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Cablegate: Poland Bio: Maciej Nowicki, Minister of Environment

VZCZCXRO4892
RR RUEHKW
DE RUEHWR #2388 3521212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181212Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5655
INFO RUEHKW/AMCONSUL KRAKOW 1938
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS WARSAW 002388

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR SENV ECON PGOV PL
SUBJECT: POLAND BIO: MACIEJ NOWICKI, MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT

1. (U) Maciej Nowicki was named Poland's Minister of
Environment on November 16, 2007. He is widely considered
one of Poland's most respected environmentalists. Since
1992, he has been the president of Ekofundusz, an
organization he founded to provide financial support for
environmental protection projects in Poland, to facilitate
transfer of environmental technologies to the Polish market,
and to stimulate the development of the Polish environmental
protection movement. He previously served as Poland's
Minister of Environment in 1991, where he was instrumental in
negotiating a reduction in Poland's foreign debt with the
Paris Club, with an agreement that 10% of the debt payments
would be designated for environmental protection in Poland.
He has served as well as vice-chairman of the United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development (1994-95) and as an
advisor on environmental matters to the secretary-general of
the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
(1996-97). In 1996, Nowicki was awarded the prestigious
"Deutscher Umweltpreis" for his achievements in environmental
protection in Poland. He holds a doctorate in environmental
engineering from Warsaw Polytechnic University.

2. (SBU) As head of Ekofundusz, Nowicki has presided over
one of Poland's wealthiest and most powerful environmental
organizations. Between 1992 and 2005, Ekofundusz awarded
grants of almost PLN 1.5 billion (approximately US$600
million) to over 1250 environmental projects. In 2006, the
finances of Ekofundusz drew the attention of Pawel
Szalamacha, Minister of the State Treasury, who demanded that
Nowicki and the board of directors of Ekofundusz be dismissed
because of financial improprieties. Szalamacha charged that
five members of the Ekofundusz management were drawing
salaries without performing any work, and that the
organization had not filed a financial plan in two years.
Szalamacha's charges were not substantiated. A number of
observers felt Szalamacha's charges represented an attempt by
his Law and Justice (PiS) party to place its own members in
the management of Ekofundusz. Nowicki survived as head of
Ekofundusz and maintained his reputation for integrity.

3. (U) Nowicki is married and has two daughters. His
interests include art history, especially architectural, and
fine music.
HILLAS

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