Auditing operation No. 03/34
Ecological projects and measures in the Dyje river basin financed from state funds and funds provided to the Czech Republic from abroad
The auditing operation was included in the Annual Audit Plan of the Supreme Audit Office (hereinafter referred to as „SAO“) for the year 2003 under No. 03/34. The auditing operation was managed and audit conclusion drawn up by Mr Zdeněk Brandt, the Member of the SAO.
The aim of the audit was to examine the management of the state funds and funds provided to the Czech Republic from abroad spent on improving the quality of waters in the Dyje river basin
The audited period covered the years 1999 to 2003 as well as previous periods in case of relevant connections.
The audited bodies were the Ministry of the Environment (hereinafter referred to as „ME“), the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic, The Morava River Authority, state enterprise, the Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic, the Natural Reservations Authority of the Czech Republic (since 1. 5. 2004 the Nature Conservation Agency of Podyjí National Park), the Union of Water Mains and Sewers of Towns and Municipalities, Ltd., Brno, Břeclav Town, Němčičky Municipality, Pasohlávky Municipality, Velký Karlov Municipality, the Voluntary Union of the Municipalities of Hrušky and Týnec for the Construction „Hrušky – Týnec Joint Water Treatment Plant“, the Voluntary Union of the Municipalities of Jaroslavice, Hrádek, Dyjákovice – waste water disposal, Břeclav Water Mains and Sewers, joint stock company, and Znojemsko Water Mains and Sewers.
The procedure used by the ME and the Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic when releasing funds under landscaping programmes and the procedure of investors during implementation of these programmes was not consistent with the principles of economy.
The ME has still not managed to publish a national list of locations making up the Natura 2000 system; it has not drawn up implementing regulations to accompany the amendment of the act on conservation of nature and landscape or a methodology for assessing the impacts of concepts and objectives (projects) on the territory of the Natura 2000 system. The absence of such documents makes it impossible to assess projects and, consequently, to draw funds from the European Union’s structural funds for implementing the projects. In addition, the ME has failed to inform the public sufficiently about the significance of the Natura 2000 system.
An exceptional ministerial decision was issued for approximately 14 % of the actions implemented in the Dyje river basin involving State Environmental Fund finance. In this way, support was provided to actions whose substance is not consistent with the announced programmes. The large number of exceptional decisions indicates that neither the support programmes nor their terms of provision were soundly set up.
The ME made use of its position as administrator of the State Environmental Fund and used the Fund to finance a part of the principal activities of certain contribution receiving organisations that should have been covered by the State Budget. Since 2001, when the new budget rules took effect (these rules made it impossible to directly finance the activity of contribution receiving organisations out of a state fund), the appropriations were provided to the contribution receiving organisations by means of other intermediaries.
The implementation of environmental projects and measures in the Dyje river basin was negatively influenced by the insufficient co-operation between the departments of the ME and the Ministry of Agriculture. The fact that co-operation is not of the desired standard was reflected, for example, during the implementation of a supra-regional bio-corridor in the territory of the Nové Mlýny Waterworks, where an investment worth CZK 62,212,000 is being partially put to waste. Two islands that were built in the central reservoir out of State Budget and State Environmental Fund finance are largely submerged owing to the height of the manipulation level and thus cannot fully perform the task they were built for.
If State Budget funds are to be used efficiently, it is necessary that the ME and the Ministry of Agriculture co-ordinate their work.
The Federal Government of Austria provided the Czech Republic with subsidies for a number of ecological projects aimed at water conservation or heating using biomass, supported out of the State Budget of the Czech Republic, the State Environmental Fund and in some cases from abroad and implemented in the border region. The investors spent most of these finances on consultancy and engineering services, and in some cases on design work. The ME has made no statement regarding this support and did not have any information to draw on during the actual implementation of the state environment policy objectives in the given territory.