As a member of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the Environment participates in the development of the domestic and international policies of the Republic of Poland in the areas that are not reserved to other government and local-government authorities, in particular by means of:
- ensuring the execution of Parliamentary Acts,
- issuing regulations and orders,
- coordinating and controlling the operation of government administration authorities,
- initiating and developing governmental policies in the area of the sector he administers and presenting initiatives and relevant draft normative acts at the sittings of the Council of Ministers,
- implementing policies approved by the Council of Ministers.
The Constitution of the Republic of Poland (Article 146, Article 147), Act on the Council of Ministers (Article 7 par. 2 - 4), Act on the sectors of government administration (Article 34).
Scope of operation
The detailed scope of operation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to Article 33 par. 1 point 1 of the Act on the Council of Ministers, was specified by the Regulation of the President of the Council of Ministers of 18 November 2011 on the detailed scope of operation of the Minister of the Environment (Journal of Laws No. 248, item 1493 and No. 284, item 1671). Subject to the provisions of the aforementioned Regulation, the Minister of the Environment is in charge of the "water management" and "environment" sectors of government administration.
The water management sector [Article 11 par. 1 of the Act on the sectors of government administration] encompasses the following matters:
- the development, conservation and rational use of water reserves,
- the maintenance of inland surface waters, owned by the State Treasury, together with related technical infrastructure, including water equipment and facilities,
- the construction, modernisation and maintenance of inland waterways,
- flood control, including the construction, modernisation and maintenance of flood-control facilities and the coordination of undertakings for the protection of the country against floods,
- the operation of the national hydrological and meteorological services and the national hydrological services with the exception of the groundwater quality monitoring,
- international cooperation on interstate waters within the scope of sectoral tasks.
The environmental sector [Article 28 par. 1 of the Act on the sectors of government administration] encompasses the following matters:
- environmental protection and development, and the rational use of environmental resources,
- nature conservation, including national parks, landscape parks, nature reserves, and the protection of plant and animal species, legally protected forests, animals of game and other natural formations,
- the management of natural resources,
- control over compliance with environmental requirements and the survey of the condition of the environment,
- forests and woodlands conservation,
- genetically modified organisms, with the exception of the matters related to the granting of permits to place foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals on the market as well as related to the genetically modified organisms intended as animal fodder and genetically modified fodder within the scope of certain tasks and actions set forth in specific legal regulations.
The General Director of Environmental Protection is subordinated to the Minister of the Environment (as the minister in charge of environmental issues – Article 28 par. 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 par. 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 environmental issues - Article 28 par. 3).
Within his scope of activities, the Minister of the Environment:
- determines the list of organisational units that are subordinated to him or supervised by him, by way of an announcement,
- governs, supervises and controls the operation of subordinated bodies, offices and units, in particular by means of:
- establishing and liquidating organisational units,
- appointing and dismissing the heads of organisational units,
- organising control over the efficiency of operation, efficiency of management and the observance of law by organisational units.
Act on the Council of Ministers (Article 33 par. 1d, Article 34 par. 1).
As the trustee of parts 22 and 41 of the state budget, the Minister of the Environment supervises and controls:
- the whole financial management of subordinate organisational units and the observance of the control procedure, as well as the principle of the initial assessment of the purposefulness of expenses incurred,
- the use of grants from the state budget,
- the execution of tasks financed from the state budget.
Act on public finance (Article 175 par. 2).
Principles and mode of operation
The detailed scope and mode of operation of the Minister of the Environment are specified in the provisions of:
- the Act of 8 August 1996 on the Council of Ministers (Journal of Laws of 2012, item 392),
- Resolution No. 49 of the Council of Ministers of 19 March 2002, the Rules of Procedure of the Council of Ministers (Official Gazette of the Government of the Republic of Poland No. 13, item 221, as amended).
The Minister of the Environment is also obliged to comply with the principles and mode specified in:
- the Act of 27 August 2009 on public finance (Journal of Laws No. 157, item 1240, as amended).
- the Act of 29 January 2004 Public Procurement Law (Journal of Laws of 2010 No. 113, item 759, as amended).
The Minister of the Environment performs his tasks assisted by the Secretary and Under-Secretaries of State, the Minister's Political Office [Article 37 par. 1 and 2 of the Act on the Council of Ministers] as well as bodies, offices and organisational units that are subordinated to him or supervised by him [Article 34 par. 1 of the Act on the sectors of government administration].
The Minister of the Environment specifies detailed tasks and supervises the operation of:
(a) the Minister's Office,
(b) the Minister's Political Office,
(c) the Forestry and Environmental Protection Department in relation to:
– forest and forest ground conservation,
(d) the Strategy and Communication Department.
The Minister of the Environment exercises his statutory competence in relation to:
(a) National Forest Holding "State Forests",
(b) Forest Reproductive Material Office,
(c) Forest Research Institute,
(d) Polish Hunting Association,
(e) forest schools.