Justyna Stypinska and Mihai Varga

Pathways to sustainability in Central and Eastern Europe: practices, policies, and discourses

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Abstract

Abstract

Sustainability - a global buzzword in policy making - has drawn as much interest as criticism (Nebbia, 2012; Turcu, 2012). First and foremost it drew criticism for its vague and elusive meaning and lack of clear definition. Even the emerging sustainability science admits to weaknesses in building sound theoretical and methodological paradigms (Anderson, Teisl, & Noblet, 2016). The commonly acknowledged definition of general sustainability (including its three pillars – ecologic, economic and social) invokes a vision of human welfare that takes into consideration inter- as well as intra-generational equity, and which does not surpass the limits of Earth’s natural resources. In other words, it is a vision of a society which does not live at the expense of future generations (Passerini, 1998). In 1987 the seminal report “Our Common Future”, or else Brundtland Report, defined sustainable development as development, which "... meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (World Commission on Environment and Development [WCED]1987:43). Since then, it has been adopted by most international organizations and nation states in programming their policies towards sustainable development and the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 only confirms this direction.

 

Benedetta Cotta

Wasted money, wasted time? The sustainability of EU assistance to Hungary and Poland’s waste management sector

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Abstract

Abstract

In the late 1990s, European experts feared a stalemate in the EU accession negotiations with Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries because of the expected high costs of their compliance with the EU’s environmental legislation. This fear was not borne out, however, and it is now undoubted that EU assistance has enhanced environmental capacity-building and knowledge in these countries. Nevertheless, some reports have emphasised misallocations, planning failures and mismanagement of EU funds, characterised as the unsustainability of EU-funded environmental projects in a number of CEE countries. Why have some EU-funded projects been more sustainable than others? Which features have had an effect on their sustainability? The article investigates the relationship between European and domestic actors involved in EU-funded projects in municipal waste management in Hungary and Poland in the years 1998–2013. The main findings show that when decision-making participation was horizontal and cooperative between the EU and domestic actors, EU assistance to municipal waste projects was more successful and long-lasting in helping them comply with EU legislation. 

 

Brendan Duprey and Alexios Antypias

Natura 2000: Bulgaria’s park ‘on paper’

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Abstract

Abstract

The ‘Natura 2000’ network derives from the [EU] ‘Birds and Habitats’ Directives and is the centerpiece of the European Union’s nature and biodiversity conservation policy. Many Member States, however, have failed to comply or behave in a way that is consistent with the legislative objectives in the two Directives. Unfortunately, there has been little academic research conducted on this final stage of implementation to explain why the targets of EU policy do or do not behave consistently with the objectives of the policy. This research provides answers to this important question through an in-depth case study analysis of Bulgaria’s deviant ‘Case of Wind Turbines in Coastal Dobruzha’. The case study is timely, as in January 2016 the European Court of Justice ruled against the Bulgarian state in the case brought by the European Commission.

 

Simon Schöning and Vasyl Zubaka

Energy Transition in Ukraine: Renewable Energy in the Context of Institutional Change

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Abstract

Abstract

A number of sectoral reforms have lately been introduced to the Ukrainian energy market. Energy subsidies have been cut and domestic gas consumption has been reduced significantly. Reforms in recent years also affect the production of energy from renewable sources. Policy alignments with the European Union and attempts to liberalise the energy sector create a unique window of opportunity for the country. By investigating the political and regulatory framework, and by drawing from the experience of the German energy transition, the article provides a brief analysis on how market liberalisation and renewable sources can play a significant role in promoting democracy in the Ukrainian energy sector.

 

Marta Klekotko

Civil Society, Governance and Community Sustainable Development: A Cognitive Approach on the Example of Rural Poland

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Abstract

Abstract

The article covers the problem of relations between civil society, governance and sustainable development. It assumes that the integration and cooperation of all social actors as well as the forms of knowledge they use to define development objectives are indispensable conditions to sustainable development, and that civil society and governance structures are crucial mechanisms in such integration. The article argues that the meaning of sustainable development is the object of a struggle between the values shared by different actors and represented by different types of knowledge. It discusses the changing meanings of sustainable development as well as the role of civil society and governance structures as mechanisms in the integration of various actors and their rationales in decision-making about development. It identifies the different models of civil society and governance structures and analyses their impact on sustainable development. To illustrate the role of various models of civil society and governance structures in the implementation of sustainable development programs, the article provides case studies from rural Poland.

 

emecon No 1/2018