Hungary takes on the Presidency of the EU on 1st of January 2011, and the environmental aspects of this responsibility will fall to the new ministry of Rural Development.
The new Ministry, one of the 8 mega-ministries in Hungary, was created after the merging of the former Ministry for Environment and Water and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Ministry of Rural Development now has responsibilities for Water, Environment and Nature protection, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food Production and Food-chain Security.
Secretary of State for Rural Development Prof. Jozsef Ángyán stressed the importance of the EU Presidency during discussions with IUCN Regional Director for Pan Europope, Dr Hans Friederich. Dr Friederich visited Budapest for meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Rural Development and the National Committee of IUCN in Hungary .
Says Dr Friederich: the Presidency of the EU is an important responsibility and we hope and expect that Hungary will manage to facilitate ratification of the Access and Benefit Sharing Protocol of the CBD by all European Member States that were adopted during the 10th Conference of Parties of the CBD in Nagoya, Japan in October this year.
Zsolt Bakay from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained at the meeting of the IUCN National Committee that the main theme during the Hungarian EU Presidency will be water management, but Hungary also wishes to discuss regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms, conservation finance and the implications of climate change.
The meeting of the National Committee was organised by Mr Vilmos Kiszel, IUCN Councillor for Europe, and included presentations by Dr Friederich and Under-Secretary for Environment and Nature Protection, representing the Minister, Dr Andras Racz. It was followed by a panel discussion, between Mr Zsolt Bakay, Ms Katalin Rodics (Head of Biodiversity and Genetic Resources in the Ministry of Rural Development), and Ms Katalin Czippán (European Vice-Chair of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication) and included questions and comments from the participants.
The meeting concluded that a few questions and topics need a follow up and that similar meetings should happen more frequently in order to exchange information and discuss crucial issues.