1. POLICY SETTING
The primary responsibility for environmental issues and for the implementation of EU environmental legislation is delegated to the Ministry of Agriculture. Within the Ministry, the State Secretariat for Environmental Affairs, Agrarian Development and Hungaricums (specific national products) is the central governing body for environmental protection and nature conservation. The task of the State Secretariat is the promotion of sustainable development, the preservation of air and soil quality, and the protection of natural assets. The following legislative frameworks, policies and initiatives are most relevant for GI:
- Since 1997, the comprehensive framework for environmental objectives and measures in Hungary has been represented by the National Environmental Programme. The Programme aims at defining environmental goals and the relevant tasks and tools for Hungary, while considering national conditions, long term social interests and future development targets and commitments related to global responsibilities, international co-operations and our EU membership.The Programme is harmonised with the 7th Environment Action Programme of the European Union for the period until 2020 and the National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development of Hungary approved by the Parliament. The Programme also serves as a basis for using the environmental funds of the EU for the 2014-2020 period.The overall objective of the Programme is to contribute to the provision of environmental conditions for sustainable development. Strategic objectives: (1) Improving the quality of life and the environmental conditions of human health; (2) Protection and sustainable use of natural values and resources; (3) Improving resource efficiency and making steps towards a green economy.
- The National Nature Conservation Master Plan of 2015-2020 (as part of the National Environmental Programme) states the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services and imposes a multisectorial approach to prevent further loss of biodiversity. Objective 22.214.171.124. is to maintain or extend the nationwide network of protected areas in order to provide the conditions for regional protection of Hungarian landscape features and natural values.
- The Hungarian Government adopted in 2014 the National Biodiversity Strategy for the period 2015-2020. The Strategy intends to halt the loss of biological diversity and further decline of ecosystem services in Hungary by 2020 and to improve their status as much as possible. This aim can only be achieved if the aspects of biodiversity conservation are integrated into cross-sectoral policies, strategies and programmes and in their implementation.
- The National Biodiversity Strategy emphasises six policy areas: 1) protection of areas and species subject to nature conservation; 2) maintenance of landscape diversity; 3) green infrastructure and ecosystem services; 4) agriculture-related issues: sustainable forest and game management and protection of water resources; 5) combating invasive alien species /non-indigenous species; and 6) Hungary’s role in the fulfilment of obligations arising from international biodiversity protection agreements. Within these strategic areas, the Strategy has 20 objectives of which two (Objectives 6 and 8) are explicitly related to GI: “Objective 6. Harmonized development of the elements of green infrastructure in order to maintain and enhance the operability of ecological systems and to promote the adaptation to the effects of climate change, including the improvement of the connections between areas of ecological and landscape ecological function, as well as the reconstruction of potential landscape elements together with the restoration of degraded ecosystems.” And “Objective 8. Integrate conservation and biological and landscape diversity enhancement aspects into comprehensive and related sectoral policies, with the tools of green infrastructure and ecosystem services, with special focus on spatial planning.” (CBD, 2014)
- The legal framework for Natura 2000 sites is governed by the government decree regulating the preparation process for designation and the detailed rules for Natura 2000 sites (Government Decree 275/2004 (X.8.)).
- The National Ecological Network is “the backbone” of green infrastructure in Hungary. The National Ecological Network includes the national importance of natural and semi-natural areas and among those link-creating ecological corridors belong to a single, coherent system, and which is part of the core areas, ecological corridors and buffer areas. The network includes different type of areas of nature conservation importance, like nature protected areas, Natura 2000 areas, high nature value areas. This accounts for 36% of the total area of the country.
- The zone of the National Ecological Network is entrenched in the municipal planning of settlements. It was incorporated into the spatial planning regulation. Act No. XXVI. of 2003 on National Spatial Plan (which is the main regulation for land use planning in Hungary) defines the zones of the network (core area, ecological corridor, buffer zone). These zones were harmonized with the Pan-European ecological network-related category system in 2009.
- Act XXVI of 2003 on National Spatial Planning lays down the national regulations for land use and the spatial framework of spatial planning in order to harmonise land use in Hungary’s settlements and regions of different features and to develop a uniform infrastructure network. It was updated in 2013. The spatial plan ensures the protection of natural, landscape and cultural heritage values, primarily through rules of zones. The zone of the national ecological network includes natural and semi-natural habitats of national importance and the unified and composite system of ecological corridors, which provide links between them. In the zone of core areas and ecological corridors, the rules restrict the designation of areas for development, the placement of transport infrastructure and new surface mines. These regulations indirectly contribute to the protection of biodiversity (CBD, 2014).
- The area of the National Ecological Network was updated in 2014 and the National Spatial Plan was amended accordingly, keeping the regulations of the zones of the ecological networks (EC, 2017). Lead by the Ministry of Environment and Water, two of the aims of the National Ecological Network focus on implementing GI and emphasizing connectivity for the conservation of nature. The network is said “to maintain, conserve, restore and manage connections between the areas of the ecological network in Hungary; to aid species conservation through improved connectivity and reduced fragmentation” (IEEP, 2010).
- The most important legislation of the national land-use planning Acts (Act XXVI of 2003 on the National Spatial Planning, Act No. CXXII of 2000 on the Spatial Plan Balaton Resort District Area, Act No. LXIV of 2005 on the Spatial Plan of Budapest Agglomeration Area) is under review in 2017. The review focuses partly on the functional revision of the ecological network’s zonation (core area, buffer zone, ecological corridor) and on maintaining connectivity between the zones.
- Hungary prepared the country’s first National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) and submitted it to the Council in 2007. The new NSDS was accepted by the National Council for Sustainable Development on 16th May 2012, and has been adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in 2013. The National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development for the period of 2012–2024, entitled “National concept on the transition towards sustainability”, was adopted by Resolution 18/2013. (III.28.) of the Hungarian Parliament in the spring of 2013.
- Hungary’s second National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS II) – review of the first National Climate Change Strategy – was submitted to the Hungarian Parliament in May 2017, and will be accepted during the summer of 2017. The National Decarbonisation Strategy and the National Adaptation Strategy are part of the NCCS II. The National Adaptation Strategy, among its short term action lines on nature conservation, names the coordinated development of “green infrastructure” elements, including natural, semi-natural and rehabilitated habitats, in order to strengthen the physical connections and links between them, to enhance their sustainability and resilience. For the period 2014-2020, climate change adaptation and risk management and preserving biodiversity/developing “green-infrasturcture” are the most frequently occuring areas of adaptation support within the majority of operative programmes.
- In 2016 October, a new “National Forest Strategy 2016-2030” (NFS) came into force. According to the NFS, there is an increasing social support for efforts promoting nature conservation in forests and the expansion of close-to nature forest management.
- In Hungary, the Landscape Convention (Act CXI of 2007 on the promulgation of the European Landscape Convention dated in Florence on 20 October, 2000) took effect on 1 February, 2008. The minister responsible for nature protection shall provide for the implementation of the Landscape Convention in agreement with the minister responsible for cultural heritage protection and in cooperation with the minister responsible for territorial development and spatial planning.
- The National Landscape Strategy 2017-2026 was adopted by the Governmental Decision 1128/2017. (III.20.). The document is closely related to the European Landscape Convention of the Council of Europe. The framework for the complex preservation, protection, planning and development of green infrastructure elements is the landscape that describes environment and space as a complex whole.
- The new Forest Act was adopted in 2009 – Act No. XXXVII. of 2009 on Forests, Protection of Forests and Forest Management. This new Act determines general rules of sustainable forest management and gives the opportunity to have a sustainable and more environmentally friendly forest management of different property and management forms. The new Forest Act is to drive forests closer to their natural conditions. The act prescribes the use of continuous cover forestry methods on a predetermined area of state-owned forests and enables NGOs’ contribution in forest management planning.
- Updated in 2015, the Danube River Basin District Management Plan contributes to protecting the Black Sea ecosystem by reducing pollution and by fostering the migration of long-distance migratory fish species. It can also help to protect habitats and species, support the implementation of Natura 2000 and European Green Infrastructure (ICPDR, 2015).
2. IMPLEMENTATION OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
- The project Ten thousand new trees to Budapest! was launched with the help of the Municipal Government of Budapest and consists of planting trees in 8,000 empty bunkers by 2019. This year, the FÖKERT Nonprofit Ltd. has planted 1,653 trees. The present tree plantations take place in the 20th district of Budapest, 62 streets, using a total of 18 species. By the the completion of the programme, 1,127 currently empty farms will be planted.
- Green infrastructure – Development concept for green spatial system of Budapest has been written, based on the mandate of the Local Government of Budapest Capital. It is a comprehensive, holistic attempt to summarise the duties related to green infrastructure, to summarise progress over the past 10-15 years, as well as to set goals for strengthening liveability, sustainability, and environmental awareness. The plan takes into account the quality and quantity alterations of Budapest’s green spatial planning by elaborating a monitoring system, and aims at a proper green spatial structure based on attributes of landscape, regional and urban structures.
- The Hungarian Green City Initiative focuses on greening measures in general, implementing green spaces in cities. The city of Miskolc is the first city involved in the Green City initiative of integrating green infrastructure in urban spatial planning and builds its urban development strategy and concrete actions around sustainability. The local authorities of Miskolc and the Green City Nonprofit Kft., representing the movement since the beginning of 2011, signed a Memorandum on 21 June 2011. The purpose of the cooperation is to achieve the objectives of the Green City Principles, namely:
- the reintegration of the city into the ecosystem, to built a more viable and sustainable city;
- developing a sustainable, environmentally friendly culture;
- integrity, optimal use of ecosystem services;
- AngyalZÖLD (“AngelGREEN”) Strategy and Programme: The local government of the XIII district (Angyalföld/”Angel-land”) was the first to put in place a green patial strategy and a green network-development programme in 2008. With the request of an integrated and coordinated approach for well-developed and operated public spaces, this was expanded into a public-space-level and green network strategy called AngyalZÖLD+ in 2014. Later the AngyalZÖLD+ strategy and programme 2015-2019 was also born. The long-term vision of the strategy is to develop and operate the public road-, parking- and green network, with the integrated view of sectors.
The LIFE Nature and Biodiversity Programme, funded by the European Union, has supported a number of successful projects in recent years. Relevant examples include:
- LIFE Old-Drava - Transboundary cooperation for revitalization of riverine habitat complex in Drava region within Natura 2000 sites (06/2014 – 05/2018) (LIFE13 NAT/HU/000388) - aims to contribute to the conservation and resilience of riparian habitats by improving the water regime, thereby preserving and enhancing biodiversity in and around an oxbow lake. (www.olddrava.com)
- LIFE sodic wetlands - Restoration of Pannonic sodic wetlands in the Kiskunság (10/2013 – 06/2019) (LIFE12 NAT/HU/001188) – aims to restore the original water dynamics and natural habitats of the Böddi-szék Pannonic sodic lake and its catchment area, which is one of the most important examples of this priority wetland habitat type in the Carpathian Basin. (www.sodicwetlands.com)
- KASZO LIFE - Restoration and conservation of alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior in Kaszo (09/2013 – 08/2018) (LIFE12 NAT/HU/000593) - The basic threat to the project area, the Natura 2000 network sites of the West-Inner-Somogy natural micro region (south-west Hungary), is a decrease in groundwater levels caused by diminishing total annual rainfall; the earlier demolition of natural water-retaining landforms; and forced drainage of land as a flood prevention measure. The project’s overall objectives are to manage the targeted Natura 2000 sites in south-west Hungary and to restore degraded natural habitats. (www.kaszo-life.eu/en/)
- KEHOP (EEEOP) Priority Axis 1: Adaptation to climate change impacts
The objective is to promote climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management. Investments aim to provide a policy basis for climate change adaptation, as well as to develop disaster management and civil protection related risk management, industrial safety and fire protection measures. Measures include climatology modelling, evaluation of regional vulnerability, modelling of water resources, improving monitoring systems surveying the condition of waters, and creating a 3rd Water Catchment Area Management Plan for Hungary. In addition, it entails awareness raising of climate change issues and development of local climate strategies.
- KEHOP (EEEOP) Priority axis 4: Nature protection and wildlife protection related developments
The objective is to develop green infrastructure and restore degraded ecosystems, to improve the conservation status and conditions of natural values and sites of community interest, in line with the EU’s 2020 Biological Diversity Strategy. Investments aim to improve the infrastructure required for the direct management of protected and Natura 2000 sites, as well as the efficiency of the nature preservation guarding service. Good practices, presenting the Natura 2000 network locally will also be available. By restoring 15% of the Natura 2000 network, which forms the backbone of degraded ecosystems and the Hungarian green infrastructure, projects of this objective will have an important role in the preservation and development of ecosystem related services, which are a key aspect of sustainable economic growth and the quality of life of the residents, in the preservation of jobs relating to the utilisation of protected and Natura 2000 sites and the establishment of new jobs. Wherever required, in relation to the projects the basic infrastructure, demonstrating the respective area, will be put in place with the development and related awareness raising activities can contribute to the understanding and preservation of the respective natural assets.
- LIFE – “Municipalities as integrators and coordinators in adaptation to climate change”
The programme was launched in the framework of the traditional LIFE projects (LIFE16CCA/HU/000115). The overall goal of the project is to improve climate resilience of vulnerable municipalities in Hungary by reducing their risks stemming from climate change. For this purpose, the proposal will offer testing, introducing and fostering the integration of sustainable ecosystem-based water management approaches into natural resources management strategies and land use planning practice of local governments. Additionally, the goal is to strengthen the coordination role of local municipalities in climate change adaptation planning and recognition of risks. The project will address a key cross-sectoral issue: the use of natural water retention measures in CCA and sustainable water management. It seeks ecosystem-based solutions for the mitigation of the water challenge. The project will develop and propmote integrated ecosystem-based solutions of natural water retention measures that support the sustainable land use practices and increase ecological flows, the quality of water available for nature. Water retention in the landscape contributes to halting the loss of biodiversity and the restoration of ecosystem services through creating green infrastructure.
Cross border projects
- The European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (ratified by Hungary in 2011) includes the development of green infrastructure to connect different bio-geographic regions and habitats along the Danube river, amongst other biodiversity goals (CBD, 2014).
- The TRANSGREEN project aims to develop an environmentally-friendly and safe transport network in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine (CEEweb, n.d.). TRANSGREEN aims to contribute to safer and environmentally-friendly road and rail networks in mountainous regions of the Danube Basin with a special focus on the Carpathian Mountains. It will do so by improving planning frameworks and developing concrete environmentally-friendly and safe road and rail transport solutions taking into account elements of Green Infrastructure, in particular ecological corridors (Interreg: Danube Transnational Programme, 2017a). The implementation period is between 1 January 2017 and 30 July 2019. The budget for this project is EUR 2,481,321.
- GreenInfraNet (12/2011 – 12/2014) was a partnership of 11 regions from across Europe. During the project, partners worked together to promote the development and implementation of green infrastructure in EU regions through the exchange of experience and expertise and by identifying, analysing and transferring good practices. The three-year project was launched in April 2012 and was co-funded by the EU programme INTERREG IVC (Regional Environmental Center, n.d.).
- INTERREG DTP project “Danubian Green Belt”: The main objective is to contribute to the implementation of the EU Danube Strategy by further development of the Green Belt as backbone of EU Green infrastructure in order to maintain and enhance ecosystems and their services by 2020 in the Danube Region. One specific objective is the development and application of new methods for analysing connectivity between protected areas and for identifying the quality of non-protected areas between protected areas based on already developed and proven connectivity- and gap-analysis methods. From Hungary, the Fertő-Hanság National Park Directorate, the Duna-Drava National Park Directorate and the Őrseg National Park Directorate are taking part as members, while the Ministry of Agriculture is a strategic member.
- Interreg, Danube-Transnational Programme: COOP MDD - Transboundary management programme for the planned 5-country biosphere reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube” (01/2017- 06/2019): Spanning across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia, the riverine landscape of the lower courses of the Drava and Mura and related Danube sections form a 700 kilometres long “green belt” connecting almost 1,000,000 hectares of highly valuable natural and cultural landscapes into one of Europe’s most important bio-corridors. The main aim of the project is to foster the restoration and management of ecological corridors through the Transboundary Management Programme for River-Dynamic Corridor Development to ensure harmonised management practices and well-functioning cooperation among the various management authorities. Pilot implementation actions bring the Transboundary Management Programme to the ground.
- DANUBEPARKS is the Network of Protected Areas along the Danube currently comprising 20 areas represented by different partner institutions (public authorities, public enterprises, NGOs). The Network cooperates in different fields of work that are important to all partners and where solutions depend on a transnationally coherent strategy. The “DANUBEPARKS STEP 2.0” project (2012-2014) involved topics of transnational relevance: supporting green infrastructure by preservation and restoration of natural river dynamics and floodplain forests, improvement of nature tourism and environmental education offers.
- Danube Transnational Programme: “Danubeparks connected - bridging the Danube protected areas towards a Danube habitat corridor” (2017-2019) (Hungarian-Croatian project): The specific objective of the project is to foster the restoration and management of ecological corridors. The project has initiated the DANUBE HABITAT CORRIDOR campaign to counteract fragmentation. It offers Danube-wide strategies and exemplary activities aiming to restore and maintain connectivity in habitat elements. From Hungary, the Danube-Drava National Park takes part in the project.
3. MAINSTREAMING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
The EU Natura 2000 network is at the core of the EU's Green Infrastructure. Hungary hosts 46 habitat types and 142 species covered by the Habitats Directive. The country also hosts populations of 78 bird species listed in the Birds Directive and 23 migratory species. By early 2016, 21.44% of the national land area of Hungary was covered by Natura 2000 (EU average 18.1%), with 56 Birds Directive SPAs covering 14.78% (EU average 12.3%) and 479 Habitats Directive SCIs covering 15.25% (EU average 13.8%) (European Commission, 2017).
Since 2015, in the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), farmers entitled to payment under the single area payment scheme shall observe, on all their eligible hectares, agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment. In return, they receive the so-called greening payment.
The former Ministry of Rural Development elaborated in 2011 a homestead development programme. Homestead is the more secular past retrospective part of the Hungarian social, settlement structural and economic historical heritage. The main goal is to protect the unique values of homestead regions. The Ministry of Agriculture launched it in 2015 for the first time in the Homestead Development Programme in target V as the "Productive Village Programme" after realising the potential of these areas to revitalise the former backyards, neglected areas with the aim to increase rural people’s income-generating and tradition-preserving capacity.
The Act CXXIX of 2007 on the protection of arable land contains provisions about quantitative and qualitative protection of arable land to support the preservation of the limitedly available land reserves and maintaining them for agricultural production. The land protection procedure is an official procedure that is in connection with issuing permits, commenting and economic incentives referring to agricultural land. Land protection supports the maintenance of green infrastructure in an indirect way as agricultural areas can be used for other purposes with a permit only. It also requires payment of the land protection contribution – a legally determined compensation in favour of the State for the permitted utilisation of the agricultural land for other purposes. This supports the maintenance of green infrastructure and protects the natural and semi-natural habitats from conversion into areas of investments.
The protection and enhancement of green infrastructure is enriched by a number of fisheries elements. These include the support scheme promoting the preservation of nature-friendly fish production practices and the natural-water habitat development and habitat restoration projects in the framework of the Fisheries Operational Programme of Hungary, co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. National funds are also used for the management and development of natural-water fish habitats in the form of support provided to state fisheries functions. The legal framework for this is provided by a legislative act focusing on the sustainable exploitation and the protection of natural fish stocks and habitats – Act CII of 2013 on Fisheries and the Protection of Fish and its implementing regulations. The protection and enhancement of water areas with fisheries relevance that form part of green infrastructure may be influenced by different exploitation needs and by water regime changes also related to climate change. However, to our present knowledge, these different interests can continue to be managed in the coming years.
The forest area in Hungary has been gradually increasing in the last 80 years, due to large forest afforestation and tree planting carried out under the direction of foresters. Forest cover is 20.9% in Hungary. In 2016, the total area of forestry use is 2,060,814 ha. According to the National Afforestration Program, the afforestation will continue in the future, the extent of forest cover is to be increased from the current level to an optimal one (26-27%). The distribution of forest by primary function is production forests in 62.4%, protection forests in 36.5%, and recreation forests in 1.1%, respectively. Protection forests include protective forests (soil, water protection, etc.) and protected forests (i.e. protected natural areas). Application of forest management methods support the maintenance of vulnerable and or rare forest ecosystems and species.
A long term goal is to maintain the environmental, economic and social services of forests with multi-purpose (sustainable) forest management. Maintenance of forest ecosystems and forest species and safeguarding and appropriate enhancement of forest biological diversity and naturalness through sustainable forest management.
The Green City Calls published by the Territorial and Settlement Development Operational Programme offer funds for the development of green infrastructure. In the period 2014-2020, support is provided to the compilation of Green Infrastructure Development and Maintenance Plans. For towns with county rights and for other major towns, the available amount is HUF 20 million; for smaller towns, the amount is proportionately smaller.
The Prime Minister’s Office produced methodological assistance material on the Green Infrastructure Development and Maintenance Action Plan (ZIFFA) for local governments and experts involved in the planning process. The ZIFFA, falling in line with integrated settlement development strategies, defines systematic proposals for the settlement as a whole. Its objective is to ensure that the developments to be implemented are in line with the green infrastructure network in an efficient and sustainable manner.
In towns with county rights, those green infrastructure elements that are not eligible for support from EU funds yet are indispensable are financed, proportionately to the needs of the towns involved, from the Modern Towns Programme. In every settlement, local regulations on townscape are prepared, based on the Townscape Image Manuals. Such regulations contain provisions on the establishment and protection of green infrastructure. Emphasis is palced on recording the biological activity value measured during settlement development; settlements are urged to consider such values as assets and have a sense of ownership in that regard.
As far as planning and regulation are concerned, spatial planning does not offer a direct definition of “green infrastructure”. At the same time, the spatial plan of Hungary, its priority regions and its 19 counties, contain numerous elements of structural planning and regulatory zones, along with relevant rules that, generally, are intended to ensure protection. The major elements of spatial planning that are considered as part of green infrastructure or regulate green infrastructure are as follows:
- forest management area, agricultural land, water management area;
- zones of national ecological networks (core area, ecological corridor, buffer area), zones of excellent-quality and good-quality arable land, zones of excellent-quality forest area, zones of areas of special landscape protection, zones of areas for afforestation;
the Balaton Act expressly names and strictly protects municipal green spaces.
- The spatial plan of Hungary and its two priority regions are supported by a strong legislative background:
- Act XXVI of 2003 on the National Spatial Plan
- Act CXII of 2000 on the approval of the Spatial Plan of the Balaton Priority Resort Area and on the establishment of the Balaton Spatial Planning Regulations
- Act LXIV of 2005 on the Spatial Plan for the Budapest Agglomeration
The main objective of spatial planning in Hungary is to evolve a suitable spatial structure for the social, economic and environmental objectives, and create the conditions for sustainable spatial development at the same time.
The Act XXVI of 2003 on the National Spatial Plan lays down the national regulations for land use and the spatial framework of spatial planning in order to harmonise land-use in Hungary’s settlements and regions of different features and to develop a uniform infrastructure network. The National Spatial Plan includes the Plan of National Spatial Structure, the national zones and their regulations. The spatial plan ensures the protection of natural, landscape and cultural heritage through rules of zones primarily. In this indirect regulation the protection of natural values and ecosystems ensured by the restrictive rules of zones. The zone of the national ecological network (core area, ecological and green corridor and buffer area) including natural and semi-natural habitats of national importance and the unified and composite system of ecological corridors which provide links between them. In the zone of core areas and ecological corridors the rules restrict the designation of areas for development, the placement of transport infrastructure and new surface mines, as well as the prescription that the utility lines fit into the landscape.
The core of green infrastructure are the green surfaces (“green” elements) and the water surfaces (“blue” elements). The Green Infrastructure elements should be considered with respect to Water management or Disaster risk reduction are as follows:
- Water (“blue” elements): designated water bodies (RBMP), elements of the water network, (connections: e.g. river and flood basin, elements providing interoperability)
- “Green elements” providing water quality protection: filtration fields, buffer strips
- “Green elements” providing urban runoff management: green roofs, permeable pavements, other water retainers, water utilisation based on biological engineering, rain depots
- “Green elements” in flood protection: protect-tive forests, areal water retention (apart from flood bed), flora helping water retention: forests, water related ecosystems; land uses decreasing erosion on the upper river basin
Rural development programme
The development of ecosystem services (e.g. using green fallow, grassland, bee meadow) indirectly contributes to the improvement of water quality and water and nutrient retention. The altered land use decreases run-off, erosion, use of nutrients and chemicals and increases the retention of contaminants.
There are also developments to improve water quality, such as water retention with furrow dikes, canals and terraces, benching, grassy ramparts, collection canals for erosion protection. Habitats for water quality protection include: water protection buffer zones (min. 40 m wide grass) and water related ecosystems. Water retention measures and reduction of pressures and contamination contribute to better water supply and more variable land use which contributes to the decrease of drought sensibility.
Agri-environmental payments have a crucial role in the decrease of the adverse effects of agriculture on water status. Water resources are not uniformly available (in space and time), thus their use should be regulated taking into account sustainable development. The value of the water usage – and mostly the extent of its protection- depends on the available quantity, the priority and the purpose of its usage, the type and quality of water and production cost (or its recharge). In order to fully or partly cover the social and natural costs connected to water usage, a water resource fee must be paid. Some purposes are exempt from the payment of contributions such as surplus water for ecological purposes, good water usage practices (e.g. utilisation of water from retention of excess water at the end of winter), for disaster mitigation (e.g. fire water exception). The main aims of projects and investments, for the improvement of the status of water and development of green infrastructures, are the following: restoration of migration routes, bank zone rehabilitation, natural water retention, artificial water recharge. Providing the space for flooding in floodplains ensures sustainability and predictability, both in nature conservation and in economic terms.
Disaster risk reduction
“Risk response planning activities” by the professional risk management organisation and its authorisation and supervision provide reduction of disaster vulnerability and ecosystem sustainability risks and increase the capability to climate change adaptation. One tool of risk reduction is the prevention, permitting, and controlling authority activity, dealing with risks of natural and built environment (e.g. Seveso III. Directive, ADR, RID, AND, ICAO Regulations, National Fire Safety Regulation). Disaster response capacity has been recently increased by last year’s development; voluntary rescue teams are continuously joining to risk effects mitigation and remediation processes. Their work is financially supported by state tenders.
The Hungarian government accepted the National Transport Strategy (NTS) in August 2014. The social goal of the NTS is to decrease the harmful impacts on environment through the existing EU and Hungarian regulations (e.g.: measurement of environmental impacts, Natura2000 impact assessment in planning). The economic challenge of the development of green infrastructure is to be accepted by the sector.
The latest amendment (in 2014.) of the Act on National Spatial Planning (No. XXVI. of 2003) provides detailed regulation for each element of the state ecological network, which must be taken into account during the municipal, county and regional level planning process. The law provides guidance for certain other activities. For example, in the zones of core area and ecological corridor the elements of the transport and energy infrastructure networks, power stations and small power stations can be placed using technical solutions which ensure the survival of natural habitat and functioning of the ecological relationships between them.
Tourism and leisure
INSiGHTS – Integrated slow, green and healthy tourism strategies: Eight integrated sustainable tourism strategies will be developed by the partner regions on the basis of the common Guidelines which will be adaptable across the Danube region. The Comprehensive Model, co-created via a set of innovative exchange sessions, will offer novel solutions along the three Thematic Pillars of INSiGHTS, such as (1) integrated tourism management schemes, (2) coordinated tourism supply development linked to greenways, (3) promotion of healthy & eco-conscious lifestyle (Interreg: Danube Transnational Programme, 2017b).
In the framework of operational programmes (e.g.: GINOP - Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme; VEKOP - Competitive Central Hungary Operational Programme, TOP - Territorial and Settlement Development Operational Programme) touristic projects and investments are established which support the maintenance and development of green infrastructure. The aim of the GINOP 7.1.2-15 and VEKOP 4.1.1-15 “Infrastructural development of active tourism networks” tenders is to establish an integrated connection of environment friendly leisure-time-activities being taken at natural places. Projects that promote the development of the five activities (walking, cycling, horse-riding, canoeing, and sailing) contribute to the expansion of active and green tourism as well as the establishment and development of green infrastructure.
Urban green space is often appreciated for its ecological, aesthetic and recreational opportunities. The recreational function in health resort areas and spa parks is even more pronounced, since they are often visited by patients with respiratory disorders like allergy and asthma. Allergy affects more than 150 million people in Europe, where it is one of the most common chronic diseases. It is therefore important to select non-allergenic plants in green space planning and suppress overall allergenicity of existing parks during their maintenance. The National Public Health Institute, Hungary published a recommendation for low or no allergenic plants. According to this document, the burden of allergy could be reduced by the regulation of green space planning and maintenance. The recommendation contains a list of allergenic plants to be avoided, especially tree taxa. Low allergenicity of green areas is an important criterion in towns applying for Health Resort Status.
Education, sport and culture
Relevant initiatives include the Hungarian National Parks' Week and the “Youth Ranger” programme (an environmental education programme for students). Approximately 140,000 people participated in the National Park Directorates’ environmental education programmes every year. Nearly 9,000 children got acquainted with the protected areas and values during the 3-5 days forest school and forest kindergarten sessions. Yearly, more than 50,000 children participated in Forestries’ Forest Schools. National park directorates established 12 eco-tourism facilities and educational trails, for a total of HUF 727 million in 2007-2013.
Within the project “Widening the Ecoschool and Green Kindergarten Programmes in Hungary”, a nationwide network of environmental educational resource centres was set up, and teaching aids and further training courses for teachers were prepared for teaching sustainability, to develop knowledge of the Natura 2000 network, and to exploit the opportunities provided by these assets. The training of green kindergarten and ecoschool coordinators by the project’s regional resource centres achieved the most effective results of the project. In the four years of the project, over 700 new institutions joined the two educational networks on a voluntary basis.
In the construction of new sports facilities, the designers also strive to apply architectural solutions which maximise green surface.
According to Government Decree 253/1997. (XII.20.) on National requirements for urban planning and construction, the following sustainability aspects must be taken into account during the planning, realisation and demolition of sport facilities: protection of ecological values, including safeguarding protected natural areas and values, and the creation of harmony between the constructed environment and nature. Inter alia – at least - the minimum extension of green area must be defined referring to building zones of new areas under construction or areas under remarkable redevelopment.
4. FINANCING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
Making good use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) is essential to achieve the
environmental goals and integrate these into other policy areas. Other instruments such as Horizon 2020, the LIFE programme and the EFSI may also support implementation and spread of best practice.
Financing nature conservation
In order to support the protection of species and habitats of community interest as well as to ensure conditions necessary for improving their conservation status, a significant amount of nature conservation investments was implemented during recent years and many are still in progress today. The majority of investments was implemented with the financial support of EU funds (e.g. European Regional Development Fund, LIFE etc.)
In 2007-2013 a total of HUF 45.3 billion was made available for implementing direct nature conservation investments, in the framework of the Environment and Energy Operational Programme and the Central-Hungary Operational Programme. The majority of investments targeted the improvement of natural habitats and of nature management infrastructure, thus contributing directly to maintaining and improving the conservation status of species and habitats of community interest of target areas.
As a continuation of the past period, direct nature conservation investments were incorporated into the multiannual financial framework of 2014-2020 as well. In line with the National Prioritised Action Framework for Natura 2000, approved by the European Commission in March 2013, investment needs are reflected in a number of programmes for 2014-2020.
In these programmes nature conservation investments received their separate priority axis, whose indicators are identical with the ones defined in the National Prioritised Action Framework for Natura 2000. In the two programmes together, HUF 34.3 billion is available for the implementation of direct nature conservation investments, and projects improving the conservation status of species and habitats of community interest are to reach at least 100,000 hectares of protected areas and/or Natura 2000 sites.
In the period 2010-2014, 13 Hungarian LIFE nature projects were successfully launched. These received in total an EU financial contribution of € 32.6 million, allowing the implementation of large scale ecological restoration investments and complex species’ restoration interventions.
Environmental and Energy Efficiency Operational Programme 2014-2020 for Hungary
The programme aims to support sustainable growth and contribute to achieving the Europe 2020 targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It should improve flood protection, provide better waste and wastewater management services and good quality drinking water to more residents, help protect natural habitats and species, and it should improve energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. The Programme will focus on five main funding priorities:
- Adaptation to climate change impacts
- Development of water supply, wastewater disposal and cleaning, wastewater management
- Waste management and environmental remediation related developments
- Nature protection and wildlife protection related developments
- Promoting energy and the use of renewable energy sources” (EC, n.d.)
The Programme text mentions Green Infrastructure several times
As the main source of funding for direct nature conservation investments, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is among the main contributors developing green infrastructure in Hungary. Within the Environment and Energy Efficiency Operational Programme for 2014-2020, a separate priority axis is dedicated to supporting nature conservation projects, with a total allocation of EUR 100 million. These funds are available for investments in less developed regions. However, to ensure national coverage, additional ERDF allocation of EUR 5.9 million is provided for investments in the more developed region of Central Hungary through the Competitive Central Hungary Operational Programme.
Overall, the investment package of the two programmes includes ecological restoration and species restoration investments (45 projects, EUR 75.1 million) aiming to improve the conservation status of species and habitats of community interest and investments in site management infrastructure (11 projects, EUR 14.9 million). Within these projects, directly targeting a total area of 90,800 hectares of Natura 2000 sites and/or protected areas, development of green infrastructure appears as the tool for improving conservation status, either through on-site interventions or by improving site management capacities.
As for forests, the Natura 2000 restrictions are laid down in the forest district decrees, whose format changed in 2011. Compensation for these restrictions began for privately owned forests in 2012, under Decree No. 41/2012. (IV. 27.) of the Rural Development Minister on the detailed rules of compensation payments from the European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund to forestry activities in Natura 2000 forests. Payments may reach up to 230 EUR/ha/year in certain cases. Forest managers applied for this payment for a total of 90,000 ha of forest until 2014.
In addition to the above-mentioned first level of compensation schemes, where restrictions are obligatory, the second level is based on voluntary undertakings of the agri-environmental scheme.
Under the agri-environmental scheme announced in 2015 and applied on a broad scale, farmers who submit their applications for Natura 2000 land enjoy a preference in the qualification system (farmers receive nearly 10% of the scores due to the fact that their land is in a Natura 2000 site).
The conservation of wetlands is a priority issue in Hungary, therefore regulations concerning wetland conservation exist not only in the nature conservation legislation, but are also integrated into legislation on fish and water management.
In addition to legislation, wetland conservation is also promoted by various payment schemes. In addition to project opportunities for direct habitat enhancement under nature conservation funds, the withdrawal from farmland use and creation or enhancement of wetlands in regularly flooded areas can also be supported by the fund allocated from the European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund for water protection investments pertaining to climate change adaptation and agri-environment. The scoring system is preferential to farmland lying in Natura 2000 sites.
The Hungarian Fishery Operative Programme supports nature-friendly fish farming in Natura 2000 sites: the scheme supports the enhancement of spawning sites, ensuring migration corridors of migratory fish, rehabilitation of natural wetlands, elimination of invasive alien fish species, and the protection and restoration of wetland ecosystems.
Non-productive investments are investments which do not generate a significant return, income, but have a positive environmental impact. Public support for non-productive investments provides a financial incentive for the owners of agricultural holdings to undertake this type of environment friendly investments. They have a varied content, ranging from the restoration of landscape features to creating and restoring habitat or landscape elements, helping the management of the Natura 2000 sites. Approximately EUR 6.4 million were spent on non-productive investments between 2011 and 2015.
The Rural Development Programme
In the New Hungary Rural Development Plan (NHRDP) 2009-2014, within 21 agri-environmental schemes nearly 15,000 farmers were supported on 1.2 million ha. The total area under special nature protection aimed by zonal High Nature Value (HNV) agri-environmental schemes was more than 200,000 ha.
In the new agri-environmental scheme announced in 2015 in the framework of the Rural Development Program 2014-2020, 11,327 applications were submitted. It includes several supported applications for green infrastructure investments such as “Natura 2000 compensatory payments”, “Conservation of forest genetic resources”, or “Investments to increase the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems”, “Planting of hedges on the edges of agricultural boards”, “installation of grassland habitat”, “development of coastal water protection buffer zone”, “Establishing wet habitats”, etc.
One of the 6 rural priorities for Hungary focuses on “Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry. Under this priority Hungary will target interventions on territories with inland water and drought problems and on high nature values areas. Around 11.5% of agricultural land and 6.4% of forests will be under management contracts for supporting biodiversity, to improve water and soil management. Around 26% of the allocated EAFRD funds will be used for area-based payments to farmers for using environment/climate-friendly land management practices, including organic farming, support to areas facing natural constraints and support to areas under Natura 2000 management (EC, n.d.).
In terms of restoring degraded ecosystems, the support called “Subsidies for restoring forest resources caused by forestry potential” (started on 28 January 2016) are of great importance to the implementation of the green infrastructure strategy.
AKG – Agri-environmental Scheme / MTÉT – HNV High Nature Value
The national ecological network includes different type of areas of nature conservation importance, like nature protected areas, Natura 2000 areas, high nature value (HNV) areas. Under the agri-environmental scheme announced in 2015 and applied on a broad scale, farmers who submit their applications for Natura 2000 land enjoy a preference in the qualification system (farmers receive nearly 10% of the scores due to the fact that their land is in a Natura 2000 site).
In the New Hungary Rural Development Plan (NHRDP) 2009-2014, within 21 agri-environmental schemes nearly 15 000 farmers were supported on 1.2 million ha. The total area under special nature protection aimed by zonal HNV agri-environmental schemes was more than 200 thousand ha.
In the new agri-environmental scheme announced in 2015 in the framework of the Rural Development Program 2014-2020, 11,327 applications were submitted to the 16 thematic restriction packages. In addition to the horizontal arable land, grassland, reed and plantation packages, 12 zonal packages are available, including the HNV packages. Under the agri-environmental scheme, farmers who undertake the zonal-thematic restriction packages receive EUR 183-439/ha/year compensation payment, depending on the land use type and on the package. Total area under special nature protection aimed by zonal HNV packages is 116,000 ha.
The Rural Development Programme (RDP) measures indirectly contribute to the environmental objectives. The following measures are focusing on environment: restore, preserve, improve the biodiversity including the Natura 2000 areas and the areas facing natural constraints or other specific constraints and high nature value farming and restoration and conservation and improvement of the state of European landscapes.
Financing of the Homestead Development Programme
This Programme is one of the successful programmes of the National Rural Development Strategy. The aim of the Programme is the renewal of the farmed areas in concentrated farm areas, which is particularly justified and necessary. These people must have the same living conditions, quality of life, management conditions as those living in larger settlements. This is funded entirely from national sources in 2017. The Programme is available in Hungary's 2017 Central Budget with a total budget of HUF 1225 million, out of which HUF 300,000 million is spent on the Backyard Revitalization Programme. The objectives of the 2017 Programme have been determined in line with the Rural Development Programme.
Financing of the Green Infrastructure Development Action Plan
The objective of the Green Infrastructure Development Action Plan is the financial support of settlements’ applications submitted to the tender of Territorial and Settlement Development Operational Programme (TOP) 2.1.2-15/6.3.2-15 Green Cities Projects. It contributes to the settlement-level implementation of green infrastructure in the EU and develops the integrated planning ability of our settlements. The Green Cities programme mainly intends to promote a more healthy and climate-friendly environment in urban areas. These kinds of actions are important tools of attractiveness as well as development of the green economy, population retention. According to the content of ZIFFA, besides the TOP Green Cities Projects, applications submitted to TOP 2.1.1-15/6.3.1-15 Rehabilitation of brownfields and TOP-2.1.3-15/6.3.3-15 Environmental infrastructure-development for settlements can be well grounded.
EFOP - Human Resource Development Operational Programme
According to the general guidance the application calls of every operational programme: all of the EFOP projects are allowed to have environmental components. Expenditures related to the implementation of the horizontal objective as well as the monitoring of the implementation’s efficiency can be covered, with special regard to the environmental and natural objectives below.
b.) Conserving natural resources and improving the efficiency of their utilizations:
- by restoring the natural or almost natural vegetation (with regard to the specialties of the given areas), planting forest areas
- by developing urban green spatial, and connecting them to the National Ecological Network
- by restoring the (landscape) ecological connections
- by enhancing the preservation level and natural condition of protected areas
- by decreasing the number of invasive species’ individuals
- by forming the green spatial of a site being under construction (with preferably preserving the existing vegetation) in a way that ensure the numerical value of the biological activity based on the 9/2007. (IV. 3.) ÖTM decree will not decrease in contrast to the state of the vegetation before the construction
5. CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR GI DEVELOPMENT
Best practice/points of excellence
Where Hungary is a leader on environmental implementation, innovative approaches could be shared more widely with other countries. A good example is the recently established unified National Research, Development and Innovation Fund, provided that it allocates state support for research, development and innovation in environmental fields (EC, 2017) and namely for green infrastructure research and development.
Challenges, gaps, needs
In the absence of the necessary data, the complex planning and development and the continuous recording of green infrastructure elements is highly difficult. In that regard, a most complex issue is that of data policy. Freely accessible and exact spatial data form a very small part of basic data required for analysis and planning.
Special importance is attached to the collection of basic data – along with their rapid digital processing and renewal – and provision of open access (or at least access for the purpose of research and planning, and, above all, in the case of the state and local governments) to the spatial data and databases collected and managed by the state. This calls for an extensive cooperation between the ministries and for a reconsideration of the management, maintenance and use of public data and databases. The regulation of green infrastructure falls into the scope of authority of several ministries, which makes coordination time consuming. In Hungary, settlement green infrastructure belongs to the field of construction, but in recent years its regulatory framework has been changed. At the same time, there is a willingness to develop green infrastructure. For this reason regulatory tools must be improved; voluntary compliance with legal requirements and the strengthening of environment awareness need to be incentivised. The following factors are to be developed:
- economic incentive systems;
- tools of knowledge transfer and awareness raising;
- social dialogue and intersectoral cooperation.
As a consequence of presently used farming practices, the decline of small game species can be observed in recent years. The transformation of habitats, monoculture and intensive farming has a negative impact on deer and small game species, and therefore the development of green infrastructure is of particular importance for the game management sector as well.
A great challenge is completing the Natura 2000 network with site specific conservation measures and ensuring adequate resources for them combined with floodplain conservation and restoration including flood risk management.
Using the financial opportunities made available by the EU (the EU structural and investment funds – ESIF, EFSI as well as EIB loans).
6. KNOWLEDGE BASE
Hungary's performance on the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive as enabling framework to actively disseminate environmental information to the public is lagging behind. Hungary has indicated in the 3-yearly INSPIRE implementation report that the necessary data-sharing policies allowing access and use of spatial data by national administrations, other Member States' administrations and EU institutions without procedural obstacles are not fully available. With the exception of a limited set of spatial data sets, the existing Hungarian data policy does not allow for free data sharing between public administrations. This prevents cooperation between the different sectors in Hungary and creates an important obstacle for data-sharing.
Assessments of monitoring reports issued by Hungary and the spatial information that Hungary has published on the INSPIRE geoportal indicate that not all spatial information needed for the evaluation and implementation of EU environmental law has been made available or is accessible. The larger part of this missing spatial information consists of the environmental data required to be made available under the existing reporting and monitoring regulations of EU environmental law.
Nature Conservation Information System
The Nature Conservation Information System (NCIS) is a professional information system serving the needs of administrative conservation institutions, built on complex GIS basic databases and functionality. It contains, manages and maintains the databases (geology, hydrology, zoology, botany, landscape, cultural heritage, ecotourism, etc.) of central and regional branches of the state conservation organisation system, provides a common, EU-compatible platform for data collection, processing, storage and analysis) is a uniform GIS based architecture.
Detailed national habitat mapping of Natura 2000 sites
Detailed national habitat mapping is available for the majority of Natura 2000 sites, including mapping of the quality of natural and semi-natural habitats. A national initiative on the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services is under preparation within the Environment and Energy Efficiency Operational Programme (EEEOP). The expected results of the project will improve understanding of the state of ecosystem services, give inputs to the designation and maintenance of green infrastructure and contribute to the identification and assessment of landscape characteristics (EC, 2017).
Settlements’ green assets
Local governments keep record of the settlements’ green assets on “data sheet Z”. In numerous settlements, green assets have not been surveyed so far. The contents of data sheet Z are incomplete; clarifications and additions are required.
Data of the spatial plans
Pursuant to legislative provisions, certain data of the spatial plans are collected and provided for the purposes of territorial and settlement planning by Lechner Non-profit Ltd. as an appointed support organisation.
The National Territorial Development and Spatial Planning Information System (Hungarian abbreviation: TEIR; www.teir.hu) and its prioritised spatial planning subsystem,Térport (www.terport.hu) offer, without any requirement of registration, public access to plans in an Internet-based map environment (in certain cases, geo-referenced raster data) and, for all spatial plans, with public WMS service.
With regard to sectoral data and for the purpose of spatial plans and the creation of spatial planning tools, data owners provide county and settlement level planning with data from their own data filing systems (specified by relevant legislation).
Some of the EFA elements were designated in the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS). LPIS is a unique land-identification system dedicated only to area-based subsidies’ proceedings.
In addition to the EFA elements, permanent grassland areas as thematic layers are also indicated in MePAR. These layers include protected Natura 2000 grasslands as these areas are environmentally sensitive permanent grasslands.
7. FURTHER RESOURCES AND PUBLICATIONS
Act No. XXVI of 2003 on the National Spatial Plan
Act No. LIII of 1996 on nature conservation
Act No. CII of 2013 on Fisheries and the Protection of Fish,Ministerial Decree No. 133/2013 on setting some rules of fisheries and fish protection (The English translation was published by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2015.)
Act No. LV of 1996 on the Protection of Game, Game Management and Hunting
Act. No. XXXVII of 2009 on the forest, the forest protection and forestry
Act. No. LII of 2003 on the recognition of plant varieties and the production and trade of plant propagules
Act No XXXXVI. of 2008 on the Food-chain and its supervising authorities, Governmental Decree No. 408/2016 of 13 December 2016 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species, Ministerial Decree No. 86/2012 on commercial collection and marketing of fodder plant seed mixtures intended for use in the preservation of the natural environment,
Acts and decrees are available at the National Legislation Collection: http://njt.hu) Database of the Office of Agriculture and Countryside Development.
8. LIST OF CONSULTED REFERENCES
BirdLife International (2008). “Safer powerlines for Hungary's birds. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website”. Accessed 14.04.2017: http://datazone.birdlife.org/sowb/casestudy/safer-powerlines-for-hungary%27s-birds
CEEweb (n.d.). “TRANSGREEN: Green and Grey Infrastructure in the Carpathians”. Accessed 12.04.2017 http://www.ceeweb.org/work-areas/priority-areas/green-infrastructure/transgreen-project/
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (2014). “Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity – Hungary”
European Commission (EC) (2017). “COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT: The EU Environmental Implementation Review Country Report – HUNGARY”.
European Commission (EC) (n.d.). “Factsheet in the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme for Hungary”. Accessed 12.04.2017: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/sites/agriculture/files/rural-development-2014-2020/country-files/hu/factsheet-hungary_en.pdf
European Commission (EC) (n.d.). “Environmental and Energy Efficiency OP: Hungary”. Accessed 21.04.2017:
Gábor GALAMB, (2013). “Official Welcome”. Accessed 19.04.2017: http://www.kaszo-life.eu/en/
IEEP (2010). “Technical to Final report (Annex IV to the IEEP Land Service Study – Reflecting environmental land use needs into EU policy: preserving and enhancing the environmental benefits of “land services: soil sealing, biodiversity corridors, intensification/marginalisation of land use and permanent grassland””, Accessed 12.04.2017: www.ieep.eu/assets/471/Land_services_Final_Report_Annexes.pdf
Factsheet on Hungary developed by the EC financed project “Supporting the Implementation of Green Infrastructure”.
Regional Environmental Center, (n.d.). “Green Infrastructure Network (GreenInfraNet)”. Accessed 21.04.2017: http://www.rec.org/project-detail.php?id=24
International Commission for the protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) (2015). “The Danube River Basin District Management Plan: Part A – Basin-wide overview, Update 2015”. Accessed 14.04.2017: http://www.icpdr.org/main/sites/default/files/nodes/documents/drbmp-update2015.pdf
Interreg: Danube Transnational Programme (2017a). “TRANSGREEN: Integrated Transport and Green Infrastructure Planning in the Danube-Carpathian Region for the Benefit of People and Nature”. Accessed 12.04.2017: http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/transgreen
Interreg: Danube Transnational Programme (2017b). “Integrated slow, green and healthy tourism strategies”. Accessed 14.04.2017: http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/insights
LIFE Project Database (n.d.)."LIFE Old-Drava - Transboundary cooperation for revitalization of riverine habitat complex in Drava region within Natura 2000 sites" Accessed 06.12.2016: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=4860
LIFE Project Database (n.d.)."LIFE sodic wetlands - Restoration of Pannonic sodic wetlands in the Kiskunság" Accessed 06.12.2016: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=4715
Ministry of Environment (MoE) (2002). “Progress report on the establishment of the National Ecological Network in Hungary”. Accessed 12.04.2017: http://www.kvvm.hu/cimg/documents/Paneuropai_angol2.pdf
COOP MDD - Transboundary management programme for the planned 5-country biosphere reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube”
Natura 2000 Programme, Implementation of the EU Directives
“Subsidies for restoring forest resources caused by forestry potential” https://www.palyazat.gov.hu/mdosult-az-erdei-koszisztmk-ellenll-kpessgnek-s-krnyezeti-rtknek-nvelst-clz-beruhzsok-cm-felhvs
Jenő Kvassay Plan (JKP) – National Water Strategy- http://www.vizugy.hu/index.php?module=vizstrat&programelemid=143 (available only in HU)
River Basin Management Plan (RBMP)- http://www.vizugy.hu/index.php?module=vizstrat&programelemid=149 (available only in HU)
Flood Bed Management Plan (FBMP)- http://www.vizugy.hu/index.php?module=content&programelemid=37 (available only in HU)
Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (AMFR) - http://www.vizugy.hu/index.php?module=vizstrat&programelemid=149 (available only in HU)
Vásárhelyi Plan Improvement - https://www.vizugy.hu/index.php?module=content&programelemid=68 (available only in HU)
The site specific Natura 2000 management plans (in Hungarian) http://www.termeszetvedelem.hu/elfogadott-fenntartasi-tervek