The first Conference on the Human Environment, summoned by the United Nations in Stockholm in 1972, was the impetus for the emergence of various bodies and institutions at the international level dealing with environmental protection. Environmental problems, the mitigation of which requires a comprehensive approach across national and continental borders, were also progressively adopted seriously by the majority of existing international institutions: the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and others.
Despite the fact that the then Czechoslovakia was the founding member of many of the international organisations, major involvement of Czechoslovakia, and the Czech Republic as its successor state, in their activities was only made possible by the political changes of the 1990s. The accession to the European Union, which plays a leading role in international environmental negotiations, gave the country the opportunity to become more intensely involved in the international debate on environmental protection and sustainable development as well as in international co-operation mechanisms.
This section of the website provides the basic information on the major organisations dealing with environmental issues in which the Czech Republic is actively involved.
- United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) represents a unique forum for addressing complex sustainable development and cross-cutting issues in an integrated manner while involving both governments and non-governmental stakeholders.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
In 1972, the then Czechoslovakia was one of the founders of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which is responsible for the environmental pillar of sustainable development. The Czech Republic has been actively involved in the UNEP activities since 1993 when it was elected a member of its main body – the Governing Council (GC).
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE)
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) was set up in 1947 to assist the economic reconstruction of Europe. The current UN ECE serves as a forum for mutual economic cooperation among Europe, North America and Central Asia. The main areas of the UN ECE’s activities include economic cooperation and integration, energy, environment, housing and land management, population, statistics, timber, trade and transport.
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO)
The Czech Republic became member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) in 1993 and is actively involved in the UNESCO activities mainly through the UNESCO programmes.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in Paris on 14 October 1960, where 20 countries signed the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and two supplementary protocols which entered into force on 30 September 1961. The Czech Republic became an OECD member on 21 December 1995. Currently, the OECD associates 30 member states.
- Council of Europe (CoE)
The environmental dimension of the Council of Europe, which was established in 1945, is mainly focused on biodiversity and landscape protection, regional planning and protection against serious natural and technological risks. The Czech Republic is involved in the CoE through its membership in the CoE´s institutions and bodies, such as the Committee of Ministers, which is an executive body of the CoE; the Parliamentary Assembly, its advisory body; and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established on 1 January 1995 as a successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The Czech Republic, which has been member of WTO since its establishment in 1995, participates in negotiations in the CTE. The numbers of WTO members are increasing; there were 153 members as of 23 July 2008.
- Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC)
The Regional Environmental Center was established in June 1990 by the United States, the European Commission and Hungary. Today, the REC is legally based on a charter signed by the governments of 29 countries.
The mission of the REC is to assist in solving environmental problems in Central and Eastern Europe. It fulfils this mission by promoting co-operation among non-governmental organisations, governments, businesses and other environmental stakeholders, and by supporting the free exchange of information and public participation in environmental decision making.