As a member of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the Environment participates in the implementation of domestic and international policies of the Republic of Poland which are not reserved to other national and local government authorities, particularly by:
- ensuring the execution of Acts of Parliament,
- issuing Regulations and Orders,
- coordinating and controlling the operation of national government administration authorities,
- within the sector which he administers, initiating and developing Government policies and presenting relevant initiatives and draft normative acts at meetings of the Council of Ministers,
- implementing policies approved by the Council of Ministers.
The Constitution of the Republic of Poland (Articles 146 and 147), the Act on the Council of Ministers (Article 7(2)–(4)), the Act on the Sectors of the National Government Administration (Article 34)
Scope of duties
A detailed scope of duties of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to Article 33(1)(1) of the Act on the Council of Ministers, was set out in the Regulation of the President of the Council of Ministers of 18 November 2011 on a detailed scope of duties of the Minister of the Environment (Official Journal of the Laws No. 248, Item 1493, and No. 284, Item 1671). In accordance with the provisions of this Regulation, the Minister of the Environment is in charge of the national government administration sectors of water management and the environment.
The water management sector [Article 11(1) of the Act on the Sectors of the National Government Administration] encompasses the issues related to:
- the development, conservation and a rational use of water resources,
- the maintenance of inland surface waters owned by the State Treasury, along with related technical infrastructure, including hydro-engineering structures and facilities,
- the construction, modernisation and maintenance of inland waterways,
- flood protection, including the construction, modernisation and maintenance of flood protection facilities, and the coordination of projects supporting the national flood warning and protection system,
- the operations of the Polish Hydrological and Meteorological Survey and the Polish Hydrological Survey, excluding the issues of groundwater quality monitoring,
- international cooperation in border waters within the scope of the tasks of the sector.
The environment sector [Article 28(1) of Act on the Sectors of the National Government Administration], encompasses the issues related to:
- the protection and development of the environment and a rational use of its resources,
- nature conservation, including in national and landscape parks and nature reserves, and the protection of species of flora and fauna, legally protected forests, game and other natural formations,
- the management of natural resources,
- control of compliance with environmental requirements and surveys on the condition of the environment,
- the protection of forests and woodlands,
- genetically modified organisms, with the exception of the issues related to the grant of permits for placing of food and pharmaceuticals on the market and the issues related to genetically modified organisms for feed use and genetically modified feeds, within the scope of certain tasks or actions laid down in relevant regulations.
The General Director for Environmental Protection is subordinated to the Minister of the Environment (as the Minister in charge of the environment – Article 28(2)).
The Minister of the Environment supervises:
- the operation of the President of the National Water Management Authority and the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (as the Minister in charge of water management – Article 11(2));
- the President of the National Atomic Energy Agency, the President of the State Mining Authority and the Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection, as well as the operation of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and the “State Forests” National Forest Holding (as the Minister in charge of the environment – Article 28(3)).
Within his scope of duties, the Minister of the Environment:
- sets out, by way of an announcement, a list of organisational units which are subordinated to him or supervised by him,
- directs, supervises and controls the operation of the authorities, offices and units which are subordinated to him; particularly, in this scope:
- he establishes and liquidates organisational units,
- he appoints and dismisses the heads of organisational units,
- he organises the control of the efficiency of operations, the efficacy of management and compliance with the law by organisational units.
The Act on the Council of Ministers (Article 33(1d), Article 34(1)).
As the administrator of sections 22 and 41 of the state budget, the Minister of the Environment supervises and controls:
- the overall financial management of the organisational units which are subordinated to him and the compliance by these units with the control procedure and the principle of an initial assessment of the purposefulness of the expenditures incurred,
- the use of grants awarded from the state budget,
- the implementation of tasks financed from the state budget.
The Act on Public Finance (Article 175(2)).
The principles and procedure of operation
A detailed scope of the principles and procedures of operation of the Minister of the Environment is laid down by the provisions of:
- the Act of 8 August 1996 on the Council of Ministers (Official Journal of the Laws of 2012, Item 392),
- the Resolution No. 190 of the Council of Ministers of 29 October 2013 on the Rules of Procedure of the Council of Ministers (Official Gazette of the Government of the Republic of Poland of 5 December 2013, Item 979).
The Minister of the Environment is also obliged to comply with the principles and procedures laid down in:
- the Act of 27 August 2009 on Public Finance (Official Journal of the Laws, No. 157, Item 1240, as amended),
- the Act of 29 January 2004 on Public Procurement Law (Official Journal of the Laws of 2010, No. 113, Item 759, as amended).
The Minister of the Environment carries out his duties with assistance from the Secretary and Undersecretaries of State, the Minister’s Political Office [Article 37(1) and (2) of the Act on the Council of Ministers] and the authorities, offices and units which are subordinated to him or supervised by him [Article 34(1) of the Act on the Sectors of the National Government Administration].
The Minister of the Environment sets out detailed tasks and supervises the operation of:
a) the Minister’s Office,
b) the Minister’s Political Office,
c) the Department of Strategy and Communication.