Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 22: Black Sea

Focal Point Co-ordinator
Prof. Felix Stolberg
Head of Env. Engineering and Management Department
Kharkov State Academy of Municipal Economy
Address: Ukraine, 61002
Kharkov, Revolutzii St.12
Phone/fax: +380 (572)379055
Mobile: +380 (50) 323 06 22
Prof. Felix Stolberg
Assistant coordinator
Dr. Olena Borysova
Kharkov State Academy of Municipal Economy
Dr. Olena Borysova

  • Major intergovernmental agreements and actors
  • Action programmes, strategies, and research
  • State of the regional environment
  • GEF Projects in the region
  • Other actors and initiatives

    Major intergovernmental agreements and actors

    Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution
    The Bucharest Convention, adopted in 1992, includes a basic framework of agreement and three specific Protocols. The implementation will be overseen by a Commission with a permanent secretariat in Istanbul (the Istanbul Commission). Protocols to the Convention include:

    • Protocol on Protection of the Black Sea Marine Environment Against Pollution from Land-based Sources; adopted 1992, in force 1994.
    • Protocol on Cooperation in Combating Pollution of the Black Sea Marine Environment by Oil and other Harmful Substances in Emergency Situations; adopted 1992, in force 1994.
    • Protocol on the Protection of the Black Sea Marine Environment Against Pollution by Dumping; adopted 1992, in force 1994.

    Odessa Declaration
    A Ministerial Declaration on the Protection of the Black Sea Environment was signed by the countries of the Black Sea Region in 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 adopted at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.

    Convention on Co-operation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube
    In order to address effectively the environmental problems in the Danube river basin, the Danube countries and international organisations initiated the Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin (EPDRB) in 1991 (see below), agreed on the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) and the Strategic Action Plan Implementation Programme (SIP), and signed the Danube River Protection Convention (DRPC) in 1994. The Convention came into force in 1998. The results of the EPDRB have been transferred to the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) on the date of the Convention's entering into force.

    UN Economic Commission for Europe, ECE
    The Environment and Human Settlements Division is part of the secretariat of the UN ECE. It brings together economists, scientists, urban planners and other experts, and organizes the regular intergovernmental meetings of the Committee on Environmental Policy, the Executive Body for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes and the Committee on Human Settlements. At these meetings, government representatives from Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel address environmental and human settlements issues, such as environmental impact assessment, air and water pollution, urban renewal or land registration.

    Financial institutions

    European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD
    The bank finances projects in three country groups (Central Europe; Russia and Central Asia; Southern and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus) and three s
    ectors: Financial Institutions; Infrastructure; and Industry and Commerce. The infrastructure group of projects contains four issues: Municipal and environmental infrastructure; Transport; Power and energy utilities; and Energy efficiency. The EBRD is directed by its Agreement to "promote in the full range of its activities environmentally sound and sustainable development", thereby being the first international financial institution to have been given such a proactive environmental mandate by its founders.

    European Investment Bank, EIB
    The European Union's financing and long-term lending institution. The EIB is mandated to conduct operations in: the Central and Eastern European Countries and certain Mediterranean Countries which have applied for membership of the EU; the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Countries; the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), South Africa and the OCT; Asia and Latin America; the Western Balkans. Within the European Union, projects considered for EIB financing must contribute to a number of set objectives, including the preservation of the natural and urban environment. Outside the Union, the Bank participates in implementing the Union's development aid and cooperation policies through long-term loans from own resources or subordinated loans and risk capital from EU or Member States' budgetary funds.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    UNEP Regional Seas Programme
    The Regional Seas Programme was initiated in 1974 as a global programme implemented through regional components. The Regional Seas Programme is UNEP's main framework in the field of the coastal and marine environment. It includes 14 regions and three partner seas, involves more than 140 coastal states, and focuses on sustainable development of coastal and marine areas. Each regional action plan is formulated according to the needs and priorities of the region as perceived by the Governments concerned. Regional conventions are in place for several areas. See a map of all regional seas, and go to more information on the Black Sea, Wider Caribbean, Mediterranean, East Asian Seas, South Asian Seas, Eastern Africa, Kuwait Region, North West Pacific, Red Sea And Gulf of Aden, South East Pacific, North East Pacific, South Pacific, Upper South West Atlantic, and West and Central Africa. The UNEP Regional Seas web site also contains information on What's at stake, Major threats, and Actions.

    Black Sea Environment Programme
    In order to make an early start to environmental action and to develop a longer-term Action Plan, the Black Sea countries requested support from the Global Environment Facility and a three-year Black Sea Environmental Programme (BSEP) was launched in 1993 (the programme was later extended in a second phase for an additional two years). For general programme coordination a Programme Coordination Unit (at a later stage succeeded by a Programme Implementation Unit), was established in Istanbul by the UN Office for Project Services on 2 January 1994. The most important achievements of BSEP were the Transboundary Diagnostic Analyses (TDA) - see below: State of the environment - and the regional Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea (BS-SAP).

    See also information at Blackseweb on the BSEP.

    Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea
    The Strategic Action Plan (BS-SAP) "gives a clear statement of the priority issues to be addressed, the institutional mechanisms for addressing them and the actions which are required. Goals are set and milestones established. All the actions are feasible and within the technical competence of the six Black Sea countries. Furthermore, the role of the public in general is clearly stated and great efforts are made to ensure transparency and accountability in the decision-making process and implementation of the BS-SAP itself. Thematic analyses were gathered together and studied intensively by a group of regional and international specialists in order to construct a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) of the Black Sea (see below). See also the Strategic Action Plan here.

    Tacis Regional Seas Programme: Black Sea
    The Tacis Regional Seas Programme supports the Black Sea Environment Programme, the Caspian Sea Environment Programme and the Danube River Basin Programme. Black Sea partner organisations include the Black Sea Regional Activity Centre for Pollution Monitoring and Assessment in Odessa, the Black Sea Activity Centre for the Development of Common Methodologies for Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Krasnodar, and the Black Sea Regional Activity Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Batumi. Tacis (and Phare) have been very active in all stages of the development of the international Black Sea Environmental Programme, and this programme will be the largest yet. In the future, it is expected that the littoral countries will bear a higher burden of the regional programme themselves. Tacis is expected to provide specific logistical, management and marketing support for three Regional Activity Centres in Krasnodar, Batumi and Odessa respectively. Further emphasis is likely, inter alia, to support the implementation of national contributions to the Bucharest Convention.

    Other environmental programmes in the Black Sea, Danube Basin and Dniepr Basin
    A list provided by Blackseaweb of existing and new environmental programmes in the region:

    • Existing programmes
    • The Cooperative Marine Science Program for the Black Sea (CoMSBlack)
    • European River-Ocean System Project (EROS 2000)
    • "Ecosystem Modeling as a Management Tool for the Black Sea" (TU-BLACK SEA)
    • "Wave Climatology of the Turkish Coast: Measurements-Analysis Modeling" (TU-WAVES)
    • Black Sea GOOS : a Step Towards Observation and Prediction System (STOPS) (IOC Pilot Project II)
    • Assessment of the sediment flux in Black Sea, mechanisms of formation, transformation and dispersion and Ecological significance (IOC Pilot Project II)
    • Danube Delta Project
    • Azov Sea Project II
    • New programmes
    • Dnipro River Programme
    • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) - UNESCO Black Sea Regional Programme in Marine Sciences and Services
    • International Atomic Energy Agency "Marine Environmental Assessment of the Black Sea Region" TC Project RER/2/003
    • BLASON (Black Sea Over the Neoeuxinian) French-Romanian co-operation with international participation

    Black Sea Coastal Wetlands
    A project implemented by the Black Sea programme office of Wetlands International is the Black Sea Coastal Wetland project, which will come up with a Directory of Black Sea Coastal Wetl
    ands, an Action Plan for waterbird survey in the Black Sea and a list of priorities for wetlands conservation along the Black Sea coast.

    Danube Environmental Action Programme, Danube Programme Coordinating Unit
    The Environmental Programme for Danube River Basin (EPDRB) was established to reduce the pollution load. The development of the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) and the Strategic Action Plan Implementation Programme (SIP) have been a major task of the Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin.

    Tacis Regional Seas Programme: Danube River
    The Tacis Regional Seas Programme supports the the Black Sea Environment Programme, the Caspian Sea Environment Programme and the Danube River Basin Programme.

    Danube River partner organisations include Moldova and Ukraine, in the framework of the Environmental Programme for Danube River Basin (EPDRB). In Ukraine the Ministry of Environment and Nuclear Safety and in Moldova the Department for Environment and Public Health. Justification and objectives. To provide assistance to the development of the Danube River Protection Convention, the EPDRB was developed by the European Commission, UNDP GEF and the World Bank in close cooperation with the Danube countries, including Moldova and Ukraine. The first task of the EPDRB was to develop a strategic action plan (SAP). The goals of the plan are to improve the aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity in the basin and the reduction of pollution loads entering the Black Sea, to maintain and improve the quantity and quality of water in the basin, to control damage from accidental spills and to develop regional cooperation in water mananagement. Tacis has given support to the Danube River Programme and developed a strategic action plan implementation programme, consisting of transboundary water management actions. Tacis expects to fund selected parts of the Strategic Action Plan Implementation Programme for the Danube, including work on clean production technology and industrial waste treatment, wetland and nature rehabilitation and conservation, pesticide dumps, capacity building, education and training, and programme coordination.

    UNEP GPA Black Sea Clearing-House
    The Clearing-House of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Landbased Activities (GPA) Mechanism offers information on, e.g., regional seas and costal zone management.


    State of the regional environment

    Black Sea Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis
    Prior to the establishment of GEF Black Sea Environmental Programme in 1993, there was a lack of objective information on the causes of its environmental crisis and the options available to policy makers for its protection and restoration. The GEF BSEP enabled an unprecedented exercise in multidisciplinary information gathering and processing in order to provide the technical basis for a twenty year Black Sea Strategic Action Plan. This study — the Black Sea Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis — involved over two hundred specialists from some forty institutions in the six coastal countries, together with colleagues from sixteen countries worldwide. It has proven to be a key element in reforming policy and setting an investment strategy. It has also provided the basis of an analytical methodology currently being applied in GEF International Waters Programmes throughout the world and is thus being made available to a wider readership.The systematic scientific analysis of the root causes of environmental degradation in the Black Sea is presented here. Which ones cause actual degradation? What sectoral activities cause the degradation and how serious is it? What are the information gaps, policy distortions, institutional deficiencies? Information on stakeholders and public involvement are also essential so that economic and social aspects can be included.

    Current issues for the Black Sea

    • The most isolated sea
    • Green threat to a Black Sea
    • A sea of oil
    • Is it safe to swim in the Black Sea?
    • Gone fishing
    • Conserving the beauty of the sea
    • Preventing environmental damage from development
    • Who will pay for protecting the Black Sea?

    GEO 2000 State of the Environment: Europe and Central Asia

    Global Enviroment Outlook 2000. GEO is:

    • a global environmental assessment process, the GEO Process, that is cross-sectoral and participatory. It incorporates regional views and perceptions, and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy-makers and scientists at regional and global levels.
    • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO Report series. This series makes periodic reviews of the state of the world's environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include technical reports, a web site and a publication for young people.

    GEF Projects in the region

    Projects under implementation

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Black Sea Environmental Management
    The BSEP has three primary objectives: to strengthen and create regional capacities for managing the Black Sea ecosystem; to develop and implement an appropriate policy and legal framework for the assessment, control and prevention of pollution and the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity, and to facilitate the preparation of sound environmental investments. Activities are funded with associated contributions from the European Union's PHARE and TACIS programmes as well as bilateral contributions from Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France.

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Developing the Implementation of the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan
    The long-term objective of the project is to foster sustainable institutional and financial arrangements for effective environmental management and protection of the Black Sea, in accordance with the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan (BSSAP). The project will provide for the development of the National Black Sea Strategic Action Plans and it will support institution-building at the national and regional level for the development and implementation of such plans.

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Developing the Danube River Basin Pollution Reduction Programme
    The immediate goal for this project is to prepare for funding pollution prevention and reduction activities to both restore the Danube River Basin and to protect the Black Sea environment. The main output will be prioritised pollution projects for co-financing by national and international sources, set within a strategic policy framework for the Danube and Black Sea Basin.

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Preparation of A Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the Dnieper River Basin and Development of SAP Implementation Mechanisms
    The long-term objectives of the project are to remedy the serious environmental effects of pollution and habitat degradation in the Dnieper River Basin, to ensure sustainable use of its resources, and to protect biodiversity in the basin. This will be catalyzed through the development of both a regional Strategic Action Programme (SAP) as well as individual National Action Programmes (NAP) outlining country and donor commitments to baseline and additional preventive and remedial actions on behalf of the basin. The implementation of incremental (e.g. transboundary issues) components of the SAP would follow in a second phase to this project. The proposed Dnieper River Basin Programme would also work towards enabling the three riparian countries to implement the principles of coordination and cooperation stipulated by the agreement signed in 1992 by the governments of the republics of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. River basin management capacity both at the level of individual countries and at the regional level would be strengthened, and wider global benefits would accrue to the basin countries as well as those of the Black Sea, an important international water body significantly impacted by human activities within the Dnieper River basin.

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Danube River Basin Environmental Management
    The purpose of this project was to contribute to the creation of the framework for a long-term solution to the problem of pollution of the Danube River Basin. The project had four main objectives in order to facilitate the formulation of a Danube Action Program: collecting pollution emission data and creating regional data network, identifying policy and legal options, and feasibility studies for local and international funding.

    World Bank - GEF - International Waters:
    Agricultural Development Project II, Georgia

    The overall development objective of the Project is to increase agricultural production sustainably, while reducing pollution of natural resources. It represents the first phase of a ten-year Program, to be implemented in three phases, for the reform of on-farm agricultural and environmental practices. Under phase one, the Project, GEF would support the costs of implementing measures aimed at: (a) improving on-farm environmental practices, such as storage and management of manure water quality monitoring, which over the long term would reduce nutrients from entering the Black Sea; and (b) reducing greenhouse gases by promoting the use of biogas energy among rural household through technology demonstration and removal of institutional, capacity related, marketing and financial barriers to its more widespread use. GEF support for phases two and three of the Program is also envisaged, with the scope to be determined following the mid-term review of the Project.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Integrated Coastal Management Project, Georgia
    The GEF will finance one component of a Learning and Innovation Loan (LIL). The objectives of the project is to strengthen institutions in Georgia to plan and manage the coastal resources of the Black Sea in an environmentally sustainable way, consistent with Georgia's regional commitments under the Black Sea Environmental Program. Project activities include establishment of a legal and institutional framework for planning at the national and local levels; support for environmental quality monitoring system and information network of ICZM, identification of cost-effective solutions for coastal erosion, and national oil spill contingency planning. The GEF-financed component will help establish the Kolkheti National Park and Kobuleti Nature Reserves, and implement their management plans. These parks boast globally significant wetlands (Ramsar site) and were identified as priority areas for action in the Georgia Biodiversity Strategy.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Danube Delta Biodiversity, Romania
    The project aims to protect the Romanian Delta ecosystem and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity within the Delta. It will strengthen institutional capacity to monitor and manage protected areas effectively, work with local community groups to ensure sustainable resource use and restore some wetlands to their natural condition by testing various approaches and monitoring their impact.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Danube Delta Biodiversity, Ukraine
    This project aims to protect the Ukrainian Delta ecosystem and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in the Delta. It will strengthen institutional capacity to manage protected areas effectively, working with local community groups to ensure sustainable resource use, and restoring some wetlands to their natural condition. The project complements the Romanian Danube Delta project.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Biodiversity Conservation in the Azov-Black Sea Ecological Corridor, Ukraine
    The project will conserve an ecological corridor along the northwest Black Sea shelf in Ukraine. Conservation and sustainable use objectives will be achieved by coordinated activities inside and outside of protected areas including: protected area planning, land management compatible with biodiversity objectives in agricultural landscapes, strengthening of governmental agencies and NGOs in biodiversity management and education, and improved international cooperation.

    Project concepts in the pipeline

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Strengthening Implementation of Nutrient Reduction Measures and Transboundary Cooperation in the Danube River Basin

    The objective of this project is to complement and support the activities of the Danube Commission (ICPDR) required to provide a regional approach to the development of national policies and legislation and to define priority actions for nutrient reduction.

    UNDP/UNEP/World Bank - GEF - International waters:
    Nutrient Reduction Programme - Regional Project for the Black Sea
    The project's objective is to help the Black Sea countries to prevent and remediate nutrient releases through the use of economic instruments, environmental laws and regulatrions, public participation, and strengthening the Black Sea Secretariat. See also a presentation at the GPA Clearing-House.

    European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - GEF - International waters:
    Danube Pollution Reduction Programme - Financing Pollution Reduction Projects by Local Financial Intermediaries
    Within the framework of the GEF/UNDP/EU Danube Pollution Reducation Programme, a number of high priority projects addressing the main transboundary cause of degradation, nutrient discharges, have been identified.

    UNDP/UNEP/World Bank - GEF - International waters:
    Nutrient Reduction Program - Regional Project for the Danube Basin
    The main objective of the project is to assist in implementation of the practical measures for restoring and protecting the Black Sea environment agreed by the coastal countries in the 1996 Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Danube River Basin.

    World Bank - GEF - International Waters:
    Black Sea Agricultural Pollution Control Project, Romania
    The project would assist the Government of Romania in its efforts to promote the adoption of environmentally-friendly agricultural practices by farmers and to restore part of the former floodplain areas along the lower Danube River.

    World Bank - GEF - International Waters:
    Wetland Restoration Project Bulgaria
    The project would implement the priorities of improved natural resources management and Biodiversity Conservation identified in the NEAP and Biodiversity Strategy/Action Plan at local watershed levels where mechanisms in state community, and private partnership.

    European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - GEF - International Waters:
    Upgrading of Chisinau Waste Water Treatment Plant, Moldova
    The mechanical and biological waste water treatment plant in Chisinau is located on the Dniester River. It is in operation since 1972 and has been extended/rehabiliated several times up to 1990.


    Other actors, initiatives and resources

    Black Sea Web
    The Black Sea Web Project is a joint project between local partners from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and Romania, and EU partners from the Netherlands and Denmark, focusing on strengthening environmental management for the Black Sea Region. The objective of the web project is to provide decision-makers with relevant information. "The Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea cannot be realized without real time information and data on the several ecological aspects of the Black Sea marine environment."

    The Black Sea - a Large Marine Ecosystem (LME)
    A Large Marine Ecosystem, LME, is a "region of ocean space encompassing coastal areas from river basins and estuaries to the seaward boundary of continental shelves and the seaward margins of coastal current systems. It is a relatively large region characterized by distinct bathymetry, hydrography, productivity, and trophically dependent populations." See also Rhode Island University map of LMEs.


  • Global International Waters Assessment, GIWA
    SE- 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
    Phone: +46- 480 44 60 00. Fax: +46- 480 44 73 55.

    page last modified on 04 December 2011