Audit of national parks
Report ID: 48

The cooperative audit of national parks was performed in 2013–2014 and involved the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Ukraine. The report builds on the seven individual national audit reports.

The main objectives of the cooperative audit were:

  • to assess if national parks are managed appropriately;
  • to address the challenges regarding the conservation and protection of biodiversity in national parks;
  • to evaluate whether public funds are being spent in the best way, allowing the goals of national parks to be achieved.

The audit results show that national parks in most of the participating countries are, in general, performing their functions and working towards achieving the goals set by their respective governments. The countries have employed different models of governance to national parks, but they all need an appropriate management plan as a precondition for the administration of each national park; this is in order to have specific guidelines for their work and for the conservation of nature and use of the national parks. The audit shows that not all authorities ensure that their national parks have a management plan. The involvement of local stakeholders in the management of national parks can give the national parks more legitimacy.

There is a potential conflict of interests between the use of national parks and the protection of nature against threats to the national parks. The public authorities are responsible for the management and protection of national parks for future generations.

The audit shows that the majority of funds allocated to national parks come from the state budgets of the respective countries. Some national parks depend on other sources of income as well. Raising additional income may be in conflict with the protection and conservation of nature.

Nature conservation of the Lake Fert
Report ID: 74

The region Lake Neusiedl/Fertő is a cross border landscape, unique in the world. The area around Lake Neusiedl/Fertő and that of the Hungarian Hanság, with the still existing areas of the formerly huge swamp and marsh-land, is a rare island of nature at the meeting-point of the two countries. The lake is the third largest standing water of Central Europe, its age is estimated at some 20 thousand years. Its length is 35 kilometres, width 7-15 kilometres, its surface area is 315 km², three quarters of it are in Austria, the Hungarian area is approximately 75 km². Its catchment area is 1,230 km², which is four times bigger than the lake itself. The natural water management of Lake Neusiedl/Fertő is mostly depending on precipitation and evaporation, influx and discharge are neglectable Water supply is provided through two streams, the lake does not have a natural outflow; its water can be let out only in an artificial way, through Hanság Channel, by opening the lock gate. The lake is characterised by shallow water, the great extent of the fluctuation of the water level, and the mild salt contents. The Southern (Hungarian) side of the lake is 80% taken up by reeds, in places its width reaches 5-6 kilometres; this zone of reeds provides the characteristic shape of the appearance of the lake, and it furthermore has a decisive affect on the water balance and the water quality of the lake.

The region around Lake Neusiedl/Fertő has a unique significance from the aspect of fauna and flora, the landscape, ethnography and the history of culture. From the ornithological point of view the area of Lake Neusiedl/Fertő is one of the most remarkable sites in Europe. More than 300 species of birds (150 of them breeding in the region), including many rare and endangered species, were observed.
In Austria the region consists of the Lake Neusiedl/Fertő and its reed belt and Western foreground terrain and the so–called Seewinkel. Salty ponds (“Lacken”) without any water contributor or drain with a depth of approximately 0.5 metres are characteristic for the Seewinkel.

On Austrian territory there are a landscape protection area, five nature protection areas, a protected habitat and the National Park Neusiedler See–Seewinkel. International appreciation was attained with the declaration as a Biosphere Reserve of the UNESCO, as protected area of the RAMSAR–convention, as an European Biogenetic Reserve and as a national park of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) category II. Furthermore, the region was declared as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and nominated as a protected area of the EU–Birdprotection and Habitat directives.

The joint opening of Lake Fertő National Park, which was established in Hungary in 1991 and was alled so in that time, and of the Austrian National Park, established in 1992 with an area of 9500 hectare took place in April 1994. Thus, the total area of the national parks forming a single ecological unit exceeds 33 thousand hectares. Its Hungarian part is 23.6 thousand hectares, which also contains the areas lying farther away from Lake Neusiedl/Fertő.
The so-called Fertõ land with a territory of approx. 12.5 thousand hectare can be considered an adjoining

The geographical location of Lake Neusiedl/Fertő, as well as the international obligations, poses common
tasks for the two countries. In course of their activities, the Hungarian and Austrian national parks and water management agencies work together in organised forms. The joint activity was the reason for the co-ordinated audit by the supreme audit institutions of the two countries.

The audits were regularity audits as well as performance audits, focusing on the efficiency and effectiveness
of resources spent, and ecological issues of already implemented and planned programmes and measures. Intention of the audit was to reveal conflicts in the use of the region, to elaborate possibilities to solve them and to evaluate the bilateral co-operation.

Report on the three-border area of Hungary, Slovenia and Austria
Report ID: 75

Environment and nature protection are decisive factors in modern society. As environmental problems do not stop at national borderlines, intensive international cooperation is needed in order to prevent and reduce pollution. Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) as independent organizations have a special function in covering these topics.

With the aim to contribute to a supranational approach on environmental issues, the Heads of the SAIs of the Republic of Hungary, Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Austria decided to carry out a coordinated audits on how to treat the frequently identical problems of environment and nature protection in the region located along the joint borders of the three countries. All SAIs already had experience with successful bilateral audit cooperation; this trilateral audit denotes a further step in cooperation and exchange of know-how between the SAIs of the Republic of Hungary, Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Austria.

The environmental audits carried out by the three SAIs covered the topics water, soil and nature protection. The audited area comprised the border region of the three countries with emphasis on the region of Raab/Rába and Mur/Mura border river basin and protected areas. The audits covered the period 2000-2005 with focus on the trends and recent developments.

The main objectives were to address:

• the quality of rivers, groundwater, soil and natural habitats,

• the situation of sewage disposal,

• the effectiveness of the measures taken by the authorities to foster environment and nature protection, and of the application of funds,

• deficiencies and need for further measures.

In the audits special emphasis was given to the transboundary cooperation of the competent authorities of the three countries in the field of environment protection.
The audits were carried out in the spirit of tight cooperation of the three SAIs. Beyond the in-depth reconciliation of the audit highlights with one another, each of the three SAIs carried out the audit under its own authority and as part of its annual national audit program. Audit results were published in separate national reports and condensed to the joint report, compiled by the three SAIs.


Report in german:

The compliance of the planning monitoring and effectiveness of ERDF co-financed environmental programs to EC regulations and policy planning documents
Report ID: 98

The goal of the audit was to carry out a focused review on “Performance (output/effectiveness) of the Structural Funds programmes in the areas of employment and/or environment”.

With respect to the planning of measures and the selection of projects in 2000 – 2006, the review identified examples of good practice but also several shortcomings in the arrangements in place within Member States in responding effectively to meeting the primary goals of the Structural Funds. For 2007-2013 the situation was much more encouraging as the review concluded that Member States had responded positively to the lessons learned from the previous period, and had acted upon recommendations for improvements made by the SAI.

Enforcement of the European Waste Shipment Regulation
Report ID: 132

This cooperative audit on the enforcement of the European Waste Shipment Regulation is based on eight individual national audit reports, carried out by the supreme audit institutions of Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia. The SAI of the Netherlands coordinated the compilation of the audit findings. The coordinated audit was launched in response to a decision taken by the Contact

Committee of Heads of EU SAIs and was conducted in close collaboration with the EUROSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing.

About the audit

The objective of this coordinated audit is to improve the enforcement of the EWSR by providing information on the participating countries’ enforcement strategies and performances (in terms of results and the achievement of the desired effect). To achieve this objective, the national audits sought to answer the following questions:

• To what extent do the relevant authorities comply with the requirements arising from the EWSR?

• How do the authorities enforce the EWSR?

• What is known about the effectiveness of the enforcement measures?

This joint report gives insight into the differences among the countries involved, but does not provide systematic benchmarks. The eight national audits were not designed to provide specific benchmarks for the enforcement of the regulation.

Structure of this report

This report consists of five chapters, starting with this introduction, which provides background information on international waste shipments and the EWSR. The second chapter discusses the formal implementation requirements, the classification of waste and the information networks. Chapter 3 examines the enforcement network and provides information on enforcement practices in each of the eight countries. Chapter 4 looks at the way in which infringements of the EWSR are punished. A summary of the conclusions and recommendations is presented in chapter 5.