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The Environment and Sustainable Development in the New Central Europe

The Environment and Sustainable Development in the New Central Europe

Zbigniew Bochniarz
Gary B. Cohen
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    The Environment and Sustainable Development in the New Central Europe
    Book Description:

    With the enlargement of the European Union, the accession countries are coming under pressure to develop and meet EU standards for environmental protection and sustainable development. In this ongoing process, global economic liberalization, regulatory policy, conservation, and lifestyle issues are all involved, and creative solutions will have to be found. Historians, geographers, economists, ecologists, business management experts, public policy specialists, and community organizers have come together in this volume and examine, for the first time, environmental issues ranging from national and regional policy and macroeconomics to local studies in community regeneration. The evidence suggests that, far from being mere passive recipients of instruction and assistance from outside, the people of Central and East Central Europe have been engaged actively in working out solutions to these problems. Several promising cases illustrate opportunities to overcome crisis situations and offer examples of good practices, while others pose warnings. The experiences of these countries in wrestling with issues of sustainability continue to be of importance to policy development within the EU and may serve also as examples for both developed and developing countries worldwide.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-716-5
    Subjects: Environmental Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Zbigniew Bochniarz and Gary B. Cohen
  5. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. Introduction: Legacies, Challenges, and New Beginnings
    (pp. 1-10)
    Zbigniew Bochniarz and Gary B. Cohen

    Just sixteen years ago, the dismantling of the Cold War division of Europe began with parliamentary elections in Poland. Then, like dominos, the other communist Central European countries—Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania—followed, shattering the foundations of the oppressive, totalitarian system and proclaiming democracies and market economies. Sixteen years is but a moment in the long history of Central and Eastern Europe, but for historians of the region the last twelve years of the twentieth century will be remembered as equal in importance to the first years of building independent statehood after World War I. Despite some...

  7. Chapter 1 From Communism to Climate Change: The Sustainability Challenge and Lessons from Central Europe
    (pp. 11-16)
    Robert Wilkinson

    Central Europeans have much to teach the world. Nations, communities, corporations, and citizens are confronting profound changes in global environmental, political, economic, and social systems. As global systems change, we respond in different ways—some effective and positive, some not. This short article posits the notion that Central Europe is a place to look for an understanding of how to process profound and fundamental change in effective, civilized, thoughtful ways. The world should, I argue, study examples provided by the people of this region for clues that may help bring about a transition to sustainability.

    There is no obvious connection...

  8. Part One: The Environment as Policy Priority

    • Chapter 2 Assessing Sustainability of the Transition in Central European Countries: A Comparative Analysis
      (pp. 19-44)
      Sandra O. Archibald and Zbigniew Bochniarz

      Since the late 1980s, the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota has been involved in policy-oriented research, institutional design for sustainable development, and the reform of management and economic education in seven Central and East European (CEE) countries. After conducting the bulk of the work in the 1990s, we became interested in examining whether the radical reforms introduced in those countries contributed to breaking negative economic, social and environmental trends in the CEE countries. Did economic reform help or hinder those countries in developing economic, social, and environmental sustainability?

      The long-term goal of this...

    • Chapter 3 Sustainability and EU Accession: Capacity Development and Environmental Reform in Central and Eastern Europe
      (pp. 45-58)
      Stacy D. VanDeveer and JoAnn Carmin

      Central and East European states enacted and implemented sweeping changes as they prepared to gain membership in the European Union. As a result of severe degradation, environmental protection and remediation were important political priorities for these countries, particularly in the early phases of transition away from Soviet-style rule. In the fifteen-plus years since the fall of communism, CEE policy makers have developed new institutions and formulated, enacted, and implemented new policies for environmental protection.¹ Furthermore, some significant reductions in pollution have been achieved.² While the eastward enlargement of the EU promises to promote greater environmental policy coordination and standardization across...

    • Chapter 4 Sustainability of Clusters and Regions at Austria’s Accession Edge
      (pp. 59-78)
      Edward M. Bergman

      The terms “cluster” and “sustainability” are two of the most provocatively ambiguous in their respective literatures. It may therefore be a risky enterprise to link them in a paper, particularly one that draws attention to development issues already loaded with normative overtones.

      However, it seems this is not the first attempt. In proposing a sustainable energy industry cluster for Mesa Del Sol, Serchuk and Singh (1999) ask and then answer “What is sustainability?” After referring to the 1987 Brundtland report of the World Commission on Environment (where sustainability was defined as development by which societies today meet their needs without...

  9. Part Two: The Economics of Sustainable Development

    • Chapter 5 Greenhouse Gases Emissions Trading in the Czech Republic
      (pp. 81-98)
      Jiřina Jilková and Tomáš Chmelík

      The Czech Republic has to implement a domestic trading system as part the EU emission trading system. This instrument is viewed as a pillar of a cost-effective framework not only to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at home, but to help to improve energy efficiency and further reduce air pollution.

      This paper presents basic ideas and discussions about a trading system with greenhouse gases in the Czech Republic, incorporated in a complex instrument framework for climate change and energy efficiency issues. The analysis of issues is seen in the scope of a regional context (other Central and Eastern European countries)...

    • Chapter 6 Ecological Reform in the Tax System in Poland
      (pp. 99-118)
      Olga Kiuila and Jerzy Śleszyński

      This chapter concentrates on ecological tax reform, regarded as an advisable environmental policy option for Poland. Hypothetical effects of the ecological tax reform are assessed using computable general equilibrium modeling. Generally, results confirm both theoretical and practical suggestions from the ecological tax reform experiences in Western European countries. The best results are obtained when the tax burden is shifted from the labor force or household income to environmental pollution. Analyzed scenarios show that results are very sensitive to specific assumptions adopted in the model and that a double-dividend solution is hardly possible. However, long-run effects of the proposed tax reform...

  10. Part Three: Water Policies and Institutions

    • Chapter 7 The Czech Republic: From Environmental Crisis to Sustainability
      (pp. 121-128)
      Václav Mezřický

      The recent floods in the Czech Republic, the worst in 150 years in many places, are radically changing all previous conceptions of sustainable development and its priority. Ecological models based on the theory of the ecological footprint and environmental space only in the traditional form, i.e. the non-catastrophic form, are receding to the background.¹ The main concern is no longer a reduction in human activities to the limits of ecological carrying capacity. Coming to the fore, instead, is a concept of environmental space defined by possible recurrence of the flood disaster, perhaps more than once.²

      Therefore, the main possible ways...

    • Chapter 8 The Tisza/Tisa Transboundary Environmental Disaster: An Opportunity for Institutional Learning
      (pp. 129-142)
      Jim Perry, Eszter Gulácsy and László Pintér

      Environmental management decisions require the integration of technical knowledge with the social and cultural milieu surrounding the individuals making the decisions (i.e., institutional as well as local and national cultures). In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Former Soviet Union (FSU), environmental decision makers are being asked to play increasingly complex roles. As individuals, most of their background and training is still based in a centrally planned and centrally directed society. Today they are being asked to make decisions on a more participatory and open basis. When such decisions deal with a multi-national or transboundary condition, that cultural complexity...

    • Chapter 9 Austria and the EU Water Framework Directive
      (pp. 143-149)
      Wilhelm R. Vogel

      Austria’s accession to the European Union in 1995 had only minor consequences for water management. But in 2000, with the new EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), a new framework for Community action in the field of water policy was established, providing the basis for a restructuring of water management in all member states and setting new standards in terms of quality goals and water management approaches.¹

      For the Danube River basin, the development of one common river basin management plan for the whole area and involving member states, accession countries and others, if they agree to cooperate, is one of...

    • Chapter 10 The Western Bug River: UNECE Pilot Project
      (pp. 150-166)
      James B. Dalton Jr.

      The Western Bug River is an ideal river for studying the effects of a river’s water quality management on the nature of a country’s perceived water resource stress. This river’s unique political and geographical position makes it a useful case for gaining additional insights into this connection. Politically, the river forms the border between Poland, a NATO and European Union (EU) member, and Ukraine and Belarus, non-NATO countries and currently not EU accession countries. These three Slavic countries, with different democratic histories and experiences with independence, are in transition from centralized planning and responsibility toward a democratic system.

      The river...

    • Chapter 11 Wastewater Treatment in the Postcommunist Danube River Basin
      (pp. 167-180)
      Igor Bodík

      In the aftermath of historical developments during World War II, the majority of the European communist countries were formed in the Danube River basin. The environment of the Danube basin has been under significant pollution stress for several years. Industrial wastes were, and still are, often disposed of or emitted without due consideration to the environment. Many of the municipal wastewater discharges that often contain a high industrial portion continue to flow without treatment to reduce polluting loads.

      After more than forty years of economic mismanagement and environmental neglect, these countries have started to correct the effects of the previous...

  11. Part Four: Agriculture and Rural Development

    • Chapter 12 “Thinking Unlike a Mountain”: Environment, Agriculture, and Sustainability in the Carpathians
      (pp. 183-202)
      Anthony J. Amato

      InA Sand County Almanac, conservationist Aldo Leopold described the Carpathian Mountains as one of the last islands of wilderness in Europe.² In his enthusiasm for the meadows and forests of a land he never saw, Leopold made a mistake similar to the one that he made in his reading of the landscapes of the southwestern United States, which he knew well.³ In dubbing both areas wilderness, the conservationist missed a long history of human habitation and alteration in both environments. He took places that were made and managed for places that were untouched and wild. Although his description of...

    • Chapter 13 New Approaches to Sustainable Community Development in Rural Slovakia
      (pp. 203-216)
      Slavomíra Mačáková

      Slovakia combines features of both a developed nation and a developing country. Taking into account its economic structure, which is dominated by industry and services and boasts a relatively high level of GDP per capita, and its quite well developed social security and social safety net systems, the country is comparable with other European countries. On the other hand, marginalization of some rural and minority communities, cases of extreme poverty, and relatively frequent occurrence of poverty-related diseases, are typical signs of a developing country.

      Since the collapse of the socialist regime in 1989 and, more visibly, since the split of...

    • Chapter 14 Sustainable Development in Moravia: An Interpretation of the Role of the Small-Town Sector in Transitional Socioeconomic Evolution
      (pp. 217-231)
      Antonín Vaishar and Bryn Greer-Wootten

      The various meanings of sustainable development—complicated by its “triple bottom line” of economic, environmental, and social sustainability objectives— take on a particular resonance in the postcommunist Central European states.¹ Whereas economic goals often dominate the discourse, and often in a pessimistic mode, the environmental legacies of the socialist era are quite evident, and the goals of (re)building civil society would appear to confront formidable obstacles in constructing a sustainable future. A salient feature of much of this discourse is the continuing importance placed upon the role and conditions of the state as the unitary object of analysis. It is...

    • Chapter 15 Building Local Sustainability in Hungary: Cross-Generational Education and Community Participation in the Dörögd Basin
      (pp. 232-246)
      Judit Vásárhelyi

      From the point of view of sustainability, Hungary’s pattern of settlement has an unhealthy structure. Two million of the country’s approximately 10 million inhabitants live in the capital, Budapest. Of the remaining four fifths, some 4 million people live in other cities and towns, but the second largest to Budapest is smaller by an order of magnitude. Approximately 3.8 million people live in small, rural communities.

      The state of the environment in the various settlement areas is partly the heritage of the command economy, which did not reckon with environmental quality in its production goals. Despite the substantial reductions achieved...

  12. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 247-256)
  13. Index
    (pp. 257-260)