The Europaen Commission The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution
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Report Contents

Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2 Challenges 3 The Basis for Cooperative Action 4 Policy Actions Conclusions
Annex I. Basis for Cooperative Measures Annex II. Policy Actions Annex III. LBS Report 2007: Land Based Pressures on the Black Sea Annex VI. Nationally Reported Date Annex V. Black Sea Monitoring And Assessment Program
List of Tables List of Figures

Implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea

2002 - 2007

Implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea

3. The Basis for Cooperative Action

The Principles adopted for the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan were fully accepted by the Black Sea States and were introduced into the respective national legislative and regulatory framework:

Principles

8. The concept of sustainable development shall be applied, by virtue of which the carrying capacity of the Black Sea ecosystem is not exceeded nor the interests of future generations prejudiced.

9. The precautionary principle shall be applied, by virtue of which preventative measures are to be taken when there are reasonable grounds for concern that an activity may increase the risk of presenting hazards to human health, harm living resources and marine ecosystems, damage amenities or interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea, even when there is no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between the activity and the effects and by virtue of which greater caution is required when information is uncertain, unreliable or inadequate.

10. Anticipatory actions, such as contingency planning, environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment (involving the assessment of the environmental consequences of governmental policies, programmes and plans), shall be taken.

11. The use of clean technologies shall be stimulated, which require the replacement or phasing-out of high waste and waste generating technologies that remain in use.

12. The use of economic instruments that foster sustainable development shall be promoted through, amongst other things, the implementation of economic incentives for introducing environmentally friendly technologies and activities; the phasing-out of subsidies which encourage the continuation of non-environmentally friendly technologies and activities; the introduction of user fees and the polluter pays principle; as well as the application of natural resources and environmental accounting.

13. Environmental and health considerations shall be included into all relevant policies and sectorial plans, such as those concerning tourism, urban planning, agriculture, industrial development, fisheries and aquaculture.

14. Pending the resolution of ocean boundary matters in the region, close cooperation among Black Sea coastal states, in adopting interim arrangements which facilitate the rehabilitation of and protection of the Black Sea ecosystem and the sustainable management of its resources shall be pursued.

15. Cooperation among all Black Sea basin states, and, in particular, between the Black Sea coastal states and the states of the Danube river basin, shall be promoted.

16. The involvement of stakeholders in the implementation of this Strategic Action Plan, through, amongst other things, the determination of user and property rights shall be promoted.

17. Transparency and public participation, shall be fostered through the wide dissemination of information on the work undertaken to rehabilitate and protect the Black Sea and through the recognition and the exercise of the right of participation of the public, including stakeholders, in the decision making and implementation of this Strategic Action Plan.

8. The necessary legislative arrangements to apply sustainable development principles have been made by all the Black Sea coastal states at different levels.  Two Black Sea coastal states Bulgaria and Romania- are already in the European Union; Turkey is in the accession period hence in the process of harmonization its environmental policy with the EU legislative framework. Similar harmonization efforts exist in Georgia and Ukraine, as stated in the National Gap Analysis Reports on the SAP implementation in 2000-2005 (2007). A closer EU-Russia cooperation in the environmental field is found to be essential to move ahead the implementation of the objectives and priorities of the EU-Russia Common Economic Space Road-map (National Gap Analysis Report).  

Bulgariafollows the principles for sustainable European Union water policy through the implementation of a coordinated and integrated water policy aiming at the protection and sustainable water use. Bulgaria has a national strategy for development and management of water sector in 2004-2015 and a plan for public participation, open and prognostic approach in the water management, and its effective use and fair distribution, as well as protection and recovery of quality of water resources. There is also a national strategy for environment 2000-2006 (to be revised for the period 2009-2018) which includes plan for implementation of obligations of Bulgaria for global ecological problems. The basic principles of environmental protection policy in Georgia, settled up in the Environmental Protection Law (EPL), include the principle of sustainable development. In Romania, sustainable water management has been achieved with the implementation of EU water directives and the principle is widely considered for the sustainable use of marine resources as well as for the conservation of biodiversity. In Russian Federation, the Federal Law “On Fishery and Conservation of Water Biological Resources” (2004) ensures the conservation of bioresources and its sustainable use. The “EU Integrated Environmental Approximation Strategy” for the years 2007-2023 of Turkey will be a key tool to accelerate the sustainable use of environmental resources where the biological diversity will be protected, natural resources will be managed in a rational manner with an approach of sustainable development, and finally the rights to live in a healthy and balanced environment will be ensured. In Ukraine, the elements of the Principle have been incorporated into the national legislation and national (State) Programs. Eventhough the principal document (The Concept of Sustainable Development of Ukraine) has not been adopted yet, the “Concept of Sustainable Development of Settlements” was adopted.

In order to measure the progress in sustainable development in the Black Sea region, legislative arrangements are critical first steps and these have seemingly developed  or under development. However, an assessment with the use of socioeconomic indicators (Annex I.6) might be meaningful since the socioeconomic welfare is directly linked with the sustainable development policies in place. Population parameters are important indicators to assess the socioeconomic level and according to national statistics the total population of all Black Sea coastal states is above 350 millions in 2007 and there are slight changes in the last 7 years in the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine whereas remained the same in Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania (Annex I.6, Figure 1). According to IMF statistics, the GDP per capita has had an increasing trend for all the BS States in 2002-2007 (Annex I.6, Figure 2a,b). Human development index provides information on the development level of the region and may also be related to the sustainable development (Annex I.6, Figure 3). It is an index directly linked to life expectancy, level of education and living standards where 3 of the Black Sea coastal states (Bulgaria, Romania, and Russian Federation) are evaluated by UNDP as having high level of human development and Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine having medium level of human development.

GDP per unit of energy use is suitably related to sustainable development and indicates economic output obtained from one unit of energy used. The recent UNDP data evaluated for the region (Annex I.6, Figure 4) shows that this is most efficiently achieved in Turkey compared to other coastal states of the Black Sea.

9. The application of the precautionary principle have been recognized in the Black Sea region and integrated in national policy documents to protect the environment from pollution and ecological damages.

In Bulgaria, the precautionary principle application in the national legislation is secured by the Water Act supported by territory organization law and regional development law which include investment plans and projects. Principles of Preservation of Biodiversity, Minimization of Wastes, Recycling and Restitution, as settled in the Georgian Environment Protection Law, assimilate the precautionary principle. In Romania, the Precautionary principle is promoted in the integrated water resources management, respectively Water Law. In the Federal Law “On Environmental Protection” (2002) of the Russian Federation there are specific principals to address the precautions needed to preserve biodiversity and natural resources while organizing economic activities accordingly. Taking precautions against the diminishing of biological diversity is one of the key elements of the EU-Integration Strategy of Turkey. The principle has been integrated within the Strategy referring to waste management, water management, prevention of pollution etc. where legislative framework has been prepared or under development. Ukraine has the Principle in its national legislation, however, economic constrictions still do apply for proper application of them. This is the case in almost all the states (apart from Bulgaria where investment plans are also included in the implementation schemes).

10.Environment Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment, contingency planning and other anticipatory actions have been taken or recognized by all the coastal states at different levels, and gradually become the commonly accepted practices in the region.

In Bulgaria, preventive actions for priority elimination of ecological damages from their source are considered in the Environmental Protection Act, Water Act and River Basin Management plans and similarly it is the case in Romania.  In general, EIA is the most common anticipatory action considered by all the coastal states. In Russian Federation, EIA is a compulsory principle of the Federal Law “On Environmental Protection” (2002) in case when decisions are to be made on an economic or other activity. In Georgian regulations, EIA is also obligatory and used with the State Ecological Expertise in an integrated way   The By-law on EIA in Turkey was revised according to the EU EIA Directive and came into force in 2003 and although it had been always widely used, the studies on strengthening and increasing the effectiveness of the EIA process was still going on. The implementation of EIA in Ukraine is compulsory and further actions are aimed at the improvement of its efficiency.

SEA has been integrated in the national legislation of Bulgaria and Romania. The principle was incorporated in the Law of Ukraine on Ecological Expertise. In Turkey, a draft By-law on SEA in compliance with the EU SEA Directive is prepared and at this stage it is necessary to initiate pilot and capacity building projects for an effective implementation. Georgia is a party to the Kiev Protocol on SEA of the Espoo Convention.   Except Turkey and Russian Federation, the Black Sea states are signatories to the SEA Protocol.

The Convention on the Environment Impact Assessment in the Transboundary Context was ratified by Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine and signed by Russian Federation. The Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and LBS (Land Based Sources) AGs Joint Meeting in 2007 has initiated to develop Black Sea Regional Guidelines on this matter which had already been included in the work plan (2007/8)of the Black Sea Commission.

BS  Contingency Plan- Part  I (for oil) was agreed to be adopted by the BS States, and signed by Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey where it is at the final stage of signatures in Ukraine, Russian Federation and Georgia. The Annexes of the regional CP are under regular update as required. National contingency plans exist - recently adopted in the Russian Federation (2003) and in Georgia (2005) or in a draft version (Turkey), some of them need update (Bulgaria, Romania), under Ukrainian regulations all UA marine ports have local contingency plans. Part II (for chemicals) has not been drafted for the region, feasibility study is still pending as well.  

11. The importance of the use of clean technologies for pollution reduction at source or the phasing out of high waste and waste generating technologies must not be underestimated. BS states are considering such options, however, implementation requires legislative arrangements, enforcement and economic incentives and partnership in taking actions in solving environmental problems and investments to be planned for green technologies.

In Bulgaria new techniques for economical water use are applied and the use of clean technologies is one of the requirements according to the Environment Protection Act. In Romania, many environmental enterprises, having the investment capacity restructured and modernized their facilities through cleaner production process, BAT implementation and wastes minimisation efforts. The use of innovative technologies in the field of waste management, ecosafety and mitigation of greenhouse gases are determined by a number of legislative acts and programs in Ukraine. In this context, a set of laws are elaborated on priority directions of science and engineering development (2001), innovative activities (2002) and their directions (2003). In Turkey, the use of clean production technologies and advanced treatment techniques have been accepted as a strategy to prevent and gradually reduce the discharges of dangerous substances to the environment (2006), as well as the use of BAT in industrial pollution control with a cooperative approach among all the related parties is recognized. Georgia reports no BATs and BAPs application in practice.  BAPs and BATs are mainly applied in Romania and Russian Federation.

Numerous relevant laws/regulations, presented in Annex II.1, include BAP and BAT meaning that they are promoted at the regulation level in all the countries, however, the implementation practices are not measurable for each country so far. 

12.Economic instruments are an important part of national environmental policies and management. In particular, they are the introduction of user fees and polluter pays principles. A common problem of the Black Sea coastal states is the inadequate financial distribution of these revenues. In many cases these financial resources are not invested into environmental protection, rehabilitation or conservation measures. The application of the economic incentives is not sufficiently implemented in practice although provisioned in the Black Sea coastal states legislations.

Introduction of economic instruments (“polluter pays” principle, sanctions, ecological product fees, consumer fees) are adopted in Bulgarian legislation by the Environment Protection Act. They are the elements of EPL in Georgia. They were adopted as part of the integrated water resource management in Romania. The use of natural wealth for a pay and the reimbursement of a harm inflicted to the Environment are within the basic principles of environmental protection in the Russian Federation that are listed in Federal Law “On Environmental Protection” (2002). The application of user fees and polluter pays principles is encouraged through tax reduction and similar measures in Ukraine. In Turkey, the principle is addressed in the EU Approximation Strategy (2006) to support the establishment of a financing system for identified sectors like waste management.

13. Environmental and health considerations are reflected in sectoral plans and appropriate legislation of Bulgaria. The quality of bathing waters is secured by Directive 76/160/EEC. The new Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) transposition is expected during the next five years. Beach profiles will be prepared till 2009. Also a national action plan of environment and health was prepared by the Ministry of Health in 2002 to realize projects to solve environment problems from all industrial sectors; to build necessary systems for self control and monitoring of different pollutants spread by big industrial installations and for the determination of laws for stimulation of economic sectors for investments in safety technologies and control environment pollution. In Romania environmental and human health aspects are considered within the relevant European legislation for urban waste water management, drinking and bathing waters, transposed into national legislation. In Georgian EPL, the “Principle of Mitigation of Risk” and “Principle of Priority” are the tools to consider human health aspects. There is no monitoring of bathing waters.  According to Federal Law of Russian Federation “On Sanitary-Epidemiological Well-Being of the Population”, criteria of safety and/or concentration of chemical, biological substances and microorganisms in the water objects, which could be used for bathing purposes, are determined in Sanitary Rules and Norms for the Protection of Surface Waters Against Pollution and bathing waters are systematically monitored. In Turkey, human health aspects were considered within national legislation for bathing/recreational waters, sea products and drinking water aspects. In the EU Approximation Strategy, setting up better sanitary conditions for drinking water and bathing waters are further targeted. Beach profiles will be prepared till 2013. In Ukraine, environmental and health considerations are reflected in relevant policies and sectoral plans, however, implementation and enforcement of them are poorly achieved because of economical constraints of the country.

Bathing Water monitoring and reporting are in general well developed in the BS region, however, criteria and standards are still different for some countries.

14 & 15. Cooperation among the coastal states and the basin states (basically concerning Danube and Dnipro basins) have been established at the regional, bi- and multi-lateral levels. Above all, the Black Sea states are parties to important international and global conventions (IMO MARPOL, CBD of UN, etc.) committing themselves to take actions on various environmental issues and problems which are also highlighted in the Convention, its Protocols and the BS SAP (see Annex I.1).

The environmental protection bilateral cooperations between Black Sea coastal states and multilateral cooperation in the framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (not only the BS coastal states, but also Armenia, Greece, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Serbia, Albania) are presented in Annex.I.2.

Regional cooperation among all the Black Sea coastal states has been successfully promoted through: the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (1992); its four protocols and the BS SAP (1996) since their adoption. The UNDP GEF BSEP was launched in 1993 to support the implementation of the Convention and its protocols. The 1996 BSSAP was amended in 2002 in terms of the deadlines extension keeping the 1996 context fully.

The Danube River Protection Convention as the legal instrument for co-operation and transboundary water management in the Danube River Basin was signed in 1994 by eleven of the Danube Riparian States and the EC, including three Black Sea states: Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.  The two international institutional structures, the BSC and the ICPDR, were established to operate these regional legal instruments and the programmes and to reinforce and coordinate the cooperation among the Black Sea coastal and basin states. The cooperation of these two main bodies was officially established through a MOU between BSC and ICPDR signed in 1997 and an ad-hoc technical working group was established to contribute to the achievement of common strategic goals of both Conventions, particularly the protection of the Black Sea ecosystem.

GEF Strategic Partnership (2001-2007) for Nutrient Reduction in the Danube / Black Sea Basin – the largest and perhaps most ambitious water-related project supported by the GEF anywhere in the world. The Danube Regional Project is one of three components of GEF SP. The main goal of the project was to strengthen existing structures and activities in order to facilitate a regional approach, thus strengthening the capacity of the ICPDR and the Danube countries to fulfil their legally binding commitment to implement the Danube Convention.

The Danube Black Sea Task Force (DABLAS), 2001, has the overall goal of developing financing mechanisms for the implementation of investment projects for pollution reduction and the rehabilitation of ecosystems in the wider Black Sea region. The first set of projects of the Task Force was initiated to prioritize water sector investment projects addressing nutrient reduction.

The Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project (BSERP), a GEF IW Project implemented by UNDP, was designed as a 5-year Project (2002-2007). It was an effort linked to the Danube/Black Sea Strategic Partnership, Danube Regional Project and the Black Sea Nutrient Reduction Facility of World Bank.

In addition to the efforts for DRB, an international cooperation for the Dnipro (Dniepr) River basin was also launched by the three riparian countries (Republic of Belarus, Russian Federation, and Ukraine). The development of the “Strategic Action Programme for the Dnipro Basin and Implementation Mechanisms” (SAP) was the result of the joint effort of these countries with the financial support of GEF and coordination of UNDP. The Dnipro SAP is a policy document, negotiated and endorsed by the riparian countries, to be implemented at the highest level of executive power. It defines the priority areas for action to resolve the priority problems of the Dnipro basin identified in the Dnipro TDA.

Annex I.3 compiles programmes, major projects and activities run during the period of 1992-2008. This includes an overview of the Strategic Partnership programmes and projects, pilot projects and key achievements of BSERP, DABLAS projects, national programmes/projects, EC FP and other scientific projects, World Bank, EBRD, etc. 

Besides, intergovernmental cooperation on oil spill preparedness, search and rescue cooperation, port state control and other relevant agreements and arrangements are successful applications in the region. 

16. The stakeholders in the process of the BSSAP implementation consist of a variety of concerned groups including governments, international donor organizations, financial institutions, businesses, shipping companies, NGOs, educators, and others. Cross sectional cooperation is a key issue to be achieved. 

Involvement of municipalities in problem solving and services is a common application in all the countries whereas there are only few reported good examples of public-private partnership to solve the environmental problems. This approach is built on the ownership of the problems and need to be improved and promoted for the region.

Since 2000 the Black Sea NGO Network (BSNN) being more active than in the earlier years of its establishment has had more formal meetings and developed NGO action plans to contribute to the protection of the Black Sea. The BSNN has implemented/participated a number of projects since 2000. A list of them is presented in Annex I.3.2 (Small Grant Projects). The profile of BSNN should also be reviewed from time to time for new participants to fully reflect the views of NGO communities of the Black Sea.

Small scale educational projects and other activities regarding the awareness of environmental problems are organized in all the countries and the Black Sea Day -31st of October- has unified the efforts of concerned parties. Ecological education practices in different sectors (tourism, health, etc.) as well as at schools in regular classes have been applied in more or less all countries and should be more widely looked to.

17. The legislative arrangements in the BS states on public participation in decision making and information access have been achieved by almost all the countries. In Bulgaria, the national Law on Access to Public Information came into force in 2000 so as to reflect the principles of Aarhus Convention (AC) in the Bulgarian Legislation. The Law is applied to public information that is produced or stored by the state/local authorities and defines the procedure of access. Apart from the Law, the environmental legislation in Bulgaria also makes provisions for public participation in decision making process related to the environment (e.g. EIA, SEA procedures). Georgia ratified the AC and it is automatically in force without internal arrangements in the national legislation. For its effective implementation the AC Center was established in the Ministry. This Center provides information to public with the involvement of media. The rights of citizens for public participation and information access have also been secured by the Georgian Constitution and relevant environmental legislation as in Bulgaria. This is expected to be a common approach in all the BS states even if they are not the parties to Aarhus Convention. For example, in Turkey, the Law on the Right to Access to Information came into force in 2003 and the By-law was published in 2004 which determined the frameworks of providing information to the public. Based on this law, necessary amendments were made in the Environmental Law and a national Environmental Information Exchange Network is aimed to be established.

In Bulgaria and Romania, public involvement in long term decision taking process is also realized through the establishment of River Basin Council which includes different stakeholder groups and public and, in parallel, the establishment of the Water Council in the Ministries which are state public consultative bodies.  In Russian Federation, public participation in environmental protection is one of the principles established by Federal Law “On Environmental Protection”. The order of public participation in decision-making process is not established.  In Ukraine, the implementation of the principle provisioned by the Aarhus Convention and as follow-up of its requirements, the establishment of NGO networks and the consultative bodies have been established and Aarhus center affiliated to the Ministry of Environment became operational.

Black Sea Information System (BSIS) exists and collection of data is regular since 2001, including time series data from previous periods.  The functioning of the System needs to be strengthened with technical and scientific expertise. An information policy was also developed  by the Black Sea Commission and presented in Annex 1.4. In 2007 on-line BSIS was developed within the BSERP to implement the Information Strategy of the BSC having tools for reporting and communication at different levels of the Black Sea stakeholders. Technical information on the developed system is presented in Appendix I of this report. Further developments/enlargement of the BSIS is envisaged to monitor the progress in the Black Sea environment and establish a Clearing House mechanism for the environmental state and information sharing under the umbrella of the Black Sea Commission. New BSIS determinands and components are in process of discussion/elaboration (marine mammals, marine litter, etc).

The Istanbul Commission

18. In order to implement the actions and policies agreed on, it is imperative that the regional mechanisms for cooperation among Black Sea states be strengthened.

19. The Istanbul Commission and its subsidiary bodies, including its Secretariat, should be fully functioning, in accordance with the Bucharest Convention, by January 2000. In order to achieve this, Black Sea states agree to make available the necessary financial and other resources.

20. The Istanbul Commission having agreed to implement this Strategic Action Plan at its second session, held in Istanbul on September 16-17, 1996, is invited to establish, by November 1997, a body to provide support for specific projects and processes related to the implementation of this Strategic Action Plan.

21. It is recommended that, by January 1997, the Istanbul Commission establish, on the basis of the current structure of BSEP Working Parties, subsidiary bodies which can assist it in the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan.

22. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission initially establish the following Advisory Groups as its subsidiary bodies, the description and general terms of reference of which are given in Annex I:

a)  an Advisory Group on the Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping, coordinated by the Activity Centre in Varna, Bulgaria;

b) an Advisory Group on Pollution Monitoring and Assessment, coordinated by the Activity Centre in Odesa, Ukraine;

c)  an Advisory Group on Control of Pollution from Land Based Sources, coordinated by the Activity Centre in Istanbul, Turkey;

d) an Advisory Group on the Development of Common Methodologies for Integrated Coastal Zone Management, coordinated by the Activity Centre in Krasnodar, Russia;

e) an Advisory Group on the Conservation of Biological Diversity, coordinated by the Activity Centre in Batumi, Georgia;

f)  an Advisory Group on the Environmental Aspects of Management of Fisheries and other Marine Living Resources, coordinated by the Activity Centre in Constanta, Romania; and

g) an Advisory Group on Information and Data Exchange, coordinated by the Commission Secretariat.

23. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission regularly review the status and functions of the Advisory Groups and consider the establishment of ad hoc groups for the purposes of implementing this Strategic Action Plan.

24. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission assume the responsibilities from the Black BSEP-PCU for the operation and maintenance of the electronic communication system which has been established for purposes of facilitating communication between the components of the Black Sea institutional network.

25. In order to strengthen and coordinate the work of national and regional research institutions, it is recommended that the Istanbul Commission assume the responsibilities from the BSEP-PCU for the clearing house mechanism for the exchange of information on bibliography, data sources and research programmes. In addition, it is recommended that the Istanbul Commission organise bi-annual research conferences on topics related to the goals of this Strategic Action Plan. The first of such conferences will be held in 2004.

18-24. In order to achieve all integrated goals of the Convention and the Protocols, and to implement the SAP, the BSC created a functional institutional structure on the national and regional levels that consists of the Commission itself and its subsidiary bodies functioning on behalf of the Black Sea Commission on the national and regional levels as required by the articles 18-22 of the SAP. The subsidiary bodies of the BSC consists of seven Advisory Groups (AG), organized thematically, a national focal point and representative for each advisory group, and the Activity Centers (AC) placed in and supported by the each Black Sea coastal state individually. This structure, as mentioned in the previous Implementation Report, has not been changed and the theoretical organogram of the Black Sea Commission remained the same.

Unfortunately, the efficient functioning of all the system could not be properly achieved, especially in the functionality of the AC. Information and Data Exchange (IDE) AC, being the Secretariat, prepared the ground for functioning of IDE AG and IDE AG within their formal meetings, recognizing that successful data management implies quality controlled data base. The Black Sea information policy was developed by this Group. In spite of all the efforts the functioning of IDE did not last. Some others, like Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping (ESAS), Pollution Monitoring and Assessment (PMA), Conservation of Biodiversity (CBD) AGs worked quite efficiently and produced technical and policy papers to support the Commission’s work and the implementation of SAP at a regional level. The LBS group improved considerably in 2007 due to the re-establishment of the LBS AC.

As required by Art. 23, the BSC Institutional Review (2006) prepared within the BSERP outlined the major gaps in legal framework, administrative structure, management capacities, budgetary issues and identified remedial actions to be taken in short and longer term.

A detailed analysis of the present structure and functioning of the BSC was also made in the Regional Gap Analysis Report (2007) which was based on national gap analysis reports and expert views. TDA (2007) reviewed the structure and analyzed the problems in the functioning of the BSC. 

All these reviews provide clear messages for the need in strengthening the BSC and its subsidiary bodies and recommendations to achieve progress.

25.Research conferences are important for scientists to exchange views on acute and fundamental dilemmas in the Black Sea region, to share experiences and to agree upon common approaches for finding solutions to environmental problems. Conference goals should include the improvement of knowledge on the state of the environment of the Black Sea and of the decision making process. International and national assistance will be sought for organizing regular conferences and for creating the clearing house mechanisms for the exchange of bibliographic information, data sources and research programs. The agreed information policy of the BSC is reflected in Annex 1.4, as mentioned above.

The First International Scientific Black Sea Conference was held in May 2006, Istanbul, Turkey. This event received very positive reflections and important feedback of recent scientific knowledge to the management of environmental issues. Proceedings of the Conference are prepared, published on CD and widely disseminated.

Biannual Scientific Conferences in the Black Sea region are provisioned in the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan as an effective tool for regular communication of the Black Sea Commission with the scientific community.

The main objective of the first conference was to identify research priorities for the Black Sea as well as to give advice to the Black Sea Commission on indicators of the Black Sea ecosystem state and reference conditions that will allow conducting assessment of efficiency of policy measures taken in the region for its protection against pollution and sustainable development.

The second Conference will be held in October 2008, Sofia, Bulgaria, dedicated to climate change, practices for mitigation and response and adaptation projects.

The Black Sea Env. Series Vol: 1, Black Sea Bibliography has been published in 1995 and covers publications in the period 1974-1994. In support to this complete effort, in 1998 and recently in 2007 Turkish Black Sea Bibliographies have been published by TUDAV. Both editions include a considerable number of SCI referenced publications and even more importantly include gray literature (in English and Turkish) that is difficult to access by all the scientists of the region.

Annex I.5. gives the list of major publications for the Black Sea, those which have been mostly cited in the scientific community of the region.

Newsletters of the Black Sea Commission: How to Save the Black Sea? Your Guide to the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan, have been published on a regular basis, annually. Two very important new books appeared in 2003 and 2006 concerning the ecology of the Black Sea. They are:

 “Modern state of biological diversity in the near-shore area of Crimea (the Black Sea sector)” /Edit. V.N. Eremeev, A.V. Gaevskaya; NAS Ukraine, Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas.- Sevastopol: Ekosi-Gidrophizika, 2003, and “North-western part of the Black Sea: biology and ecology”. Ed. Y. Zaitzev, B. Aleksandrov, G. Minicheva Kiev: Naukova dumka Publ., 2006.; Multidisciplinary investigations of the North-East Part of the Black Sea , Edit. A.G. Zatsepin; M.V. Flint Moscow, “Nauka”, 2002.

Wider Cooperation

26. Black Sea countries shall individually and jointly encourage the following:

a)  Enhanced coordination between the regional bodies which contribute towards the rehabilitation and protection of the Black Sea ecosystem and the sustainable development of Black Sea resources, such bodies include the Istanbul Commission and its subsidiary bodies, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the Parliamentary Assembly for the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), the future Black Sea Fisheries Commission, and the NGO Forum;

b) Close cooperation between the regional governmental bodies and the NGO Forum through transparency of the negotiating process, widespread availability of information and documents, and, where appropriate, open access to meetings;

c) Close coordination of the activities of donors, including multilateral financial institutions, the European Union, bilateral aid agencies and private foundations, in their aim to secure funding for projects and policies identified in this Strategic Action Plan and to be further developed in the National Black Sea Strategic Action Plans.

d) Close cooperation with relevant international organisations, including UN Agencies and international non-governmental organisations in implementing this Strategic Action Plan.

27.  International agreements relevant to the aims and objectives of this Strategic Action Plan should be implemented by each Black Sea state and, where this is appropriate and has not yet been done, it is recommended that Black Sea states consider ratifying or acceding to such agreements. Consideration should also be given to implementing other relevant international instruments.

26. a) The Black Sea Commission established a mechanism and procedure for cooperation with other regional bodies by creating “the observer status to the Black Sea Commission”. Observer status was granted to a number of organizations including BSEC, GEF, UNDP, UNEP, ICPDR, Port State Control, EU, Black Sea NGOs Network, ACCOBAMS etc. Cooperation was also achieved with private sector (OSPRI) and important organizations, such as WHO, IMO, OSCE, EMSA, GESAMP, SIDA, SMA, JRC, IUCN, FAO, HELCOM, MED POL, EEA, etc.  

Another tool for strengthening regional cooperation was established through a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). The MOU between BSC and ICPDR was negotiated and signed in 2001. The MOU between ACCOBAMS and BSC Secretariats was signed in June 14, 2002. MOU between BSC and EEA was signed in May 2003. With UNEP three MoUs (2006-2007) for implementation of targeted projects were signed in the field of marine litter management activities and marine mammals protection and conservation.

Since the Black Sea coastal states are the Contracting Parties to a number of global, European and regional conventions and agreements pertinent to the issues covered by the Bucharest Convention, the Black Sea Commission establishes necessary cooperation with executive bodies and networks of – London Protocol, Espoo Convention, Bonn Agreement, IMO Conventions, CBD, Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, etc.

b) Close cooperation between the regional governmental bodies and the NGOs (http://www.bsnn.org/ and others) through transparency of the negotiating process, widespread availability of information and documents, and where appropriate, open access to meetings, has continued to be indispensible in the agenda of the Black Sea Commission.  Regional projects as a rule incorporate NGO components and a small grants’ program in order to support the NGO activities on regional and local levels.  The BSERP NGO Small Grants Programme (SGP) was initiated in 2003 with the BSERP Phase 1 where 17 individual projects were supported with grants ranging from $ 5,000 to $30,000 (see Annex I.3.2, Small Grants projects Table). In the second round of the small grants projects (2006-2007), 36 national projects in all Black Sea countries were supported with funding. The grants budget per country was US 50,000; the qualifying NGO proposals were evaluated in June 2006 by representatives of the BS Commission Secretariat, the BSERP and the BS NGO Network (http://bsnn.org/). In Ukraine the UNDP/GEF Danube grants were managed in parallel to the BS grants.

c)            The donor support rendered to the Black Sea Commission since signing the Bucharest Convention incorporates grants and technical assistance from GEF, UNDP, UNEP, European Commission, TACIS/EuropeAid, PHARE, OSPRI, individual governments, etc. The UNDP/World Bank Partnership Program was activated in the Black Sea region. The EC initiative in establishing DABLAS Task force is specifically aimed at the investment components of the implementation of the BSSAP and National Black Sea Strategic Action Plans (Annex I.3.4, DABLAS Task Force Activities)

d)            The close cooperation with UN agencies, European Commission and related agencies, Regional Seas Conventions, and international NGOs continue to be fostered in the process of the implementation of the BSSAP.

27. The international agreements relevant to the aims and objectives of this Strategic Action Plan and to which the Black Sea coastal states are contracting parties are presented in Annex I.1 and I.2.

The “Black Sea Synergy” is a new initiative of EU (http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/blacksea/) aiming at adding a new regional dimension to the European Neighbourhood Policy. This is not only related to the need for an increased EU involvement in the Black Sea area but also considers the adoption of the Thematic Marine Strategy and the related Directive (2008) which refers to Marine Regions including the Black Sea and requires from all member states “good environmental status” by latest 2020. The initiative is not proposing a new institutional structure, however, requires more commitments towards an enhanced and wider cooperation in the area.