GB No. 3(18)/95


The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) is a non-government, non-profit organisation. Its legal status is that of a foundation, and its objective is the propagation, development, and implementation of the principles and methods of sustainable development. It was established in 1991 by members of the Polish Ecological Club who had had ties with environmental protection for years. The staff of the ISD is an inter-disciplinary team of professional geographers, economists, environmentalists, and lawyers.

The founding and operations of the ISD would not have been possible if not for the financial support provided by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and, from 1995, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

In its activities, the Institute for Sustainable Development concentrates on economic, legal, social, and political questions.

The "Ownership Transformations in Agriculture" Report must be mentioned as one of the most important achievements of the Institute for Sustainable Development over the recent past. The report demonstrates ways in which the privatisation process of former State farms can be utilised to facilitate environmental objectives as defined in the "State Environmental Policy" and other documents, including international conventions (the Hague Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Agenda 21). An analysis of ownership transformations carried out to date in Poland, shows that politicians, in creating the legislative basis for this process, bypass environmental issues. Criticism forwarded by the ISD, with respect to the manner in which agriculture is being privatised, generated great interest in the mass media, the State Treasury Agricultural Ownership Agency, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, and Parliament. In initiating this topic, the ISD also took into account its importance to many other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

A report currently being prepared under the working title of "The International Monetary Fund and Sustainable Development in Poland" also takes up issues of restructuring in the Polish economy. Its main aim is an examination of the relationships inherent between the adaptive programs of the International Monetary Fund and macro-economic conditions, which are vital for the implementation of State environmental policy. This study will be addressed to politicians as well as representatives of State administration; it will bring the International Monetary Fund closer to environmental movements.

A study entitled "Green Banks - Pro-Environmental Trust Funds" has also appeared. It contains basic information on the principles and methods of operation of environmental trust funds in the developed countries of Europe and in the United States. The objective of this study is the dissemination of the concept of pro-environmental trust funds amongst the participants in the capital market in Poland.

A special challenge facing the ISD, and at the same time a distinction, is the proposal of the Senate Environmental Protection Commission, that the Institute prepare materials which could be used in preparing draft laws on State environmental policy. A product of this collaboration was the "Assessment of State Environmental Policy Implementation in Light of the 'Strategy for Poland'" published by the Office for Studies and Analyses of the Senate Secretariat.

Among current activities of the Institute, particularly noteworthy is the ongoing Radom and E k pilot programs of the National Action Program for Environmental Protection jointly undertaken with the American Institute for Sustainable Communities of Vermont. The primary target of this project is the determination of priorities of environmental problems as well as assistance for local government in directing funding for the solving of the most strategic of environmental questions. In other words, an improvement in the state of the environment through the implementation of selected strategies for solving main problems as well as the direct involvement of the local community in the process of undertaking decisions on environmental questions. Knowledge and experience gained during the course of the project are being constantly circulated in other municipalities through the RADEŁKO bulletin.

A new form of activity is the reviewing of legislative acts which are of particular importance to sustainable development in Poland. Recently, the Institute reviewed the draft version of the Water Law from the point of view of sustainable development principles as well as the potential for wide-ranging public participation in the decision-making process in the water economy.

An expression of recognition for the activities of the Institute by non-governmental organisations is the awarding of the "GAJA Club Prize for 1994-1995 for pioneering work in the field of environmental policy." The GAJA Club is one of the leading Polish environmental organisations. This award, which is a great distinction, is something which rallies the Institute into the future.

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The Institute for Sustainable Development
9, Krzywickiego Street, 7th floor
02-078 Warsaw, Poland
tel. 48/22/25 25 58, 25 03 78
fax 48/22/25 34 61
Account: 50103 1-21016572-270 1 -3-1110
PKO Bank, II Department in Warsaw

GB No. 3(18)/95 | Contents