Hungary has developed a complex, well-balanced institution system for the implementation of sustainable development laws and policies, including international agreements.

Institutions

Roles, rights and responsibilities

National Assembly

adopting fundamental law with several SD requirements (2011), SD framework strategy (2013) and other SD relevant laws (ongoing)

President of the Republic

representing and advocating the commitment to sustainable development within the country and in the international level, taking part in awareness raising

(Dedicated Directorate for Environmental Sustainability helps this work in the Office of the President.)

National Council for Sustainable Development

(independent, Parliament-based multi-stakeholder council established by the National Assembly)

elaborating the national framework strategy on sustainable development, preparing biennial progress report on SD in Hungary (including on implementation of UN SDG’s), participating in awareness raising, making consultations about the law proposals - gives an opinion on the draft rules of law affecting sustainability

Ombudsman for Future Generations
(Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights)

ensures the effective, coherent and most comprehensive protection of fundamental rights (including rights related to sustainability); acts as a policy advocate for sustainability issues; investigates complaints by anyone, has right to initiate the review of rules of law at the Constitutional Court

Constitutional Court

ex ante and ex post reviews of laws upon petition, annulling the challenged law is found to be contrary to the Fundamental Law (SD, the concept of the rights of future generations is layed down in the Fundamental Law)

Government

setting policies and regulations in order to implement all goals of international agreements, national strategies and Fundamental Law regarding SD

Central Statistical Office (governmental institution)

collecting data and publishing SD database and indicators, publishing biennial statistical review on SD in Hungary, managing UN and EU SD indicators, as well

 

 

 

The Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court judges the violation of fundamental rights presented by the Ombudsman and, if necessary, it can annul the laws and decrees. As the Sustainable Development principle is part of the new Fundamental Law of Hungary, such as the Constitutional Court may suspend acts or decrees which are seriously contradictory provisions to the Sustainable Development principles.

 

Ombudsman for Future Generations

In December 2007, the Hungarian Parliament modified its Act LIX on the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and in 2011 established the institution of the Ombudsman for Future Generations. Now – after the adoption of the new Funadamental Law of Hungary in 2011 – the Ombudsman for Future Generations is acting as a deputy of the Parliamentary Commissioner [Ombudsman] for Fundamental Rights. The Ombudsman’s task is to enforce the fundamental right to a healthy environment, to safeguard the interests of future generations. The Ombudsman pays special attention to the protection of the rights of children, the rights of nationalities living in Hungary, the rights of the most vulnerable social groups, values determined as the interests of future generations.

This institution is almost unprecedented in the world, but nowadays many countries and even the United Nations consider following its example.

In this capacity the Ombudsman for Future Generation a direct link between the environment, the interest of future generations and basic constitutional rights such as the right to a healthy environment and the right to physical and mental health.  In addition the Ombudsman for Future Generation investigates complaints relating to a broad range of environmental issues such as the degradation of urban green areas, noise pollution by aviation, licensing of individual industrial installations etc.

Secondly, as a guardian of future generations, the Ombudsman acts as a policy advocate for sustainability issues across all relevant fields of national or local legislation and public policy. This varies from the financing of environmental authorities through the role of civil society in environmental decision-making to transport infrastructure development.

Finally, the Deputy Commissioner aims to develop a strategic scientific research network through undertaking or promoting projects targeting the long term sustainability of human societies.

National Council for Sustainable Development (NFFT)

Establishment

National Council for Sustainable Development was created by the Hungarian Parliament as a conciliatory, consultative and advisory organ for issues in the field of sustainable development. Legal bases of the NFFT are two Parliamentary Resolutions, Parliamentary Resolution 57/2008 (19th of May 2008) on the Public Legal Status, Jurisdiction, Composition Duties and Operational Framework of the National Council for Sustainable Development and Parliamentary Resolution 100/2007 (12th of November 2007) on the Planning and Consultative Procedure of the Republic of Hungary’s Long-Term Sustainable Development.

Members of the NFFT

According to the Parliamentary Resolution, the Parliament shall request different bodies to send delegates as Council members. The about 30 members of the Council have to represent different stakeholders of the nation. About one quarter of the members are representing non-governmental civil organisations. As it is set by the Parliamentary Resolution 57/2008, the Chairperson of the Council is always the current Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament. The Council has four Co-Chairs, delegated by the Government, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the MP Groups of the Opposition Parties in the Parliament, and civil society organisations.

Type of Advice

NFFT is an independent body of the Hungarian Parliament elaborating reports, statements and recommendations. NFFT is responsible for preparing national framework strategy on SD, and for issuing a biennial progress (monitoring) report on the implementation of the national framework strategy. After the adoption the framework strategy by the National Assembly in 2013, NFFT has published two reports in 2015 and 2017.

Activities in International Networks

NFFT is a member council of the EEAC (European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils). NFFT also participates in the work of the ESDN (European Sustainable Development Network) which is an informal network of public administrators and other experts dealing with sustainable development (SD) strategies in Europe.

 

Committee on Sustainable Development of the Hungarian Parliament

The first Hungarian parliamentary committee dealing with environmental issues was set up in 1985. The Committee on Sustainable Development is the successor of the former Committee on Environmental Protection since 2010.

The Committee rely on the work of National Sustainable Development Council (NFFT) and the National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development (NFSSD).

The Committee is playing an initiative role with special care in key areas.

In addition to environmental and nature conservation issues the Committee also addresses the issue of sustainable land use and in general, the question of sustainable management of natural resources.

One of these tasks is in-depth, alternatives setting survey of energy policy inseparably intertwined with the issue of climate change. Finally, one of the most important key area is the issue of poverty in country, and the economic and social process that threaten social justice.

 

Directorate for Environmental Sustainability of the President of the Republic

The President’s Office established a new directorate responsible for environmental sustainability on January 1, 2015. The directorate is headed by Mr. Csaba Korosi, former UN ambassador. The directorate is responsible for long term sustainability issues, which arch over governing cycles. Further, the directorate holds contact to national and international bodies, educational institutions and organisations related to sustainability, prepares background information and supports the President’s Office in sustainability related issues.

 

In Hungary, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) regularly (in every two years) publishes a report on sustainable development indicators. Further, the KSH is also maintaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals indicator system as well in Hungary.