Protection and rehabilitation  

The governments of the six Black Sea countries have reached common agreement on the necessity to take preventive measures when there are reasonable grounds for concern that an activity may increase the risk of presenting hazards to human health, harm living resources and marine ecosystems, damage amenities, or interfere with other legitimate uses of the Black Sea. The Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution, signed in Bucharest in 1992 and ratified by the six national assemblies, includes a general framework of agreement and four specific protocols: on the control of land-based sources of pollution, on the dumping of waste and on joint action in the case of accidents, such as oil spills; and on the protection of biodiversity and landscape. The implementation of the Convention is overseen by a Commission with a permanent Secretariat, which started functioning in the autumn of 2000, and is based in Istanbul, hence the Istanbul Commission. 

The UN Conference on the Environment in Rio De Janeiro in 1992 marked the beginning of activities on the introduction of the sustainable development principle called Agenda 21. All countries of the Black Sea basin were actively involved in the process.
In 1993 at the request of the governments of the six Black Sea countries the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the European Union established a fund of 9,3 million dollars which made possible the development of the Black Sea Environmental Programme. The Programme prepared and published a system scientific analysis on the causes of the environmental problems of the Black Sea called Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis, the basis of the regional strategic action plan.

In 1996 the governments of the six Black Sea countries adopted the Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea. The signature day of the document, October 31, was proclaimed International Black Sea Day and is marked regularly every year. Many of the recommendations of the Strategic Action Plan are still to be accomplished. In the period 2002 - 2008 a long term project entitled ‘Control on Eutrophication, Harmful Substances and Related Measures for the Restoration of the Black Sea Ecosystem’ (Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project) was implemented by the Black Sea countries with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) within the framework of the new GEF initiative: Strategic Partnership for the Countries of the Danube and Black Sea Basin.

Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (Bucharest Convention) will take place in Kyiv, Ukraine in the spring of 2009.  The meeting will adopt and approve a number of important regulatory instruments among them the Trans-boundary diagnostic Analysis 2007 and the updated Black Sea Strategic Action Plan.