New climate ministry to have nine deputy secretaries general

The "Super Ministry" in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The planned Ministry of Climate, which will concentrate under the one roof tasks previously dispersed across two ministries and also the government office, will have more deputy secretary general positions than any other ministry, at nine.

The Riigikogu this week adopted the bill to amend the Government of the Republic Act, to establish the legislative framework.

The scope of the Ministry of Climate's governance will include: The implementation of the green reform, climate policy, environmental supervision, energy matters, subsoil resources, transport and its infrastructure, traffic management and various environmental issues.

The ministry's over-arching mission will be to achieve climate change goals while at the same time creating conditions for the balanced and sustainable development of the Estonian economy, the bill states.

State Secretary Taimar Peterkop said last week that the ministerial reorganization, unveiled politically in the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition agreement last month, will in practical terms require amending 61 pieces of legislation, 184 government regulations and 250 ministerial regulations.

Additionally, an estimated 250 civil servants and other ministry and state agency employees will have re-ordered workplaces, he said.

One senior ministerial post which has received attention is that of deputy secretaries general. All ministries are headed by a secretary general, in tandem with the relevant minister(s), while their deputies are assigned various areas of responsibility.

The new climate minister, Kristen Michal (Reform), says that the number of deputy secretaries general will not be "that large", putting the figure at nine.

Michal said: "Talks regarding the new work organization have already started within the Ministry of Climate working 'family', and we are also paying heed to state secretary's advice. We will change the structure at the Ministry of Climate in line with the tasks, and reduce the number of deputy secretary general posts. This exact distribution of tasks and areas of responsibility will be largely made clear within a few weeks."

Some of these positions will likely be decided on the basis of a public competitive process, he said.

"The main goal of any changes is the commencement of the green reform, increasing the share of renewable energy, and changes in the climate field," the minister went on.

The necessary legislation is at the Riigikogu, Michal added, and said its progress will hinge on any potential obstruction tactics such as those employed recently.

"The initial wish was to make changes to the Government of the Republic Act before the summer, but it is difficult to predict the pace of how things will move in the Riigikogu at the moment," he said.

The Riigikogu's last official work day before the summer recess is June 15; the break lasts to mid-September, though extraordinary sessions can be called during that time if need be.

The bill would put in place nine deputy secretaries general, whereas in the two ministries whose functions are being wholly or partly subsumed by the climate ministry, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, there were five and nine respectively.

Additionally there will be 23 separate departments in the new climate ministry.

The employees of the former ministries will be transferred tot he relevant post in the climate ministry, Michal added, while it is up to the ministry itself if there are any lay-offs or other reorganization in the offing; in any case, there will not be a rise in the number of staff.

The coordination of the green reform tasks are currently not being performed by any ministry, but rather by the Government Office.

While the legislative change was due to take place by July 1, the relocation, to the "super-ministry" building on Suur-Ameerika (pictured), will follow next year.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is already located there, whereas the Ministry of the Environment will be undergoing its second move in as many years, from its current site on Paldiski mnt.

As to names, Kaupo Heima, Marku Lamp, Margit Martinson, Antti Tooming and Andrus Pirso will be transferred from the former Ministry of the Environment as deputies secretary general, while former head of Estonia's representation at the European Commission, will be their boss, as ministry secretary general.

Four deputy secretaries general will move from the economic affairs ministry, namely Sander Salmu, Timo Tatar, Ivo Jaanisoo and Kaupo Läänerand.

Four areas from the economic affairs ministry will then fall under the new climate ministry's auspices, namely, the construction, transport, energy and maritime departments.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

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