Black Sea




Bucharest Convention + Black Sea Commission
The Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (Bucharest Convention) was adopted in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. It includes a basic framework of agreement and three specific Protocols. The implementation is co-ordinated by a Commission with a permanent secretariat in Istanbul (the Istanbul Commission). Protocols to the Convention include:

The Black Sea Commission (Commission for the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution, BSC - also called the Istanbul Commission) was established following the provisions of the Bucharest Convention. Its secretariat is located at Istanbul. A Black Sea Activitity Centre for Environment and Safety Aspects of Shipping has been established in Bulgaria, one on Integrated Coastal Zone management is found in the Russian Federation, one on Land-based Sources of Pollution in Turkey, and one on Pollution Monitoring and Assessment in Ukraine. The Commission's Advisory Group on Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping is presently developing a Draft Black Sea Regional Contingency Plan (part 1, on oil pollution and management of dredged spoils.

1993 Odessa Declaration, 2002 Sofia Declaration
The 1993 Ministerial Declaration on the Protection of the Black Sea (Odessa Declaration) was signed by all six Ministers of the Environment in Odessa in April 1993 in order to set the goals, priorities and timetable needed to bring about environmental actions. The document is based largely upon the Agenda 21.

In t he 2002 Declaration of the Ministers of Environment of the Contracting Parties of the Bucharest Convention (Sofia Declaration), the Ministers declare, inter alia, their "joint political will towards joint action aiming at the further improvement of the Black Sea and the state of its marine and coastal ecosystems, by way, among other things, taking all appropriate measures to achieve good water status of all the water bodies in the region". The Ministers also declare their commitment "to actively support the implementation of the Black Sea Ecosystems Recovery Project."

Black Sea Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control
The Black Sea MoU on Port State Control was signed in 2000 by six Black Sea states (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey, and Ukraine) with the common understanding of main principles for Port State Control. The geographical scope of the Black Sea MOU region consists of ports located on Black Sea coastline. The purpose of establishing and maintaining an effective system of Port State Control is to ensure that, without discrimination as to flag, foreign merchant ships visiting the ports of its State comply with the standards laid down in the relevant international instruments.

Black Sea Environmental Programme (BSEP) • Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea • Black Sea TDA + Black Sea Ecosystems Recovery Project (and DABLAS Task Force)
In order to make an early start to environmental action and to develop a longer-term Action Plan, the GEF-funded Black Sea Environmental Programme (BSEP) was launched in 1993. It is now completed. The most important achievements of the BSEP were the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and the regional Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea.

The Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea was completed and adopted in 1996. The aim of the Action Plan is to "enable the population of the Black Sea region to enjoy a healthy living environment in both urban and rural areas, and to attain a biologically diverse Black Sea ecosystem with viable natural populations of higher organisms, including marine mammals and sturgeons, and which will support livelihoods based on sustainable activities such as fishing, aquaculture and tourism in all Black Sea countries." In the Action Plan, five major problems affecting the Black Sea environment are outlined:

  • Input of certain pollutants, notably nutrients leading to eutrophication;
  • Inputs of insufficiently treated sewage resulting in the presence of microbiological contaminants threatening the public health and posing a barrier to the development of sustainable tourism and aquaculture;
  • Inputs of harmful substances and especially oil products;
  • Introduction of exotic species;
  • Inadequate resource management and use posing a serious risks of losing valuable habitats and landscape and ultimately, the biological diversity and productivity of the Black Sea ecosystem.
Concerning shipping the Action Plan specifies that in order to comply with MARPOL 73/78 port reception facilities for garbage should have been installed by 1999 and for oil by the year 2000. With regard to dumping and waste management, a total ban on the disposal of municipal garbage in marine, shoreline and estuarine areas should have been imposed by 1996 and fully enforced by 1999. The Black Sea countries should also co-operate in developing and implementing environmentally sound waste management policies.

The overall aim of the new, six-year (2000-2006) GEF-funded Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project (with a number of project partners, including the Black Sea Commission, UNDP, UNEP, WHO, and EU Tacis) is to improve ecosystem health of the Black Sea by reducing inputs of nutrients and hazardous substances from landbased activities. The project has its own Project Implementation Unit. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Black Sea Commission and the International Commission on the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), and a joint task force (the DABLAS Task Force) has been established.

See also information on the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan on Blackseaweb. See also information on the Black Sea Environmental Programme on Blackseaweb: General information, BSEP Phase I, and BSEP Phase II.

Danube River Protection Convention
The 1994 Convention on Co-operation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube (Danube River Protection Convention) is aimed at achieving sustainable and equitable water management in the Danube basin. The signatories have agreed on "conservation, improvement and the rational use of surface and ground waters in the catchment area, control of the hazards originating from accidents involving substances hazardous to water, floods and ice-hazards, and to "contribute to reducing the pollution loads of the Black Sea from sources in the catchment area". See also the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River. (ICPDR).

See also the Memorandum of Understanding between the ICPDR and the Black Sea Commission, and their joint task force (DABLAS Task Force)

Dnipro Basin Environment Programme
Dnipro Basin Environment Programme is a GEF project designed to develop a programme of measures and their respective implementation mechanisms in order to sustainably protect Europe's third largest river, the transboundary Dnipro, shared between Belarus, Ruusia and Ukraine, and thereby contribute to the protection of regional and global international waters. The long-term objectives of the project are to remedy the serious environmental effects of pollution and habitat degradation inthe Dnipro River Basin and to ensure sustainable use of its resources, and to protect biodiversity in the basin. The project includes seven specific objectives:
  • Create a transboundary management regime and co-ordinating body;
  • Assist countries in the formulation, review and endorsement process of a Strategic Action Programme (SAP);
  • Improve financial/legal/operational mechanisms for pollution reduction and sustainable resource use;
  • Formulation of National Action Plans by Inter-ministerial Committees;
  • Improve conservation of biodiversity in the Dnipro River Basin;
  • Enhance communication among stakeholders and encourage public awareness and involvement in addressing the problems of the Dnipro Basin; and
  • Build capacity for SAP implementation.

A Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) was published in 1997 and included definition of priority actions of further co-operation between GEF and the countries-participants.

A Programme Management Unit has been set up in Kiev, Ukraine.

Organisation on Black Sea Economic Cooperation
According to the Charter of the Organisation on the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC), member countries should co-operate with the aim of utilizing more effectively their human, natural and other resources for attaining a sustained growth of their national economies and the social well-being of their peoples. Members shall cooperate in a number of areas, including energy, transport, and environmental protection. See the BSEC Working group on Environmental Protection.

Black Sea NGO Network
The Black Sea NGO Network (BSNN) was established in 1998. It is registred as a regional idependent, non-political, non-profit association of NGOs from all Black Sea countries (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.) The BSNN members, currently 54, are brought together by the common concern for the decreasing environmental quality of the Black Sea and the need for the adoption of democratic values and practices in the Black Sea countries that follow the ideals of sustainability.
The BSNN mission is"to contribute to the protection and rehabilitation of the Black Sea, including the Azov Sea, and to the sustainable development of the Black Sea countries through increased participation of NGOs, governments, businesses and other institutions, as well as the general public".