The fight against harm to the environment in the Black Sea
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 23 June 2008 (20th Sitting) (see Doc. 11632, report of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture
and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr Mironescu). Text adopted by the Assembly on
23 June 2008 (20th Sitting).
1 The Black Sea is an area of crucial
importance for Europe, considering its geographical location and
its socio-economic, cultural and environmental attributes. In fact,
it is located at the frontiers of both geographical Europe (Council
of Europe) and the European Union, and represents a bridge between
different cultures and religions.
2 The Black Sea was once one of Europe’s most bountiful fisheries.
Industrialisation and the regional population explosion have caused
overfishing, eutrophication and the flow of chemical and radioactive
poisons into the sea. Now this body of water, once an important
source of food and recreation, is in danger of becoming an unprecedented
3 This is why co-operation can and must be increased among the
riparian states at national, regional and local levels to combat
harm to the environment and improve the well-being of the inhabitants
of these countries.
4 The Parliamentary Assembly recalls that there are already
a number of co-operation structures in the Black Sea region, some
of them dealing with fields extending far beyond that of the environment.
At governmental level we might mention the Black Sea Economic Co-operation
(BSEC), which also has a parliamentary dimension: the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (PABSEC), the Energy
Community of South-East Europe, the Black Sea Regional Energy Centre
(BSREC), the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against
Pollution (Black Sea Commission), and so on, and at regional level
the Balkan and Black Sea Regional Commission, whose objective is
to encourage dialogue and co-operation between sub-state spheres
5 The Assembly regrets, however, that the Bucharest Declaration,
signed in 1985 by the countries through which the Danube flows and
which is geared to measuring and controlling the level of pollution
in this waterway, has had no practical impact, despite its reinforcement
6 The Assembly recalls that the six states bordering the Black
Sea (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey
and Ukraine) have signed and ratified the Convention on the Protection
of the Black Sea against Pollution (Bucharest, 1992), thus providing
the framework for more effective monitoring of pollution, and the
restoration and conservation of the marine resources.
7 The Assembly recalls also that the European Union is currently
developing an initiative known as the Black Sea Synergy as part
of its European Neighbourhood Policy. This initiative concerns,
among other things, the environment, maritime policy and fisheries,
and relies particularly on transfrontier co-operation.
8 The Assembly notes that the sources of the Black Sea’s environmental
problems are multiple. The rivers that drain into the Black Sea
bring with them heavy metals, synthetic organic compounds, hydrocarbons, nutrients,
untreated sewage and radionuclides from Chernobyl. The dams on these
rivers, as well as the need for fresh water for agriculture and
domestic purposes, have drastically reduced the amount of fresh
water flowing into the sea, which compounds the existing problems
and alters the sea’s salinity. Some seaside cities are an additional
source of untreated sewage, while their ports are a large source
of both oil pollution and the importation of non-native species.
Overexploitation of the Black Sea’s fisheries has led to the commercial extinction
of 21 of the sea’s 26 species of fish.
9 The Assembly notes that the Danube River alone discharges
up to 280 tonnes of cadmium, 60 tonnes of mercury, 900 tonnes of
copper, 4 500 tonnes of lead, 6 000 tonnes of zinc, 1 000 tonnes
of chromium and 50 000 tonnes of hydrocarbons annually. The other
main rivers that flow into the Black Sea (the Dnieper, Dniester,
Don, Kuban, Yuzhnyy and Belaya) deposit another 87 tonnes of cadmium,
1 500 tonnes of copper, 825 tonnes of lead and 2 600 tonnes of zinc
annually. These rivers are also the source of huge amounts of nitrates
and phosphorus, which cause increased algal and plankton blooms,
a reduction of dissolved oxygen concentrations and severe reductions
in fish stocks, leading to changes in the food chain.
10 The Assembly therefore considers that the Council of Europe
must take steps to reinforce co-operation in the Black Sea region
at national, local and regional level, given that all the riparian
countries are member states of the Organisation.
11 In this connection, it welcomes the initiative of the Congress
of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to set
up a new euroregion in the Black Sea, following the example of the
Adriatic Euroregion. Such a body would, among other things, promote
co-operation among the Black Sea countries at local and regional
level, help foster sustainable development, reinforce local authorities’
management capacities and encourage exchanges of experience among
local and regional authorities in order to implement joint projects.
The Assembly consequently requests the Committee of Ministers
to invite the relevant member states of the Council of Europe to:
12.1 encourage, and if possible to
help by financial means, the towns on the shores of the Black Sea to
modernise their sewage systems;
12.2 encourage Black Sea ports to modernise their harbour installations
in order to drastically reduce hydrocarbon pollution from these
12.3 improve co-operation and integration in the field of maritime
surveillance with a view to improving pollution control on the main
12.4 ensure drastic reductions in the level of pollution of
the rivers and estuaries draining into the Black Sea;
12.5 refrain from activities which endanger the environment
of the protected spaces around the Black Sea and cease the ongoing
ones, in particular the Danube-Black Sea Navigation Route Project
in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta.
12.6 promote healthy tourism around the Black Sea area, with
full respect for the natural heritage;
12.7 encourage increased use of renewable energy sources such
as solar, wind and tidal energies in the Black Sea region;
12.8 support local authorities in their efforts aimed at marine
management in accordance with the principle of sustainable development,
as well as in their transfrontier co-operation projects;
12.9 improve supervision of the fishing industry and organise
concerted action to help rebuild depleted fish stocks;
12.10 reinforce implementation of environmental agreements in
the region and introduce mandatory environmental assessments for
all regional projects;
12.11 instigate any necessary legislative reforms to ensure
productive co-operation at regional level and, in this context,
actively promote the creation of a Black Sea Euroregion.