation of programmes for compliance with the legislation and standards of the European Union including quality systems; e.g. Poland's system of certification of products with a safety label also addresses safety for the environment of products and technologies,

- introducing cleaner production principles into programmes of production and development, and in chemical industry also the programme "Responsibility and Care",

- introduction of voluntary eco-labeling,

- starting in 1996 activities in order to implement ISO 14000 standard in Poland, including the establishment of the association of unit promoting implementation of this standard and the EU regulation of 1993 on EMAS (Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) in enterprises on a voluntary basis.

Since 1994, the Polish National Agency for Energy Saving promotes efficient use of energy, particularly in small enterprises, and implements projects in this field.

In 1996, the Polish Parliament enacted the law on establishment of the Agency of Technique and Technology. The Agency started activities for implementation of the state policy on the use of new techniques and technologies, including, among others, the following:

- promotion and support of implementation of modern, including environmentally friendly techniques and technologies, particularly for small and medium enterprises,

- commercialisation of the results applied,

- participation in implementation of governmental programmes covering development and the use of the new, environmentally safe technologies,

- development of proposals in order to stimulate innovative activity of economic entities.

Implementation of environmentally friendly technologies is financially supported by the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management. This Fund, together with the Bank of Environmental Protection, has established special credit lines supporting the implementation of energy saving production technologies, savings in housing development, etc.

EcoFund supports transfer of technologies and techniques for the use of non-conventional renewable energy sources. EcoFund constitutes an example of integration of environmental and financial policy of the state because it is a unit administered and financed jointly by the Minister of Finance and Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry.


Foreign assistance has been largely used for the transfer of technology, including 14% for training in this field, 12% for purchase of ready technical solutions for environmental protection ("end of pipe" technologies), 8% for development of promotion programmes and projects, and 3% for purchase of licenses. UNDP and ECE have transmitted information and convened training on the best available technologies for implementation of the obligations resulting from the "Convention on transboundary air pollution on long distances". Particularly active in this field were Japan, Germany and Sweden. Poland in cooperation with international organisations undertook work for the transfer of environmental technologies to the countries of Central Europe.

Describe any work being undertaken at the national or local level regarding efforts to promote clean production processes and/or the concepts of eco-efficiency. These processes may include training, preferential financial arrangements, information dissemination and changes in legal or regulatory frameworks.

Activities as well as economic and educational instruments have been implemented promoting reduction of water and energy use. The Agency for Energy Efficiency was established in 1994 and implements activities in this field. The Centre for Testing and Certification undertook work on introducing voluntary eco-labeling.

The Bank of Environmental Protection grants preferential credits for projects promoting energy efficiency both in industry and in housing.

Provide information on the adoption of environmental management systems. National reaction to environmental management system standards such as the ISO 14000 Series and others. Please note efforts made at the national level to promote their adoption and the creation of certification infrastructure in order to facilitate access to these standards to local industry.

The introduction of ISO 14000 into the Polish standard system was initiated. The Centre for Testing and Certification established an association of enterprises and institutions interested in the implementation of the ISO 14000 standards and the EMAS systems.

The first Polish enterprises that have undertaken activities in order to implement this system, the Ostrowiec and Czestochowa Steel Mills and ABB Zamech obtained a certificate according to the British standards.

List and describe programs or work under way to facilitate the transfer of ESTs to small and medium sized enterprises. Please note efforts to facilitate access to financial resources and other transfer strategies.

The Agency for Technique and Technology is in charge of transfer of environmentally friendly technology to small enterprises.

Initiated by the Government of Norway, the Cleaner Production Programme is operational in over 200 enterprises in Poland. In the chemical industry the system "Responsibility and Care" is being implemented. The Institute of Environmental Protection operates a data base on environmentally friendly technologies and cleaning technologies (end of pipe).


NATIONAL PRIORITY: The National Environmental Policy (1991) mentions scientific research as one of the tools of environmental policy, implemented through:

- Support for scientific studies facilitating the implementation of sustainable development principles. This research should identify the present and future environmental and human health threats and propose solutions along with the methods of implementation. It is necessary to give these studies an interdisciplinary character.

- General support should be given to studies on identification of mechanisms of nature functioning and sensibility to the neighbourhood of degraded areas. This regards also research on restoration of disturbed environmental balance, reclamation and conservation of nature, including particularly forests.

- Support for research connected with spatial construction of nature.

- Economic impact of the state on strengthening of important technical-economic directions of research important from an environmental point of view.

A resolution of the Parliament on sustainable development policy (1995) and a parliamentary debate on this resolution identified that it is necessary to work out an effective system to support science for sustainable development, introducing competitive elements to scientific studies and designing activities for environmental protection.

STATUS REPORT ON NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, RESEARCH NEEDS AND PRIORITIES: Support is given to scientific studies related to the environment and aimed at the promotion of knowledge in this field. General support will also be granted to basic research on the most environmentally degraded areas, restoration of environmental balance in degraded areas, reclamation, protection of nature (particularly forests) as well as to regional studies.

The Committee of Scientific Research identified the preferred directions of research and implements the principles of scientific policy determined in the following documents that were accepted by the Council of Ministers:

- Assumptions of scientific and technical policy of the state (1993),

- Preferable trends for scientific studies and development activities to increase the innovation potential of the Polish economy (1996).

Environmental protection found its privileged place in both documents, and the trends formulated are compatible with the guidelines of Agenda 21, especially covering the tasks of science for sustainable development, enumerated in four points of chapter 35.


Among proposed trends several were taken into consideration:

- Studies and forecast regarding social and economic processes, with regard to interaction of market mechanisms and policy of the state;

- Scientific studies regarding information and monitoring systems for the needs of physical management, management of natural resources and fixed assets, environmental protection, public administration, statistics and science;

- Initiating and supporting the research preceding current needs, preventing threats for society and state resulting from international obligations.

Improvement of scientific interpretations

Among proposed trends several were taken into consideration:

- Development of information infrastructure and national databases;

- Development of activities concerning electronic systems of collection, processing, transmission and making information available with particular regard to network systems, using complex transmission of data.

Improvement of long-term predictions Among preferred trends the following were taken into consideration:

- Studies on long-term concepts of the development of the country, with consideration to external and internal circumstances, using simulation models;

- Scientific studies important for the development of the country, especially in the long-term perspective and development of activities in the field of forecasting economic development, energy needs and requirements of environmental protection;

- Scientific studies regarding strategic planning and management in the light of the global challenges and development conditions.

Building of capacity and capability of science Among preferred trends the following were taken into consideration:

- Scientific studies on scientific, technical and innovation policy of the state;

- Concepts of modern education for the Polish society from the point of view of evolution of its structure and awareness;

- Financing investments connected with priority studies, as well as with international cooperation.

Number of scientists, engineers and technicians engaged in research and experimental development
Total expenditure for research and experimental development (US$eq.)

(million PLN)

*-state budget expenditures





Other data

Research on environmental protection is conducted in 6 state scientific institutions and experimental units supervised by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry. These are: The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, the Institute of Environmental Protection, the State Geological Institute, the Research Institute of Forestry, the Institute of Ecology of Industrial Areas and the Experimental Centre of Geological Technology.

Furthermore, there are entities of other sectors conducting large scale research on environmental protection: the Polish Academy of Science: Institute of Ecology, Nature Protection Institute, Institute of Environmental Engineering, International Centre for Ecology; and the Institute of Waste Management, universities, the Experimental Centre for Urban Ecology, the Experimental Centre for Municipal Management.

Financing of scientific research and studies on environmental protection primarily comes from the following sources: the Committee of Scientific Research, ministerial sources, the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management, the State Forest Farm "State Forests", territorial organs of state and local administration, numerous foundations, associations and enterprises.

Estimated share of particular sources in financing of scientific research and studies on environmental protection: KBN - 55-56% (statutory activity 25-35%, research projects 25-35%, general activity about 6%)

ministerial sources - about 10%

NFEPWM - about 15%

"State Forests" - about 2-4%

It is estimated that about 80% of the studies on environmental protection are financed by the state budget. The Committee of Scientific Research, established by the Law in 1992, administers budgetary funds.

In 1996 funds administrated by CSR included:

- for protection of the environment about 60 million PLN (financing or co-financing of statutory activity of scientific and experimental units and research conducted by universities);

- financing of research projects (grants) - about 37 million PLN;

- research on seas and climate change (financing of polar stations research ships) - about 5 million PLN;Resources of the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management allocated to scientific works and experiments - 10 million PLN.


STATUS REPORT: The National Environmental Policy emphasizes the importance of environmental education aimed at changing society's attitude towards the environment and raising public awareness. Activities in this field cover:

* formal education, through creation of an ecological education system on all levels of teaching in different types of schools by including environmental issues into obligatory subjects and successive creation of a net of optional education;

* informal education, through cooperation with institutions and organizations dealing with environmental education.

Cooperation is being developed with mass media in the field of dissemination of information on environment and shaping of environment and health friendly behaviour of the society.

a) Reorientation of education towards sustainable development. In October 1996, the Polish Government accepted the document titled "Assumptions for long-term educational policy of the state with particular respect to the programme of higher level education", which identified tasks of schools. One of the main tasks at all educational levels will be shaping the "capability of rational functioning in natural and social environment".

b) Increasing public awareness. In cooperation with the Minister of National Education and the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, and with financial support from the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management and essential support from the British Environmental Know How Fund, work on the preparation of the National Strategy for Environmental Education was started. The first version of the document was presented for consultations in February 1996 (to about 400 entities dealing with environmental education). The document will be finalised in April 1997.

Non-governmental organisations have also been involved in the process of upgrading environmental awareness of the society. Environmental organisations or their representatives take part in activities initiated and implemented by MEPNRF aiming at upgrading environmental awareness and the development of programmes for environmental protection.

c) Promoting training. Training for teachers and other professionals has been reinforced. The Act on the education system calls on superintendents of schools to organise professional advanced training for public school teachers. Specialist training is conducted for public and local administration, managerial staff and other personnel of enterprises, journalists etc. There are various forms of training: courses, seminars, technical conferences, postgraduate and extramural studies.

ROLE OF MAJOR GROUPS: NGOs have been involved in programmes aiming at raising public awareness in the area of the environment. Representatives of these organizations keep up constant cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, they have access to documents, materials and information necessary to conduct their activities, and participate in the elaboration of programmes on environmental protection and arising public awareness.

FINANCING AND COST EVALUATION OF THE LABOUR ACTIVITIES: Financial resources for the above mentioned tasks are provided from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Environmental Protection, National Fund for Environmental Protection as well as voivodship and local funds of environmental protection. In 1995 amounts granted for environmental education reached 0.04% GDP.

Adult literacy rate (%) Male
Adult literacy rate (%) Female
% of primary school children reaching grade 5 (1986-97)
Mean number of years of schooling
% of GNP spent on education
Females per 100 males in secondary school
Women per 100 men in the labour force
Females per 100 males in secondary schools of general educations
Females per 100 males in secondary technical and vocational schools
% of GDP spent of education (basic and high level)


National capacity building is also covered under sectoral chapters.

Donors: You may wish to describe here how Agenda 21 has influenced your ODA policies in this area.

Developing countries: You may wish to describe any new national mechanisms for capacity building - and any changes in technical cooperation.

STATUS REPORT ON NATIONAL ENDOGENOUS CAPACITY BUILDING: At present there are no integrated structures dealing with Polish development assistance. Therefore it is correct to say that Poland has no organised development assistance - a situation which has to change in the light of Poland's accession to the OECD.

At present the organization of Polish development assistance is at an initial stage.

Consultations are being held within the governmental structures in order to set necessary guidelines for the creation of an integrated system, which allows the classification and monitoring of development assistance. The preparatory work is being conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with scientific and research institutes, the OECD Secretariat in the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, the Committee of Scientific Research (KBN) and the Main Statistical Office.

It is also necessary to launch more effective cooperation with non-governmental organizations in matters of development assistance.

It has also been recognised, that knowledge of ongoing activities on the part of Polish experts and volunteers in different United Nations programs and projects is insufficient and does not allow a fair calculation of Poland's engagement in international development assistance to the developing countries. Therefore steps are being taken to create a special roster of Polish experts working with UNIDO development assistance projects. This project is being prepared by the Warsaw UNIDO Office and the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations.

The basic tasks concerning the creation of a development assistance system for developing countries in Poland at the present moment are:

- creation of an integrated system of developing assistance monitoring and coordination;

- identification of areas in which Poland could offer development assistance;

- identification of Polish assistance capacity and potential;

- identification of developing countries' real needs;

- full utilisation of existing assistance capacities;

- enhancement of development assistance cooperation with non-governmental organizations and scientific institutions.


Ch. 38: Brief summary of any particular UN System response affecting this country/state:

Poland actively participated in the preparation and the debates in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development which was held in 1992, in Rio de Janeiro. The approval of the resolution 47/191 by the UN General Assembly and the establishment of the Commission on Sustainable Development has resulted in numerous specific activities in Poland including the new institutional structures which are succinctly described below:

1. As a follow-up to the said resolution 47/191, by decision of 28 October 1994 of the Prime Minister of Poland, the Polish Governmental Commission on Sustainable Development was established. It is a national institution whose structure is directly linked to the CSD in the United Nations. Acting under the chairmanship of the Minister for Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, the Polish Commission on Sustainable Development is at the moment the most important opinion making and advisory body of the Government of Poland on the implementation of long term strategies and programmes on sustainable development.

The Polish Commission on Sustainable Development has been addressing key problems of economic development in Poland, inter alia, agricultural policies together with the Government policy on agro-industries, transportation policies, chemical industries, cooperation of Poland with UNCSD and other programmes and organizations of the UN system etc. The Polish CSD consists of representatives of all ministries.

2. Poland has been a member of UNCSD from its very establishment and was re-elected for a second term in 1995. Furthermore, in 1996 Poland was elected for the third consecutive term as a member of the Governing Council of UNEP and a representative of Poland is a member of the GEF Council, representing a Central and Eastern European constituency in the GEF.

During the third session of the CSD in 1995, Poland was honoured by being selected to introduce, in an individual presentation, its own experiences in the protection of the environment, concerning both the finding of funds to finance specific projects and practical means to fight pollution. The presentation was found interesting by many members of the CSD.

3. Poland signed in Rio de Janeiro the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Poland ratified both Converntions and became a member in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Delegations from Poland actively participated in the dialogue and negotiation process, together with other OECD countries and the Group 77 and China, during the COPs. Furthermore, thanks to the stimulating debates in the last sessions of the CSD, Poland became a party to all other international conventions, particularly regional ones, in the wide intersectorial field of sustainable development. Realising the fact that pollution does not recognise any borders, Poland attaches great importance to regional cooperation in environmental protection. Implementing the CSD recommendations, Poland has concluded in the last few years mutually advantagous bilateral agreements with our direct and indirect neighbours in the field of environmental protection which make our regional cooperation particularly constructive and fruitful.


Ch. 39: International Legal Instruments are covered under the relevant sectoral chapters. This is a listing of major agreements/conventions (not already covered) entered into and relevant to Agenda 21:

Convention on road traffic (Geneva 1949), ratified in 1958;

Europe Agreement on International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR; Geneva, 1957), ratified in 1975;

Convention on Road Traffic (Vienna, 1968); ratified in 1984, and

Europe Agreement amending Convention (Geneva, 1971), ratified in 1984;

Convention on Intervention on the High Seas in Case of Oil Pollution Casualties (Brussels 1969), ratified in 1976;

Protocol on Intervention on the High Seas in Case of Oil Pollution Casualties (London 1973), ratified in 1983;

Convention on International Transport by Rail (COTIF; Bern, 1970), ratified in 1984;

Convention on the International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (Brussels, 1971), ratified 1988; and

London Protocol to Convention (London 1976), ratified in 1985;

Convention on Wetlands on International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitats (Paris 1982, ratified in 1984

Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Waste and Other Matter (London, Mexico, Moscow, Washington, 1972), ratified in 1979, supplementary protocol (London 1978);

Poland ratified the Convention with annexes I, II, III, IV, V and the Protocol with Annex I in 1986;

Convention on Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL; London, 1973);

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES; Washington, 1973), ratified in 1990;

Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn, 1979);

Agreement on Conservation of Bats in Europe;

Agreement on Conservation of Small Whales in the North and Baltic Sea, ratified in 1996;

Agreement on Conservation of the European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 1979), ratified in 1995;

Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (Vienna, 1986), ratified in 1988;

Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (Vienna, 1986), ratified in 1988;

Convention on Nuclear Safety (Vienna, 1994, ratified in 1995.


This chapter is also covered under sectoral and other chapters of this profile. The matrix below gives an overview of how national authorities rate the available information for decision making.

Rating of available data and information suitable for decision-making

Agenda 21 Chapters
Some good
data but
many gaps
2. International cooperation and trade
3. Combating poverty
4. Changing consumption patterns
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability
6. Human health
7. Human settlements
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making
9. Protection of the atmosphere
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources
11. Combating deforestation
12. Combating desertification and drought
13. Sustainable mountain development
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development
15. Conservation of biological diversity
16. Biotechnology
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources
18. Freshwater resources
19. Toxic chemicals
20. Hazardous wastes
21. Solid wastes
22. Radioactive wastes
24. Women in sustainable development
25. Children and youth
26. Indigenous people
27. Non-governmental organizations
28. Local authorities
29. Workers and trade unions
30. Business and industry
31. Scientific and technological community
32. Farmers
33. Financial resources and mechanisms
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building
35. Science for sustainable development
36. Education, public awareness and training
37. International cooperation for capacity-building
38. International institutional arrangements
39. International legal instruments
40. Information for decision-making

Additional Comments

No information

Number of telephones in use per 100 inhabitants
Other data

Home | Search | Parliament | Research | Governments | Regions | Issues

Copyright © United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Comments and suggestions:
1 November 1997