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Pilsen Environmental Foundation


Pilsen Environmental Foundation
Americká 29, 301 38 Plzeň
telefon/fax: 019-7455905
e-mail: pen@iol.cz



Elaborated by: Miroslav Šuta (Pilsen Environmental Foundation)

Article 4 - Access to Environmental Information


Requirements of this section are covered by Act 123/98, particularly in paragraphs 5 and 6.

Par. 2

Requirements of this section are covered by Act 123/98, particularly in paragraph 7.

Par. 3, 4

Requirements of this section are covered by Act 123/98, particularly in paragraph 8. The opposite to formulations in the Convention, subsections of paragraph 8 of the Act provide better protection to the public’s right.

Par. 5

Requirements of this section are covered by Act 123/98, particularly in paragraph 4.

Par. 6

Requirements of this section are covered by Act 123/98, particularly in paragraph 8, subsection 6.

Par. 7

Requirements of this section are partially covered by Act 123/98, particularly in paragraph 9. Regrettably, the Czech law by provisions in section 3 of paragraph 9 enable the public authority not to make such information available and not to issue a decision, which shall be considered a refusal of the request for information upon the determined period elapsing.

Par. 8

Requirements of this section are covered by Act 123/98, particularly in paragraph 10. Unlike the Convention, the Czech legal provision specifies that the charges to be paid shall not be in excess of expenses related to making copies, arranging for data media and dispatching the information to the applicant.


In principle, Act 123/98 satisfies the requirements of Article 4 of the Convention and appears as a modern tool of the environmental policy. In some cases, it is surpassing the scope of the Convention minimum requirements (e.g. the duty of third persons to make access to information) or defines some conditions more specifically. Yet the difficulties with implementation of the act are still considerable.


The practice of releasing information is not a standard service and it is completely arbitrary, based on personal construction of Act 123/98 by individual officials. There is no methodology developed yet to refer to and construction of some disputed provisions has not yet established.

Proposed Solutions:

Article 5 - Collection and Dissemination of Environmental Information

Par.1, Subsection b)

there are imperfections in the systems (the construction of the term "an adequate flow of information" is disputed)

Par.1, Subsection c)

Between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of health, there are communication barriers between the two departments. The public health service is not ready to provide information to the public, which is a residue of the communist system. The unwillingness is often justified by an objection that the general public is not competent, the information could be abused etc.

Par.2, Subsection a)

Paragraph 2, subsection a – there is no general survey of the type and scope of environmental information held/available by/from the relevant public authorities and some authorities seem to thrive on the situation. There is evidence to support cases when an authority misdirected an applicant having stated that it does not held any information although it was a false statement.

Par.2, Subsection b)

Paragraph 2, subsection b (ii) Not only do the officials not support the public in seeking access to information, they even actively prevent the access.

Par. 3

Paragraph 3, subsections c and d in particular – electronic databases of documents are difficult or impossible to obtain.

Par. 4

In paragraph 12, Act 123/98 stipulates an obligation to prepare an annual report, which shall be approved by the Government, discussed by the Parliament and published within a period of 3 months from the date of approval.

Par. 6

The required encouragement does not exist in the Czech Republic

Par. 7

The existing programme of environmentally aware products cannot be viewed as a sufficient mechanism of providing the public with appropriate information on the products

Par. 8, 9

The existing systems are not compatible; they do not cover a desirable scope if information and the data are difficult to access.



The Czech Republic will have to make considerable effort to meeting the requirements stipulated in Article 5 of the Convention. A clear-cut strategy and a time schedule of implementation of individual requirements set by the Convention has to be prepared with participation of the public. Further, it will be necessary to develop a mechanism of assessing the efficiency of measures taken and remedial action taken whenever the measures prove to be inefficient or falling short.
However, the difficulties related to the act implementation are still considerable.

Proposed Partial Solutions:

Pilsen Environmetal Foundation
Americká 29, 301 38 Plzeň
Tel./Fax:++0420-19-74 55 905
e-mail: pen@iol.cz
Bankovní spojení: ČSOB a.s., pobočka Plzeň, č.ú.: 8010 - 0104 247 403 / 0300

© Plzeňská ekologická nadace, Miroslav Šuta
30.září 1999