All-state Congress held in Slovakia

Dr. Ladislav Záhumenský
Director, ZOVP Secretariat

The Association of Public Works Organisations of the Slovak Republic (ZOVP) held its all-state Congress at the PANORÁMA hotel at Štrbské Pleso on April 20-21, 2001. The meeting of managers from the area of public works was also attended by representatives of partner organizations from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the delegation of the American Public Works Association (APWA), as well as representatives of local self-governments and professional associations active within the local governments in Slovakia.

During the assembly, the participants were presented with an opportunity to see an exhibition of public works technologies and to witness exhibits of 21 domestic and foreign companies. Domestic and foreign experts from the field of public works (including mainly collection and disposal of municipal wastes, cleaning and maintenance of streets and roads, care for parks and cemeteries, burial services, and lightening) discussed topical issues, priorities, and problems related to the performance of their activities. It was confirmed during the discussions that the problems and tasks in this area are effectively identical throughout the region of the Vishegrad Four (V4) countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), and that mutual cooperation in tackling them might prove highly efficient.

Representatives of partner public works associations from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia used this meeting to agree on such a cooperation within the entire region of the V4.

The objective of the cooperation is to exchange experiences, to define common problems and their underlying reasons, and to discuss methods of eliminating the problems. In the context of the interest of the V4 countries to join the European Union, the partner associations shall be jointly dealing with public works issues, while attempting to coordinate their procedures in accordance with the justified interests of all the parties involved. Presidents of the respective associations signed the collaboration agreement on June 29, 2001.

Discussions at a joint meeting with the representatives of APWA were used to identify areas in which the U.S.-Canadian party might assist in resolving economic, technical and staffing problems in providing for public works under conditions of the V4 region.

The following areas appear as realistic initiatives to pursue to improve conditions in the Slovak Republic:

  • Assistance in the training of managers for public works and in setting up a system of education for this area;
  • Participation of U.S. and Canadian investors in the development of industrial centers in the Slovak Republic;
  • Utilization of the rich and many years of experience of U.S. experts in the provision of public works in an economic and effective manner during the period of the transition of the economy and the public administration.

Economy, efficiency and professionalism in providing for public works were also subjects of discussions during the meeting of APWA representatives with Jozef Moravík, Mayor of Bratislava, National Capital of the Slovak Republic, and President of the Union of Towns of Slovakia, that took place at the Archbishop's Palace in Bratislava on April 27. Both parties agreed that their cooperation in this area can be expected to make a significant contribution toward an improved quality of life of the population of the towns and villages of the countries involved. Mr. Geoff Greenough, past president of APWA, conveyed to the President of the Union of Slovak Towns an invitation to attend the APWA Congress to be held in Philadelphia in September, 2001.

The APWA delegates carry home from discussions with experts and elected officials of local governments of V4 countries information and suggestions for their colleagues as well as for potential investors into the field of public works from the U.S. and Canada.