Danish-Polish Environmental Co-operation 1991-2000


by Svend Auken,
Danish Minister for Environment and Energy

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Denmark has taken an active approach in working for a clean environment in Central and Eastern Europe. Poland, being one of our biggest neighbours in the Baltic Sea Region, was the logical first country to support with environmental assistance and to co-operate with in the field of environment and energy.

Poland has been the largest co-operating country to receive environmental assistance from Denmark. Until the end of the year 2000, Denmark supported as many as 232 environmental projects in Poland, which makes Denmark one of the largest bilateral contributors to environmental progress in Poland. 2001 is the year of the10th anniversary of Danish environmental assistance to Central and Eastern European countries. I am pleased to see the substantial results of our joint co-operation in the field of environmental protection. Denmark has been active in many environmental sectors, but assistance to the water sector has been one of our main target areas. As much as 49 per cent of all Danish projects in Poland cover municipal wastewater treatment. Most wastewater in Poland runs off to the Baltic Sea and I am proud that our joint efforts are estimated to have contributed to a reduction by around 14 per cent of the discharge of organic pollutants and nutrients from Poland to the Baltic Sea. This is a convincing result.

The overall idea of environmental assistance is to support Poland to improve her own ability to cope with future environmental problems. And Poland has developed to become a country with success in the field of environmental protection. Between 1991 and 1999 Poland covered about 90 per cent of her own environmental expenditures.

The Polish transition to market economy plays an important role in the development of the country - also in terms of environmental development and protection. Today, complying with the EU environmental regulations is one of the most important aspects in the Polish environmental priorities - a target area that we have supported with great enthusiasm and where superb results have been achieved.

This book presents an overview of the Danish-Polish environmental cooperation from 1991-2000. I hope you will enjoy reading it.