1999
Annual Report
of the Clean Air Action Group,
Hungary

General features

Our activities for protecting the environment and nature mainly concern the following areas: making the national budget, the taxation system, the transport, the generation and the use of energy and urban development more environment-friendly, and protection of urban green areas. We keep pushing the reduction of motorization, a more sensible and economical use of energy, raw materials and natural resources, the improvement of infrastructure that harmonises with the national features and the protection of our existing values. We believe that the development of the society can be achieved by the improvement of education, health care, research, innovation and environmental protection, and with a more active participation of the citizens.

Our colleagues and experts often take part in the meetings of parliamentary committees, keep connection with different state and local authorities, participate in the work of various professional institutions. We make studies and work out suggestions in connection with the expected decisions of the national government and local authorities. We carry out activities to raise environmental awareness and we do counselling as well. We organise environmental educational and information programs, different events and campaigns, social actions and even street demonstrations if necessary.

Every second week we hold an open meeting, where together with the representatives of other NGO's, form our opinions and decide on the most important actions to take.

The quality of our opinions and experts’ reports are ensured by more than one hundred experts, who work for our organisation as volunteers.

We publicise our work and opinions on professional forums, through the constant connection with the decision makers and with the help of the media. In the recent years, we have managed to form an up-to-date work relation with the media, and nowadays, on all the important questions which concern public interest and which are part of the Clean Air Action Group’s activities, our opinion is asked among the first ones.

We publish the monthly environmental magazine “Lélegzet” (Breath). It is printed in 4000 copies. Among our readers there are our members, the members of the environmental and other NGO’s, and different professional and public libraries. This magazine is also received by the media, members of the parliament, the ministries and local authorities.

We make all our publications and documents accessible for everyone.

Specific activities

Information, support of NGO’s and local citizens

The Environment Advisory Office of the Clean Air Action Group was working constantly. In 1999 we were contacted on more than 1000 occasions by citizens, different organisations, journalists, university students, schools from different parts of the country, who looked for information, professional meetings, support, the representation of their cases, or in some cases for background information or asking to give lectures. The citizens mainly asked our help because of urban planning problems, building permissions, road constructions, environmental damages caused by the traffic, and the problems of public transportation. We were asked to help also in connection with the EU accession and other environmental questions. The citizens who asked for our support usually do not agree with their urban development plans, with certain transportation investments, with the construction of shopping malls and other projects that attract big motor-vehicle traffic, if those endanger their health, feeling of security, or the price of their properties. We help our clients with informing them about what they can do locally in order to solve the given problem. In those cases, where local citizens did not establish a registered NGO, the Clean Air Action Group operates as a client at the local councils, public offices and sometimes at court in order to represent the interest of these citizens.

We often help smaller NGO’s (mainly our member organisations) in their campaigns and writing tenders.

Green budget reform

In 1999 as in each year since 1992, we made a detailed proposal to modify the state budget. This 240-page study was published in 2000 copies put on the tables of the decision makers (including all members of the Parliament and all ministers and deputy ministers) and it was publicised by the media. We organised several times meetings with the members of the green movement, other NGO’s, professional bodies, authorities and the representatives of business life about the possibilities of implementing the green state budget reform (GBR). We talked to Slovenian, German, Austrian, Scandinavian and EU experts about their experience in connection with the introduction. The principles of the reform — more support for the development of the human resources and as opposed to this, a higher taxation of and no subsidies for activities that are polluting the environment or waste the natural resources — have the approval of more and more people.

Energy policy

Forming an energy policy that harmonises with the national characteristics is equally important for the Hungarian economy, environmental protection and the society as well. This year we participated in several energy conferences and interest harmonisation meetings, where we held lectures and expressed our views on the subject. We continued our awareness raising activities in connection with the energy prices, with the taxation and financial background of energy-efficiency and saving, with district-heating, with renewable energy sources, and integration branches of the energy policy into other branches of the economy. We are glad to state that more and more well known experts agree with our points of view.

Transport policy

In accordance with the EU transport policy principles we worked out the reduction of traffic demands, and for “smart growth” (sustainable land use). We went to court against the construction of Northern section of the M0 motorway which was built without any consideration of environmental and traffic demands. We campaigned for the improvement of Hungarian railways and against closing down branch lines. We demanded on several forums to give more money for the improvement of public transport and the development of suburban railways. We opposed the construction of the planned 4th metro in Budapest, because other public transport investments could bring much more benefit at a much lower cost. We participated in the elaboration of the Transport System Development Plan of Budapest, and many of our proposals were incorporated in this plan.

The protection of green areas

Almost every day local citizens either from Budapest or from other places asked for our help in connection with the destruction of green areas, or with the damaging of natural values which are (in theory) protected by law. In this field there are particularly numerous legal offences which are normally without consequences. In all cases we participated in order to find solutions for the problems by means of counselling, representing our clients at the authorities, giving experts’ opinions, and helping to organise protests in some cases.

Building regulations and permissions

We continued our activities to make cities and villages more habitant-friendly, to stop urban sprawl, to rehabilitate the existing buildings, to use the infrastructure more efficiently. We received a number of complaints in connection with the local authorities’ work that only considers the investors’ interests and ignores the population as well as the state of the concerning areas. We helped the local people with experts’ opinions, legal and technical counselling. We criticised the laws on local governments and building regulations on every possible forum. A lot of problems occurred in connection with public participation as well, when the authorities failed to inform and ask the opinion of local citizens and NGO's concerning issues which touch their direct interests. We gave advice and made suggestions and actively took part in the managing certain cases.

Some cases in which the Clean Air Action Group took active part (not only counselling)

Budapest

Other areas

High level advocacy (in the Parliament, Ministries and at local authorities)

Cases before courts

Membership

16 new NGO’s joined our alliance, one quit, so the number of our member organisations was 86 on 31. Dec., 1999.

Studies and other publications

Studies

  1. Recommended modifications to the 1997 State Budget Bill of Hungary (in: Green Budget Reform in Europe — Countries in the Forefront, published by Springer-Verlag, Berlin)
  2. Proposals to the 1999 State Budget Bill of Hungary and to Budget Concepts for year 2000. (a study published together with the Trade Union of Culture). As appendices, several shorter studies were published as well (see below points 3-12).
  3. Environment-polluting Smuggling
  4. The Protection of Arable Soil and Green Areas by Economical Means
  5. Recommended Modifications to the State Budget Bill’s Chapters Concerning Agriculture
  6. The Expected Economical Effect caused by the Regression of Hungarian-Russian Trade
  7. Creation of Embargo Compensation Fund
  8. Recommendations to Modify the Law on Financial Institutions in order to Help Preventing the Environmental Damages
  9. To whom and why is it worthy to build shopping centres?
  10. Why should we stop motorway constructions?
  11. The Clean Air Action Group’s opinion about the planned underground line No 4 and recommendations for the improvement of transport in Budapest
  12. Why is energy rationalisation important and how can the energy efficiency be helped by the state?
  13. Evaluation of the alleys in cities according to EU norms (study)
  14. A complex evaluation of urban plants (simplified method)
  15. Survey of Budapest boulevards’ alleys by EU methods
  16. Integration of Environmental Factors into Hungarian System of Subsidies (Zöld belépõ (Green Entry), 80th issue, Environmental Aspects of our EU accession, Hungary at the Millennium — a study published within the Hungarian Scientific Academy research program)
  17. Proposals to the 1999 State Budget Bill of Hungary and to Budget Concepts for year 2000. (English version of the publication listed in p. 2)
  18. The Clean Air Action Group’s opinion about the situation and possibilities of public transportation in the capital

Television and Radio

Main statements:

Other important events, campaigns

 Further information can be found in the detailed report in Hungarian on our homepage(www.levego.hu), and in our magazine “Lélegzet”.

 1999
Annual Financial Report
OF The Clean Air Action Group

Item

HUF 1000

 

 

Opening amount (bank + cash)

6275

 

 

Incomes

 

Income for main activities

19471

Income for business activities (studies, advertisements)

1855

Obligations

2169

Total income

23495

Expenses

 

Salaries

3763

Salary taxes

142

Other expenses

21173

Business expenses

716

Investments

245

Demands

1263

Total expenses

27302

Closing account (bank + cash)

2468

 Simplified balance and result calculation on the 31.12.1999.

Simplified balance

Item

HUF

Instruments

 

Bank + cash

2.468.831

Demands

1,263.667

Total

3.705.498

 

 

Resources

 

Obligations

2.169.424

Property

394.954

Result of business activities

1.139.120

Total

3.705.498

Result calculation

Item

HUF 1000

Incomes

 

Income for main activities

19471

Expenses

 

Salaries

3763

Taxes

143

Other expenses*

21173

Loss according to activities

5.608

Business result

1.855

Business expenses

716

Result before taxation

1.139

Company tax

0

Result after taxation

1.139

Loss

4.469

*Other expenses of the Clean Air Action Group

Item

HUF

Experts’ fees

839.105

Support for Hungarian organisations

8.495.734

Phone, fax

3.160.413

Printing costs

24.576

Travelling costs

381.546

Season tickets, car cost refund

431.553

Office rent, maintenance cost

2.700.923

Stationery

1.288.909

Post

555.663

Books, journals

430.910

Conference cost

528.430

Cost of civil services

225.000

Meal-ticket

152.600

Representation cost

68.644

Bank cost

66.740

Broad-sheet cost

20.145

Membership fee for other NGOs

17.800

Detergents

3.030

Other expenses

1.781.033

Total

21.172.754

 Support and Income of the Clean Air Action Group in 1999

Source of support

HUF 1000

Hungarian Parliament

900

Ministry of Environment

2.790

Other state institutions

0

Local authorities

0

Project support**

11.348

1% of personal income taxes

662

Membership fees

126

Other incomes from activities defined in the founding document

3.579

Interest

66

Income from business

1.855

Saved from 1998

6.275

Other incomes

0

Total support and income

27.601

 **Project supports

Donators

Purpose of support

HUF

Regional Environmental Centre for CEE

Public participation encouragement

165.469

Association of Environmental Advisors

Environmental counselling

93.250

World Bank Budapest Office

Green state budget reform

827.330

“Ökotárs” Foundation

Energy efficiency campaign

300.000

USIS

Green state budget reform

144.404

Freedom House

Green state budget reform

3.342.998

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Budapest traffic, motorways and railways

5.970.031

WWF

Contribution to the green movement strategy

60.000

Milieukontakt Oost-Europa

Environmental counselling

444.542

Total

 

11.348.004

Our reports concerning the use of project supports had been accepted by the donators.

WORK PLAN
OF THE CLEAN AIR ACTION GROUP
FOR THE YEAR 2000

I. General

  1. We will improve our information activities towards both the population, the media and the decision makers. The further publication of our magazine “Lélegzet” (Breath) is one of the most important tasks.
  2. We will keep holding our meetings every other week.
  3. We will significantly increase the number of our members.
  4. We will improve the co-operation with the other Hungarian environment and nature protection NGOs.
  5. We will improve the co-operation with the foreign environment and nature protection NGOs, especially with the movements operating within the EU.
  6. We will keep a constant connection with the relevant Ministries and other authorities.
  7. We will keep regular connection with the relevant EU institutions.
  8. We will pay special attention to the questions concerning public health care and environment health service.
  9. We will organise professional and other events to encourage the change of opinion and information.
  10. At least twice a year we will call together plenary a meeting of the CAAG Experts' Board.
  11. With the help of our member organisations we will keep monitoring the long term environment protecting programs of the local authorities, their planning and implementation.
  12. We will maintain and operate our Environmental Advisory Office.

II. State budget and taxation system

  1. We will continue our research and information work in order to make the state budget and taxation system more environment-friendly.
  2. We will prepare our alternative state budget proposals for the year 2001.
  3. We will prepare a new information publication about the green state budget reform.
  4. We will monitor the use of the state environment protection funds and make suggestions if necessary.
  5. We will co-operate with those Hungarian and foreign organisations as well as individuals who work for the green state budget reform.

3. Regional development and transport

  1. We will work with international co-operation in order to achieve that instead of the further motorway constructions in Hungary, the improvement of the railways should be preferred.
  2. We will organise a campaign to improve the public transportation in Budapest. We will push that the money allocated on to the planned 4th metro and major road investments should be rather spent on the maintenance and renovation of the existing public transportation network.
  3. We will continue our campaign to improve railway transportation.
  4. We will expedite that an increasing volume of transit transport should be placed from road to railway.
  5. We will make studies about the following topics:
  6. the situation of the railways and the possible improvements of railway transportation,
  7. the cause and effects of urban sprawl, with special attention to the construction of shopping malls,
  8. the real cost of traffic in Budapest and the possibilities to incorporate all the costs into the prices (this is a continuation of a research started earlier)
  9. environmental studies concerning EU accession in the field of transportation
  10. We will translate and publish a study into Hungarian about the possibilities to make urban transportation more environment-friendly, and to reduce transport.
  11. We will monitor the activities of the government, of the Parliament and the local authorities in the field of transport and we will express our views, and work out suggestions in connection with environmental protection.
  12. We will monitor the changes of transport policy on both national and local levels, and we will express our views and work out suggestions if necessary.
  13. We will encourage public participation in the decision-making about transport. Within this we continue the discussion with the Ministry of Transport and encourage the restart of Budapest Traffic Forum and will to take active part in its work.
  14. We will pay special attention on to the protection of green areas, especially flora damages caused by transport vehicles.
  15. We will continue our information activities about the external costs of transport and expedite that these should be gradually incorporated in the prices.
  16. We will continue our activities in order to reduce urban transport and within this the introduction of parking regulations and 30km/h zones, and to improve the conditions for pedestrians.
  17. We will improve the co-operation with the bicycle organisations in order to improve the conditions of cycling.
  18. We will monitor the regional development policies of the government and local authorities especially about transport. We will constantly evaluate the results and our suggestions will be sent to those whom they concern.
  19. We will continuously monitor and make suggestions about the transport and environment problems of building and operating shopping malls, petrol stations, underground garages and other traffic attracting constructions.
  20. We will extend and deepen our international connections especially with the European Federation for Transport and Environmental, as well as with other environmental protecting organisations dealing with transport.

4. Energy

  1. We will continue our research and information activities with special regard to energy prices, increasing of energy effectiveness and use of renewable energy sources.
  2. We will encourage the public participation in the field of energy policy. Within this, we will take part in the Energy Interest Representative Council.

Planned budget of the Clean Air Action Group for the year 2000

Expenses

Item

HUF 1000

1. Personal expenses

9800

2. Personal expenses taxes

3773

3. Total material cost

2540

3.1. Stationery, broad-sheet

1300

3.2. Furniture and equipment

400

3.3. Maintenance (water, electricity, gas)

260

3.4. Semi-fixed asset cost

450

3.5. Other

130

4. Material-like service cost

7350

4.1. Travel

1500

4.2. Participation cost of events, conferences

300

4.3. Rental fees

50

4.4. Maintenance and service cost

250

4.5. Post

700

4.6. Phone

3400

4.7. Copying

80

4.8. Books, subscriptions for newspapers

250

4.9. Publication editing and printing cost

70

4.10. Cost of civil service

250

4.11. Representation

80

4.12. Bank cost

70

4.13. Other

150

5. Total cost of non-material like services

6370

5.1. Rental fees

3000

5.2. Advertising fees

30

5.3. Membership fees

40

5.4. Training

510

5.5. Fees of contractor, sub-contractor

240

5.6. Support for other organisations

2500

5.7. Other

50

Total cost

29833

Income

HUF 1000

Remaining on Jan.1. 2000.

2468

Hungarian Parliament

1000

Ministry of Environment

10000

Local governments (mainly the Budapest Municipality)

500

Private grants (individuals, companies)

1000

Foreign grants

10000

Membership fees

500

Interests

100

Studies, publications

6000

Total

31568