Black Sea Strategic Action Plan

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					Black Sea Strategic Action Plan

Lead country: Turkey. Also: Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine (coastal
countries). However, links to river basin projects also affects Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia.

Completed (1997-2000)

International Waters

RER/96/G32 & RER/95/G41

GEF Grant      US$ 1.839 m

Co-finance     US$ 6.955 m

Project Cost   US$ 8.794 m

Facts and figures

The management of the Black Sea is the shared responsibility of the six coastal states
(Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine). However until the early
1990s there was no common framework for cooperation between these countries and no
means of planning and implementing joint actions to halt and reverse the worsening
environmental situation. The transboundary nature of problems, coupled with the earlier
political situation was the main reason for the failure of previous control measures.

With the support of the Black Sea Environmental Management programme (1993-1996)
the countries were finally able to launch joint, collaborative action. The Black Sea
Strategic Action Plan was designed to build upon and reinforce this earlier success.

Project description

The general commitment of the six Black Sea countries to protect the Black Sea go back
to April 1992, when they adopted a convention about protection of the Black Sea (the
Bucharest Convention), agreed policy objectives and included them in a ministerial
declaration (the Odessa Declaration) and began to elaborate a Black Sea Strategic
Action Plan.

The long-term objective of the project was the rehabilitation and the protection of the
Black Sea while maintaining sustainable development of the region. This project helped
Black Sea countries to develop national Strategic Action Plans and to set the ground for
the full implementation of the Bucharest Convention, Odessa Declaration and regional
Strategic Action Plan. This project also provided the basis for joint work between the
Black Sea Programme and the Danube Programme as well as with other partners such
as the Global Ballast Programme and the International Atomic Energy Agency.


      The most important achievement was the project’s support to the countries in
       preparation of Strategic Action Plans and in the identification of priority national
       investments needed to improve the Black Sea environmental situation. The
       project helped reinforce national programs, create institutional networks and
       collect data. To reinforce national capacities, a series of workshops and training
       sessions were held.

      The project helped set up a series of Activity Centres with specific focal points
       and provided equipment and technical training. Each country hosted an activity
       centre, which was located in a leading scientific or technical institution. A total of
       88 national and regional assessments were made to examine the environmental
       challenges facing the ecosystem. They included:

          Under the leadership of the Odessa Activity Centre the countries approved
           the new environmental and water quality objectives and standards and
           developed new quality assurance and control programmes

          Under the leadership of the Varna Activity Centre the countries signed an
           MOU on port-state control and finalized a regional contingency plan for oil

          Under the leadership of the Batumi Activity Centre a strategy for conservation
           areas and a protocol on biodiversity and landscape protection were drawn up.
           The SAP now calls for the review of conservation areas every five years and
           a Black Sea Landscape Strategy, which provides maps and guidelines for the
           management and protection of landscapes, has been adopted.

          Under the leadership of the Krasnodar Activity centre a new strategy for
           coastal zone management was drawn up.

          The Constanta Activity Centre prepared a convention for fisheries – the
           Convention concerning Fishing in the Black Sea – which includes rules of
       cooperative working, agreements on information exchange and research, use
       of ports of refuge as well as minimum sizes for catches.

   The project developed a basin-wide approach. In 1997, the Black Sea and
    Danube Commissions established a joint technical working group. National
    reports about pollutants in territorial waters, and discharges from land based
    sources were prepared and synthesized into a regional (Danube and Black Sea)
    report. On that basis, the Commissions prepared a Memorandum of
    Understanding, which covered areas such as:

          development of a common methodologies for pollution and environment

          agreements on harmonized procedures for port state control in the Black
           Sea ports

          preparation of a list of components and parameters to be monitored

          common approach to environmental quality objectives and standards in
           the Black Sea basin

          agreement on Regional Black Sea Oil Spill Contingency Plan

   At the 1st Black Sea Conference on Water Ballast and Control (Odessa 2001)
    agreement was reached with Globallast, who had operated a pilot site at Odessa,
    on a cooperative programme to tackle alien species invasion. Globallast is a
    US$13.3million GEF international programme working with the International
    Maritime Organization which aims to reduce the spread of alien organisms
    through ship’s ballast water – one of the four biggest threats to the ecology of the
    world’s oceans.

    The Black Sea ecosystem had suffered catastrophically during the 1980s and
    early 1990s from the arrival of an invasive species, the ctenophore Mnemiopsis
    leidyi (also known as the comb jellyfish), probably in ship ballast water from the
    east coast of the Americas. By 1990, the weight of Mnemiopsis in the Black Sea
    was estimated at 1 billion tons -- about equal that of all the fish caught in all the
    oceans that year. This had an enormous impact on the Black Sea ecosystem and
    fish stocks. The anchovy catch, for example, plummeted from 500,000 tons in the
       early 1980s to 100,000 tons in 1989 although it has since recovered to around
       300,000 tons. Other fish stocks remain seriously depleted.

       (Altogether some 26 alien species have been introduced to the Black Sea since
       the beginning of the century. The arrival of the predatory sea snail Rapana
       thomasiana from Japan in the mid-1940s devastated Black Sea oyster beds.)

      Although radioactive materials had been entering the Black Sea in small
quantities from nuclear power plants, and in more significant quantities from the
Chernobyl accident in 1986. Reservoirs in the Dnieper River – which feeds into the Black
Sea - still hold huge quantities of radioactive material in their sediments. The assistance
of the International Atomic Energy Agency was sought to undertake pollution
assessment studies and to build country capacity to apply nuclear and isotopic tracing
techniques to study the sea’s physical circulation and eutrophication process.

      The assistance of WHO was sought to conduct a regional survey into beach and
bathing water quality. An Expert Group on monitoring bathing water quality has since
been established.

      Identification and development of classification of marine habitats and work on
marine habitat mapping. Assessment of transboundary fish populations and their
relationship with sensitive habitats and current fishing practices.

      Establishment of conservation areas in Black Sea and neighboring wetlands.
Protection of marine mammals - common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, harbor porpoise
and the highly endangered monk seal (probably now extinct in Black Sea) through
sanctuaries and use of appropriate fishing gear.

      Publication of Biological Diversity in the Black Sea: A Study of Change and
Decline in 1997.

      A Black Sea Citizens Cetaceans Observation Network has been set up to
monitor dolphin populations and oversee adherence to ACCOBAMS The Agreement on
the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black and Mediterranean Seas (Monaco 1996).

      Publication of a Black Sea Red Data book, identifying and describing
endangered species.

Newsletter: Saving the Black Sea

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