What role played Polish environmental NGOs in the air pollution policy during the transition to the EU? Was their role active? How was the interaction with government structures?
Polish environmental NGO's played a significant role in helping to form the air pollution policy during Poland's transition of the European Union. As stated in the literature review NGO's were responsible for bringing the dangers of air pollution to the forefront. As a result of their efforts new air pollution policies were developed.
As it relates more specifically to the role of NGO's and Poland's ascension to the European Union in the context of environmental policies, NGO's have been instrumental in implementing and enforcing the standards established by the European Union.
Non-Governmental Organizations acted as conduits through which Poland was assisted in meeting the environmental protection requirements of the European Union.
Some of the most influential NGO's included the Polish Ecological Club, the League for nature Protection, Eco Volunteers, Greeners, Pro-Natura, Institute of Sustainable Development, Green Federation, Ecological Association, and Ecological Office.
All of these organizations and others assisted in the development of policies and standards which eventually led to Poland's ability to ascend to the European Union. Although some of the older organizations, which no longer existed by the time Poland ascended to the European Union, they still played an instrumental role in insuring that Poland would have the ability to become a mameber state. In other words, the older organizations laid the foundation upon which the Polish government was able to build policies consistent with the environmental protections standards of the European Union.
Of the listed NGO's the Polish Ecological club displayed a considerable amount of influence as it pertains to assisting Poland in ascending to the European Union. The efforts of the Polish Ecological club is most evident in the development of plans associated with Sustainable rural development. Sustainable rural development is an intricate aspect of the European Union's ascension criteria for states that wish to become members.
The role of the aforementioned NGOs was quite active. These organizations organized and mobilized.
They played an instrumental role in educating the public concerning the need for environmental protection laws. They were also instrumental in developing strategies of punishment and reward for businesses. This was critical because for many years and specifically while the country was still under communist rule there was no reason for businesses to comply with environmental protection laws and policies. However, after the end of communist rule NGOs in Poland were able to establish policies that provided incentives for businesses that worked to reduced air pollution.
The reduction of carbon dioxide emissions was an outcome of the pressure that NGOs placed on the Polish government to provide incentives to businesses that act in ways that are environmentally friendly. This reduction in emissions is a chief cornerstone of the environmental protection plane established by the European Union. In this way NGOs played an instrumental role in the establishment of policies that benefited Poland and the nation's ascension to the European Union.
One of the most important roles of the environmental NGOs in Poland was the mobilizing of the Polish people. The NGOs in Poland made a concerted effort to educate and inform the public concerning the detrimental effects of air pollutions. These detrimental effects were presented as both harmful to the environment/people but also to the economy of Poland. In mobilizing the Polish people, the NGOs were able to place pressure on the government to change. Such changes led to Poland's ability to ascend to the European Union and to adhere to the environmental protection policies established by the European Union.
Another important NGO in Poland that assisted Poland in European Union ascension was the Institute for Sustainable Development. This particular program was actually created in 1991 by members of the Polish Ecological club. The organization is composed of people from differing disciplines including geographers and economists. These individuals work together to maintain coalitions with experts in the domestic and foreign spheres.
In addition the Institute for Sustainable Development was the first independent organization is Poland that studies that correlation between legislative, social and economic adjustments as it pertains environmental protection issues. According to one article
The Institute for Sustainable Development focuses its activities on economic, legislative, social and political issues. The Institute maintains close working relations with the Parliament and Governmental agencies (mainly with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry) and with local government authorities. In this field, ISD is a unique organization in Poland ("Institute for Sustainable development")."
The Institute for sustainable development is geared toward having an impact upon long-term economic and political decisions. The organization also works to establish sustainable development in Poland through the implementation of policies developed by international experts in the field ("Institute for Sustainable development"). The organization also aims to also implement institutional models in Poland via education about the environment and specially designed training ("Institute for Sustainable development").
Additionally the institute works to develop partnerships with other groups including movements, community organizations, government agencies, local government institutions and even industry ("Institute for Sustainable development"). These partnerships are designed to meet the following goals to develop resource materials such as reports, studies, evaluations, analyses, reviews, appraisals and maps to be used for the purposes of sustainable development in Poland, i.a. By way of facilitating decision making processes on various levels; to organize and participate in conferences, training sessions, courses, etc.; to provide publicity for sustainable development through the ISD publications and contacts with mass media representatives ("Institute for Sustainable development")."
Although environmental NGOs in Poland were instrumental in the establishment of standards ultimately leading to Poland's ascension to the European Union there were some initial problems between the NGOs and the Polish government. As was previously mentioned the NGOs served as a conduit through which policies were developed in collaboration with the central government. Much of the resistance came early on when the country was transitioning from a socialist economy to a free market economy. The resistance came in part because of a lack of understanding concerning the need for environmental protections.
However over the years and certainly in the years directly before and during Poland's quest for membership to the European Union NGOs and the government worked well together. The Polish government recognized the need to utilize Non-Governmental Organizations as they provided a source of knowledge concerning environmental issues. These organizations were composed of experts in the field of environmental pollution. As such the Polish government seemed to understand the wealth of information these organizations could provide while Poland was attempting to ascend to the European Union.
Ultimately it was only through the collaboration of the Polish government. Non-governmental Organizations, and the European Union that ascension to the EU was even possible. The NGOS worked with the Polish government to establish regulations consistent with the environmental protection standards of the European Union. Both the Polish Ecological Club and the Institute for sustainable development played instrumental roles in insuring that Poland could make the changes necessary to ascend to the European Union.
2. How Poland's experience during accessing the EU would be a model for Ukraine and Belarus? If Belarus or Ukraine decide to join the EU in the future is the process of changing air pollution system going to be easier or harder than in Poland? Why? Maybe because in Poland there was long tradition of environmental NGOs and Belarus and Ukraine not was not?
Poland's experiences during the ascension will be beneficial for both Belarus and Ukraine. These experiences will be advantageous because they provide a blue print for Ukraine and Belarus. These countries will have a concrete example of how to overcome environmental and other challenges in becoming EU members.
As it pertains to Belarus, the country has already made some effort to reduce the amount of pollution present within its borders. Belarus already has bilateral environmental agreements with Poland, Latvia and the Ukraine. According to Belarus has concluded a bilateral agreement with Poland that includes cooperation on protecting the trans-boundary Bielovezhe Forest, one of Europe's only remaining primeval forests and the last habitat of the European bison. The Bialowieza National Park on the Polish side and the Bielowezskaya Pushcha National Park on the Belarusian side were created to preserve the forest. This cooperation has been held up by unresolved issues such as different protection of parks and difficulties in arranging local co-operation. To improve protection in its part of the forest, Belarus received a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) ("Environment")."
Additionally Belarus has participated in various commissions/coalitions and established other policies designed to reduce pollution in Belarus. These efforts will prove beneficial if Belarus wishes to become a member of the European Union. The aforementioned efforts will definitely assist the nation in establishing additional environmental policies consistent with the environmental protection policies established by the European Union.
As was discussed in the review of the literature Ukraine has also experienced a significant problem as it pertains to air pollution. In…