The Nature Conservation Act has turned 20
A future-oriented Nature Conservation Act was born two decades ago which is in accordance with the modern concept of nature protection and in conformity with the objectives of the Fundamental Law, putting special emphasis on the conservation of our nation's common natural heritage – pointed out the participants of the anniversary workshop held in the Office of the Ombudsman.
On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of Act LIII of 1996 on Nature Conservation, Ombudsman for future generations Marcel Szabó invited the drafters of the Act, experts of the competent Ministry and the national parks, representatives of the Constitutional Court and the Curia, researchers, legal professionals and representatives of civil society organizations to discuss the lessons of the implementation and the possible directions of the further development of the Act.
The Act came into existence as a joint creation of the academic world, the nature protection and legal professions, specialist politicians and the civil society, as a result of versatile, thorough preparations; that may be one of the reasons why the Parliament adopted it with no votes against. One of the Act's greatest virtues is that it sets the objective to protect not only nature conservation areas, but nature in its entirety.
The Act stipulates the sustainable management of natural resources, so that they can be spared–preserving their renewal capability and resiliency–for future generations. Protecting nature is the task of the whole of society, including the business sphere, keeping in mind that the interests of nature protection should prevail if there is a conflict of interests. During the last two decades, building on the new Act, several legal institutions have been created while the Act itself, also in connection with our country's accession to the Union, has undergone numerous amendments and additions, in most cases preserving its original spirit.
The workshop's participants drew attention to the changes that would be required in parallel with preserving the achievements and the integrity of the Act. Such changes could include the more specific legal protection of habitats and ecosystems, the proper use of ecological knowledge handed down from generation to generation, a more resolute stand against invasive species and the due reflection upon the effects of climate change. Experiences gained in the course of implementing the Act show us that more flexibility would be needed in some areas, and restrictions in others.
The participants of the discussion supported the position of the Ombudsman for future generations, according to which appropriately strict regulation of nature protection and efficient operation of its institutional framework are the cornerstones of the State's ability to preserve the nation's common natural heritage for future generations in compliance with its obligations stipulated in the Fundamental Law. This requires an organizational structure in which specific decisions are made by nature protection experts with local knowledge, in cooperation with local communities. The basis for all of this is the respect for nature and the attitude of protecting nature not against someone, but together, as a community.
The exhibition of the impressive nature photography by Judit Suhayda-Bánszki, opened in commemoration of the anniversary of the Act’s adoption, can be seen–during office hours–in the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights till November 10.