Five of seven undersecretary posts at Ministry of Climate are vacant

Keit Kasemets
Keit Kasemets Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Ministry of Climate will implement its reorganization on September 1, retaining seven of the original nine undersecretary positions. Five of these positions will be filled via competition. Timo Tatar and Sander Salmu will maintain their positions.

The government will be able to ratify the first statutes for the Ministry of Climate once the president promulgates the amendments to the law adopted on Tuesday by the Riigikogu.

The new ministry, which is expected to begin operations on July 1, will initially consist of nine deputy ministers and a coordinator for green reform.

Five undersecretaries will be appointed from the former Ministry of the Environment, along with the divisions they oversaw, and four will be appointed from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Keit Kasemets, the newly-elected permanent secretary of the Ministry of Climate, is hopeful that the government will also ratify the new law, which will take effect on September 1.

"It is illogical to establish a new ministry for the express purpose of only combining the various divisions. It would not generate any new synergies," Kasemets said.

Although not intended, he said that the structure that will emerge in September is also likely to result in modest cost reductions, as only seven of the nine undersecretary positions will remain.

Green reform will be assigned an undersecretary

Kasemets explained that one of the primary responsibilities of the undersecretary for biodiversity and environment is to ensure that biodiversity and environmental protection receive adequate attention in all areas.

"However, under this undersecretary there have also been a number of significant reforms, including forestry, the implementation of the polluter-pays principle in terms of environmental resource charges, environmental fees and all these other issues."

Housing and living environment issues are the responsibility of the undersecretary for the living environment and the circular economy. "This includes, for example, boosting renovation and waste management reform," Kasemets said.

The majority of the undersecretary for green reform's responsibilities will involve the formulation of the climate law. In addition, the they will oversee the entire climate agenda of the European Union and coordinate Estonia's participation in EU decision-making.

Establishing a unified national fleet is one of the most important responsibilities of the undersecretary for maritime affairs and the marine environment. Moreover, they are accountable for the water industry.

"If we recall the recent water problem in Kuressaare, we are currently developing proposals on how to consolidate and strengthen water companies," Kasemets said, adding that the new portfolio will be significantly larger than the one held by Kaupo Laanerand, the undersecretary for maritime affairs at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The undersecretary for strategy and innovation will be accountable for the auxiliary activities, such as "crisis capacity-building, the budget theme, strategy, IT, data and legal analysis," he said.

Tatar and Salmu remain in office

Timo Tatar, the new undersecretary for energy and mineral resources, will primarily have the same responsibilities as he did at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The same holds true for the undersecretary for mobility, Sander Salmu. According to Kasemets, this portfolio is identical to that of the undersecretary for Transport at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Tatar and Salmu will therefore remain in their respective positions until their contracts expire. "If they automatically become a part of the Ministry of Climate, their term of office will not begin anew; it will simply continue," he added.

He said that the remaining five positions will be subject to competition. "And these competitions will hopefully begin as soon as the government approves the new statute," the permanent secretary said.

In addition to a few high management roles, the Ministry of Climate eliminated the positions of deputy advisers to undersecretaries, which were formerly held at the Ministry of Environment.

"The majority of departments are still too small for us to require another level of management," Kasemets explained.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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