20 Years of Black Sea Protection Convention
Istanbul, 21 April 2012. The Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (Bucharest Convention) celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Since the signing in Bucharest, the Convention has become a powerful instrument of International Environmental Law in the Black Sea Basin.
Today, the Bucharest Convention is one of the most known European Regional Sea Conventions, establishing the legal ground for combating pollution from land-based sources and maritime transport, achieving sustainable management of marine living resources and pursuing sustainable human development in the Black Sea Region. The activities under the Convention allowed to significantly increase the public involvement, address transboundary environmental issues and to introduce sound environmental decision making related to the sustainable use of the Black Sea.
The Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (Bucharest Convention) was ratified by the six Black Sea riparian states, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine shortly thereafter. The six riparian countries also implement the Strategic Action Plan for the Environmental Protection of the Black Sea (signed in 1996 and significantly updated in 2009).
The Convention has 4 Protocols:
1. Protocol on the Protection of the Black Sea Marine Environment Against Pollution from the Land Based Sources (LBS Protocol);
2. Protocol on the Protection of the Black Sea Marine Environment Against Pollution by Dumping;
3. Protocol on Cooperation in Combating Pollution of the Black Sea Marine Environment by Oil and Other Harmful Substances in Emergency Situations;
4. The Black Sea Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation Protocol (CBD Protocol).
The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (also referred to as the Black Sea Commission) is established as an implementing body of the Bucharest Convention. The Black Sea Commission is responsible for promoting the implementation of Convention and its Protocols, as well as enhancing cooperation with international organizations for achieving the purposes of the Bucharest Convention. It has granted a mutual observer status with many international organizations.
Full operation of the Bucharest Convention was achieved in 2000 with the establishment and start of operation of the Permanent Secretariat in Istanbul Turkey. Since its establishment, the Permanent Secretariat has contributed significantly to the development and enhancement of the basic institutional mechanisms for the implementation of the Bucharest Convention and the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan as well as played coordination and management functions of the Annual Work Programs adopted by the Black Sea Commission. The Permanent Secretariat, furthermore, plays an active role in enhancing international cooperation between the Bucharest Convention and various International Organizations and Projects.