The Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic, Minister of the Environment and Water of the Republic of Hungary, Minister of the Environment of the Slovak Republic and Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Poland, from the countries of the Visegrad Group, and the Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources Protection of the Republic of Georgia, invited to the meeting as observer,
- welcoming the signature of Treaty on Accession between ten Candidate Countries and the European Union in Athens on 16 April 2003 and the status of active observers ensured for Acceding Countries in the EU bodies,
- welcoming the outcomes of the 5th Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe", held in Kiev, Ukraine, May 23–25, 2003
- recalling the conclusions the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the priorities of the Plan of Implementation,
- reaffirming their interest to proceed in the continuous mutual co-operation
- bearing in mind previous meetings of the Visegrad Group Environment Ministers, as well as bilateral and multilateral agreements binding the Visegrad group countries as parties,
the Ministers have agreed as follows:
Enlarged European Union
- The Ministers expressed the satisfaction with the exchange of experience of their countries in the process of EU accession with respect to the Chapter: Environment, and consultations in other topics of common interest contributing to the successful finalising of the EU integration process.
- The Ministers expressed their willingness to convene regular meetings of the ministers of the environment of the Visegrad Group Countries twice a year or annually from the year 2004 - accession of the V4 into the European Union. The Ministers considered the possibility of holding ad-hoc operative consultations before the Environmental Councils meetings dedicated to the topics of common interests and priorities.
- The Ministers confirmed that the respective Departments of the Ministries of the environment, in particular the EU Departments, will on a voluntary and informal basis exchange national positions and consult during the process of elaboration of the environmental acquis communautaire.
- The Ministers welcome the activities of the EU supporting the process of building of stability and sustainable development in the Western NIS, Mediterranean and South-Eastern European Countries as was expressed in the Communication "Wider Europe-Neighbourhood: a new framework for relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours" and in the EU-Western Balkans Declaration of June 21, 2003. Visegrad Group Countries welcome the opportunity to participate in forming of these relations. Visegrad Group Countries are ready to share and/or transfer their experience from the EU accession process to these countries of respective regions of Europe. The Ministers support the establishment of new EU instruments for these future perspective EU Member countries allowing the transfer of this experience.
- The Ministers appreciated the assistance to be provided to future Member States in implementing projects to improve the state of the environment through Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund, that was declared at the EU summit in Copenhagen on December 13, 2002. Ministers stressed the importance of mobilising all available sources of co-financing to contribute to the investments in environmental sector.
Follow up of the 5th UN ECE Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe"
- The Ministers appreciated the results of the 5th Environment for Europe Conference, with special regard to the adoption of new legal instruments and welcomed that the Environment for Europe process will continue as an important platform for dialog and co-operation in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
- The Ministers attached great importance to the elaboration and adoption of the EECCA Environmental Strategy and will consider the most effective ways of ensuring the transfer of experience of the V4 gained in the transition period as well as in the EU accession process.
- The Ministers recognised the broad expertise and on-going activities of UNDP supporting implementation of the EECCA Environmental Strategy and welcomed a proposal of the UNDP Regional Centre in Bratislava to assist the V4 countries in their support to the implementation of the EECCA Environmental Strategy.
- The Ministers agreed to consider possibilities of joint actions in support to the implementation of EECCA Environmental Strategy.
- The Ministers agreed that they would further explore the ways and means of contributing to the development of sound environmental legislation, appropriate institutional framework and personal capacity for environmental protection and sustainable development in EECCA countries, possibly in co-operation with the EU and other international organisations and institutions.
- The Ministers noted the proposal of the project "Modern climate change and its influence on glaciation and water resource in the mountainous region of Central Asia and Caucasus" and agreed on further discussion on expert level.
Follow-up of the World Summit on Sustainable Development
- The Ministers expressed their intention that the participating delegations at the Commission on Sustainable Development sessions should be at the highest possible level and a balanced participation among the three dimensions of the sustainable development should be ensured.
- The Ministers agreed to explore the possibilities to promote new partnerships for sustainable development, also considering joining the EU partnership initiatives. The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the "Visegrad Group Countries Summer School of Development Aid and Co-operation". The Czech Republic will present on behalf of the Visegrad Group countries the report on the progress of this initiative at the forthcoming session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The Ministers agreed on exploring the possibilities of financial support of this WSSD initiative.
- The Ministers expressed their intention to encourage and facilitate consultations among the Visegrad Group Countries on international aspects of sustainable development under debate in the various intergovernmental bodies, in particular in the European Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
- The Ministers expressed their intention to mobilize a greater involvement of the leaders from the major groups in the issues of sustainable development not only on national level, but also on regional and local levels with support from national and international bodies.
Representation of V4 countries in International Environmental Organisations and Multilateral Environmental Agreements
- The Ministers agreed to prepare joint statement on behalf of V4 countries at COP-9 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Milan, if appropriate. The Czech Republic would present the statement.
- The Ministers acknowledged proposals of nominations of the Czech Republic for presidency positions on COP-15 of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Committee on Environmental Policy of the UN ECE and agreed to conduct formal consultancy procedures in this respect.
- The Ministers noted that the Government of the Czech Republic offered to host the MOP-16 of the Montreal Protocol in Prague on 22–26 November 2004.
The Ministers of the Environment welcomed the invitation by the Minister of the Environment and Water of the Republic of Hungary, Mr. Miklós Persányi to attend the 11th Meeting of the Ministers of the Environment of the Visegrad Group countries to be held in 2004 in Hungary. A specific theme will be discussed there as a regular part of the Meetings of the V4 Environmental Ministers.
Done in Čejkovice, on 3 October, 2003
H.E. Mr. Libor Ambrozek
Minister of the Environment
H. E. Mr. Miklós Persányi
Minister of the Environment and Water
Republic of Hungary
Mr. Krzysztof Szamałek,
Secretary of State
Ministry of the Environment
Republic of Poland
H. E. Mr. László Miklós
Minister of the Environment