'...transition has proved to be a much longer and more difficult process than most had anticipated, and progress has varied. By 1998 only one country, Poland (which embarked on economic reform before the rest of the region), had reestablished sustained economic growth and surpassed the pretransition level of real gross domestic product (GDP).' - From 'Economic Reform and Environmental Performance in Transition Economies' Most global economy and environmental watchers expect the transition to a market economy to yield environmental benefits. The changing incentives that a market economy introduces should foster more efficient production, better use of resources, and increased community input. The advanced reformers of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries proved this to be the case. They improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions intensity of pollutants. The slower-reforming countries of the Newly Independent States (NIS) also experienced lower pollution. However, that downturn coincided with the economic decline, which shut down many major polluters. This report reviews progress in environmental trends since transition began. It looks at air and water pollution and health indicators in the trends and in light of the environmental issues identified in the Environmental Action Programme for Central and Eastern Europe. It continues and builds on the World Bank's work in analyzing the environmental effects of transition, restructuring, and privatization with a view to identifying priority areas for investment and policy initiatives. The report will interest environmental policy makers and practitioners.
Publisher: World Bank Publications