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Saving the Black Sea

Official Newsletter of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

Anniversary Issue 14

 
Saving the Black Sea, Issue 14

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate all of us with the 20th Anniversary of the signature of the Bucharest Convention and its Protocols, which were signed on the 21st April, 1992 in Romania

The Convention and its Protocols are an important instrument of cooperation in the field of protecting the vulnerable Black Sea, establishing the legal ground for the combined efforts of the Black Sea countries in combating pollution from land-based sources and maritime transport, achieving sustainable management of marine living resources and pursuing sustainable development in the Black Sea Region.

Activities undertaken within the framework of the Convention and its Protocols, gave rise to a significant increase in public awareness and involvement in the protection of the Black Sea marine environment - our shared heritage.

You will find in this 14th Anniversary Issue of our newsletter the full text of the Bucharest Convention, as well as articles on the current activities, and achievements. These include 3rd Biannual Black Sea Scientific Conference  “Black Sea – OUTLOOK”, held in 2011, International Black Sea Day Activities held in Odessa, Ukraine, the successful completion of the EC supported MONINFO Project, IMO – BSC partnership and recent activities on addressing nutrient pollution, information on the Black Sea Scientific Network and information on our recent publications.

I hope you will find the information useful and would like to thank you for your personal efforts for protecting the Black Sea environment. I remain confident each one of us effort, however small is part of a larger whole and will be rewarded in leaving a healthy Black Sea for the future generations.

Prof. Halil Ibrahim Sur

Executive Director

BS-OUTLOOK Black Sea 3rd Biannual Scientific Confer-ence

The third Black Sea Biannual Scientific Conference was jointly organized by the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, Up-Grade Black Sea SCENE – EC FP7 project and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine with the support of the European Commission and Ukrainian Scientific Center of Ecology of the Sea (UkrSCES) in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1 – 4 November 2011 back to back to celebration of the Black Sea Day on October 31. It was entitled “Drivers, Pressures, State, Impacts, Response and Recovery Indications Towards Better Governance of Black Sea Environmental Protection”, and abbreviated as BS-OUTLOOK. It was a good opportunity for the scientists to meet, to share their work, to discuss new ideas and to contribute in the field of marine environmental protection.

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Environmental protection is a very actual and challenging issue and well guided science can essentially contribute to it. The harder part is represented by its “translation” into effective recommendations to decision-makers.

Dedicated webpage of the conference (http://www.blacksea-commission.org/_3BSCConf.asp) was designed for online Registration and Abstract submission. The Conference attracted more than 200 scientists and stakeholders from the Black Sea region and abroad. Over 250 abstracts were collected and arranged in the six sessions:

Session 1. Pollution: focus on oil pollution, oil spills and eutrophication

Session 2. Data management and Data Information Systems, Decision-Support tools and Data Products, accessibility and use of data

Session 3. Industry versus environment

Session 4. Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Session 5. Climate Change

Session 6. Common understanding of Black Sea Good Environmental Status

Its objectives were the following:

Conclusions

After the six sessions’ presentations during the Conference the main conclusions can be summarized as follows:

Recommendations of the Conference:

2011 Black Sea Day Environmental Activities

2011 Black Sea Day Environmental Activities

International Black Sea Day 2011 was celebrated on 31st October in the reception house of Odessa regional State Administration, in Odessa, Ukraine, aiming to be a back-to-back event with the 3rd Biannual Black Sea Scientific Conference and was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine together with the Permanent Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission. The event participants included representatives of the  European Commission UNDP and other international organizations. Representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Odessa Regional State Administration, Odessa Council, academics, NGOs and mass media also took part in the activities, in total being 120 participants in this event.

The programme of the meeting included presentations on different topics. The important contribution of the European Commission through the projects implemented in the Black Sea region was emphasized. Black Sea, as regional sea in the EU Marine Framework Strategy Directive is of equal importance for the European Union in implementing its environmental policies and a strengthened collaboration between the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, as Regional Sea convention and European Commission would be beneficial for the marine environment from the region.

Presentations and discussions during the round table went around important environmental topics as:

Following recommendations and proposals have been made as result of the discussions carried out at the round table:

One nominated representative from each Black Sea country was awarded with the Black Sea Medal for important contribution in the field of marine environmental protection. The medalists for 2011 were: Dr. Snezhana Moncheva from Bulgaria, Dr. Mamuka Gvilava from Georgia, Mr. Radu Mihnea from Romania, Dr. Natalia Kutaeva from Russian Federation, Prof. Ahmet Kideys from Turkey and Dr. Viktor Karamushka from Ukraine.

Black Sea Medalists

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The Black Sea medalists

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Dr. Snezhana Moncheva, Bulgaria

Dr. Snezhana Moncheva, Assistant professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of Oceanology, Varna, Bulgaria, biodiversity focal point for Bulgaria and very well known scientist from the region was awarded for her valuable contribution in the field of marine ecology and understanding of environmental processes that occur in the Black Sea.

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Dr. Mamuka Gvilava, Georgia

Dr. Mamuka Gvilava, ICZM focal point for Georgia, currently working with GIS & RS Consulting Centre "GeoGraphic", Tbilisi, Georgia, was awarded for his effort in the field of marine and coastal zone management in Georgia and active involvement in promoting of an efficient ICZM process in the Black Sea region.

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Mr. Radu Mihnea, Romania

Mr. Radu Mihnea, scientist, the former head of Oceanography department, National Institute for Marine Research and Development Constanta, Romania, former PMA focal point for Romania, presently retired, was awarded for his important contribution over many years for the Black Sea environmental protection. He was member of Romanian delegation for the negotiations of the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution; designed and implemented the Monitoring Programme of Romanian marine waters.

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Dr. Natalia Kutaeva, Russian Federation

Dr. Natalia Kutaeva is a Head of the Maritime Environment Pollution Protection Division, Ministry of Transport in Moscow, Russian Federation, and a head of Russian delegation to the ESAS AG meetings. In her position Dr. Kutaeva coordinates the implementation of the national environmental legislation as well as international obligations in the marine environment protection by the maritime transport organizations. She was awarded with the Black Sea medal for her contribution in the implementation of the national environmental legislation as well as international obligation in the marine environment protection by the maritime transport organizations.

Prof. Ahmet Kideys, Turkey

Prof. Dr. Ahmet E. Kideys, presently working at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Middle East Technical University in Erdemli, Turkey, has been awarded for his contribution to the activities of the Black Sea Commission when he worked at the Permanent Secretariat as the Executive Director in 2007 - 2011.

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Dr. Viktor Karamushka, Ukraine

Dr. Victor Karamushka, Associated Professor, Head, Department of Project Management at the University of Educational Management Kiev, Ukraine. Since 1994 Dr. Karamushka has been involved in the Black Sea national and international environmental cooperation programs. He was awarded for his active involvement and contribution to the implementation of international programs and projects and to the development of important international legal acts in the field of Black Sea environment protection.

DABLAS-BSC Regional Meeting

The Black Sea Regional Meeting on Project Identification and Financing in Wastewater Treatment was jointly organized by the Black Sea Commission Permanent Secretariat and the Danube-Black Sea Task Force (DABLAS) Secretariat during 22-23rd June, 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey.

The idea to bring together experts to exchange experience concerning capacity building in integrated river basin management, investments in wastewater treatment in the Black Sea countries and possible international investors was born in 2010, in a meeting with the Ministry of Environment of Turkey. In the Black Sea region, there are several countries where significant efforts to finance the construction of Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in the “hot spot” locations. Turkey is having a comprehensive investment programme along the Black Sea coast; Russia is gearing up investment capabilities in view of the incoming Sochi Olympic Games in 2014; Bulgaria and Romania use the opportunity offered by the EU Cohesion Funds etc.

The main objective of the regional meeting was to support the advancement of investments in wastewater infrastructure in the Black Sea region. The meeting was focused on the needs, challenges and opportunities in achieving the envisaged objective and constituted a platform for sharing experience of key players in the region. Among the topics discussed during the meeting were:

IMO-BSC Joint Efforts to Protect the Black Sea Environment

The IMO-BSC Regional Workshop on Implementation of International Dumping Agreements in the Black Sea Region was held from 23rd to 25th February, 2011 at the premises of the Istanbul Directorate of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) in Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey, where the Permanent Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission is also located. The Workshop was organized under the IMO Integrated Technical Co-operation and Assistance Programme (ITCP).

The aim of the Workshop was to assist the Black Sea countries with the implementation of International Dumping Agreements in the Black Sea Region (Bucharest Convention Dumping Protocol, London Protocol, etc.). It was organized as part of the efforts to raise awareness and increase the capabilities of the countries bordering the Black Sea to protect the marine environment from wastes being considered for dumping at sea. The workshop brought together participants from IMO and the six Black Sea countries, which represented a wide range of ministries, academia and research institutions, port authorities, etc. The objectives of the workshop were to increase the awareness and understanding of the London and Bucharest Dumping Protocols in relation to other relevant international agreements for protection of the marine environment, to set out the benefits and implications of membership in these agreements, to review various aspects of coordinated implementation, to review national status reports on dumping activities in the Black Sea region and to identify opportunities for future cooperation in protection of marine environment of the Black Sea.

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Within the framework of the IMO-BSC Memorandum of Understanding a Regional training course on Port Biological Baseline Survey (PBBS) with the participation of the scientist and experts from the region was organized in Batumi, Georgia from 20-22nd July, 2011.

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A three-day regional training course on Port Biological Baseline Survey was held for representatives of the following countries in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Iran, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Ukraine.

The training course was organised within the framework of the MoU between the IMO and the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution. It was funded by the IMO Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme, implemented by the Permanent Secretariat of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution and the GloBallast Partnerships Project Coordination Unit in partnership with CaspEco and was hosted by the United Transport Administration of Georgia, in Batumi, Georgia.

The training course was dedicated to theoretical and practical training, including background presentations and hands on training with sampling equipment. This part of the course covered all aspects of port surveys, from planning and funding to taxonomy, collection, housing and final reporting. It also gave the participants an opportunity to initiate planning for a port survey in their home port.

The second day of the training course consisted of field sampling activities providing all training participants an opportunity to observe and participate in the sampling activities.

The training was based on a course model that had been developed by the National Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), New Zealand, in cooperation with the GloBallast Partnerships project.

The delivery of a PBBS training using the GloBallast-National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) PBBS training package was provided by 2 training consultants: Mr. Adnan Awad - Lead Port Survey Training Consultant (Director, Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa) and Dr. Murat Sezgin – Training Consultant (Assoc. Prof., Sinop University Fisheries Faculty, Marine Biology and Ecology Department, Turkey).

The delivery of the training course was highly successful, and generally met the overall objectives. The invited participants were very active and involved with the course exercises, and benefitted greatly from their participation over the course of three days. The course material was provided by the GloBallast PCU, as originally developed by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, and further adapted for this delivery by the Lead Training Consultant. The feedback from the participants and the instructors indicated that the course was effective in terms of communicating the information at the appropriate level, as well as engaging the participants and keeping their interest throughout all modules. Most of the participants indicated the desire for follow-up activities in their home countries or to participate in further regional port survey activities.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Batumi, Georgia

Within the framework of the Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme of the IMO and the relevant Memorandum of Understanding between the IMO and BSC, a Regional Training Course on Liability and Compensation for oil pollution incidents is being organized to be held in Varna, Bulgaria from 28th to 30th May, 2012, with a view to promoting the implementation of the international oil pollution compensation instruments including the 1992 Civil Liability Convention, 1992 Fund Convention, 2002 Supplementary Fund Protocol, and Bunker Convention in the Black Sea littoral States. The Regional Training Course will be hosted by the Government of Bulgaria, in Varna and is intended for those governments or other authorities with responsibilities in connection with major oil pollution incident that may incur costs for clean-up operations or preventive measures as a result of ship source oil pollution incident.

THE MONINFO PROJECT: Successful completion and next steps

Recognizing oil spills as one of the major threats to the environment of the Black Sea, as reflected in the Black Sea Synergy Communication of the European Commission and the adopted Strategic Action Plan for the Environmental Protection of the Black Sea by the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, the Black Sea Commission and the European Commission concluded 2 consecutive Contribution Agreements for the development and implementation of a Black Sea oil pollution monitoring and information system, aimed at reducing oil pollution in the Black Sea.

The project was implemented in two, interdependent stages, referred to as MONINFO 1 and MONINFO 2. Whereas MONINFO 1 prepared the necessary concepts, investigated and prepared the necessary grounds for a regional data exchange mechanism and prepared the ground for adoption of state-of-the-art practices in combatting oil pollution, MONINFO 2 designed and deployed the prototype of the Regional Database Information Platform (RDIP). The RDIP comprises the following components:

Document Repository

The document repository is an online document collaboration system based on the open source project Alfresco. It allows sharing and editing of documents based on user/group level permissions. The repository was tested by the AG ESAS as an interactive procedure for annual reporting and regular update of the Annexes to the Black Sea Contingency Plan, country profiles and other relevent information. The document repository also provides links to all the project activities, contacts, and relevent documents. The system co-hosts documents of the other Advisory Groups and working groups of the Black Sea Commission, as well as the Black Sea Commission itsself.

Database and GIS Server

A database and GIS server were set up in order to visualize data from own GIS database as well as from external spatially referenced data. External data sources may be referenced and set up through the administration console. This model of visualization makes possible the visualization of confidential and/or proprietary data. In the future the user shall be given the possibility to set permissions on a local layer, thus allowing the cooperation by sharing of data under provisions foreseen in the Black Sea Contingency Plan.

Satellite Images

Satellite surveillance has been promoted and piloted in the region through signing an agreement/Conditions of Use (CoU) between European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), CleanSeaNet (CSN) services and BSC PS (Annex 9), Georgia and Turkey (Bulgaria and Romania are members of the CSN Service) in order to strengthen the illegal discharges detection, especially for the harmonised use of satellite imagery, as an important activity under Task 2. Satellite surveillance showing possible oil slicks in the Black Sea waters of Georgia and Turkey started on 1st of August 2010. Its efficiency was proven in several occasions when oil slicks were detected by the satellite images, followed by inspections of detected illegal discharges, and the polluting ships were detained. The necessary contacts with Maritime Administrations and other competent authorities such as Coast Guards have been established to develop procedures and mechanisms for verification of the satellite based reports. In order to enhance the capacity of satellite based monitoring of oil spills in the Black Sea, the operative oil slick monitoring system SCANEX of  the Russian Federation, and the Centre for Satellite Communications and Remote Sensing of Istanbul Technical University (ITU CSCRS), Turkey, were approached to complement CleanSeaNet (CSN) services in the Black Sea. Testing period with these 2 organizations was proposed to Russia, Turkey and Ukraine and the Russian Federation and Turkey have successfully cooperated in this testing campaign in February-March 2011. The service provided by these two organizations during the testing period was free of charge to MONINFO Project and the Black Sea Commission. The provision of service was carried out as a pilot sub-project Black Sea Sat Net (BSSatNet). Attempts were made to expand this satellite surveillance to all Black Sea countries in addition to the CleanSeaNet services. To this end, a Conditions of Use (CoU) agreement was prepared by the MONINFO Project team and sent to the countries.

Oil Spill Drift Model

The used model for oil spill drift forecasting and backtracking of oil pollution was adopted from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, namely the HELCOM SeaTrackWeb model with the participation of the Special Design-Technological Bureau of the MHI, Sevastopol, Ukraine and SMHI. The adopted model, based on  comparison between the most widely used models, is currently installed on the MONINFO System testing server (http://bscpsecretariat.no-ip.org:8080/RIP-0.1/) and can be directly accessed at http://bscpsecretariat.no-ip.org:8080/seatrack/.

The area covered by the BlackSeatrack Web system is the whole Black Sea. The forecasted current, temperature and salinity fields are provided by the MHI model of MyOcean Black Sea MFC (http://www.myocean.eu/web/19-products-and- services.php), which is a 3-dimensional circulation model covering the whole Black Sea. The forecasts are made daily and up to 3 days (to 5 days from August 2011) forecasts are included into BSTW.

AIS Data

Discussions on reaching a regional agreement for Automatic Identification System (AIS) Data exchange between the Black Sea countries are at an advanced stage.

During the course of the project an AIS Expert Group was set up which held meetings (in November 2009 and June 2010) with participation of high level officials from Maritime Administrations of the Black Sea countries. Based on these meetings, a Draft MoU on Data Exchange and Access to Information with regard to the Black Sea Automatic Identification System has been prepared. The 3rd AIS EWG meeting with participation of Black Sea countries was held on 5th April 2011 and further developed the Final Draft MoU. The Meeting also adopted the timetable for finalizing the establishment of Black Sea Regional AIS Data Exchange Server which was further amended at the Black Sea Commission MONINFO Steering Committee Meeting held in December 2011.

Until the entry into force of the MoU on data exchange the system uses free AIS data from www.marinetraffic.net.

Capacity Building

The MONINFO Project prepared an overview of the emergency response preparedness, supported the updating of the national plans, regional strategy for dispersants and further developed the Black Sea Contingency Plan for providing a basis for a common risk management platform in the region.

In line with the regional BS Contingency Plan (BS CP) different levels of exercises according to international frame under MARPOL 73/78 are carried out on a regular basis for enhancing the oil spill preparedness in the Black Sea region. The plan for exercises was approved by the ESAS AG. The proposal was sent to the BSC for consideration and with the related resolution of the 22nd regular meeting of the BSC it became the Annex 9 of the BS CP as the regional scheduled training program.

The DELTA exercises are envisaged in this program to occur every two years, hosted by each Black Sea country on a rotation principle. The previous (being the first) regional DELTA was hosted by Turkey and took place in 2007. In 2009 the MONINFO project provided the essential support to the BSC PS and actively participated in the organization of the second regional DELTA, named RODELTA, hosted by Romania.

The first preparatory meeting of RODELTA took place during 12-13th of March 2009 (Constanta, Romania).

The Third Regional DELTA Exercise was successfully carried out on 15th September 2011, in Batumi, Georgia, in close cooperation with the Black Sea Commission, and with the participation of Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.

Turkey participated with equipment and vessels.

Several training sessions were organized under the MONINFO Project.

Trainings have been held on MONINFO System in general and specifically for its individual layers such as BlackSeaTrackWeb (BSTW) oil spills modelling forecast (based on comments after 2nd Stakeholders meeting), satellite based monitoring- CSN, use of the repository, IMO supported activities (ballast, dumping workshops etc.).

Three training courses were held on the Clean Sea Net (CSN) service organized jointly with EMSA with participation of representatives of relevant authorities from Black Sea countries to increase the capacity in the region in satellite surveillance of oil pollution. The second and third trainings for 2nd Generation CSN Services (satellite based oil spill Monitoring Services) held in EMSA Headquarters in Lisbon on 22-23rd November 2010, were attended only by Black Sea countries that agreed to receive the CSN Service (i.e. Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey) together with other EU countries.

Sustainability and further steps

The main approach to ensuring sustainability is the use of own resources of the Black Sea Commission, seek national funding resources and external financing and use the AG ESAS including strengthening the capacity of the National Maritime Administrations. The 1st Black Sea Commission MONINFO Steering Committee Meeting was presented with information on the full costs of sustaining the MONINFO System after the completion of the project. The meeting acknowledged the importance of sustainability, and the Representative of Turkey expressed full support and readiness to contribute to the sustainability of the project deliverables.

Following the completion of MONINFO and taking into account the achievements under the major components of the project, the following further steps shall be carried out:

1. The AG ESAS shall perform a detailed inventory and assessment of the project deliverables and develop a proposal for further actions. The proposal shall be presented at the next meeting of the Black Sea Commission. Based on the findings of the AG ESAS special report, the Black Sea Commission shall integrate activities into its Work Programme for the finalization of the deliverables, including proposal of deadlines.

2. Further, following consultations with all Members of the Black Sea Commission resources shall be sought for finalizing the project deliverables including employing resources of the Black Sea Commission.

THE EU Marine Strategy and the Black Sea: Closer cooperation towards the common goals

Sharing the common goal of protecting the marine environment, the European Union and the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution have actively sought cooperation in harmonizing and complementing approaches, policies and measures.

The adoption of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive by the European Parliament (June 2008) and the adoption of the Strategic Action Plan for the Environmental Protection of the Black Sea by the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution marks the adoption of new policies by both to this end.

During 2009-2011 significant activities supported by the EC were carried out with the aim of:

The main outcomes of the activities are expected to be completed in August 2012.

Tackling Nutrient Pollution and Eutrophication in the Black Sea

Cooperation with HELCOM

To address nutrient pollution and eutrophication in the Black Sea, the Black Sea Commission, in close cooperation with the Helsinki Commission and supported by the European Commission has embarked on a tree-years project, which main objective is to promote measures to facilitate delivery of Black Sea Commission integrated regional monitoring and assessment products, with focus on nutrient pollution and eutrophication, through transfer of related existing best practices from other regions, in particular the Baltic Sea. The Baltic2Black project is implemented jointly by the Black Sea Commission (BSC) and Helsinki Commission (HELCOM).

Eutrophication/nutrient-enrichment is recognized as one of the major threats to the marine environment of the Black Sea in the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea. The monitoring of nutrients is important part of the regional environmental monitoring, which is carried out in framework of the Black Sea Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (BSIMAP), implemented by the Black Sea Commission since 2001.

The project includes following activities:

One of important project outcomes is updating of the Black Sea Information System (BSIS) with the new version of the Regional Database on Pollution (RDB-P), which is being developed by the Ukrainian Scientific Center of Ecology of Sea (UkrSCES), Odessa, Ukraine acting as regional Activity Center on Pollution Monitoring and Assessment (AC PMA) of the BSC. The operational RDB-P will allow analyzing and controlling data flow, identifying bottlenecks in coordinated regional data production/delivery/use and utilizing this information for improvement of the regional monitoring and assessment program and products. The first version of RDB-P is available at http://rdbp.sea.gov.ua/ and provides public access to monitoring metadata and statistics, while access to observation data is regulated by the BSC Information Policy.

Web Site of the Regional Database on Pollution

Regional Map of monitoring stations

The project objectives will be achieved through transfer of best practices on eutrophication parameters monitoring and assessment methods and approaches from the Baltic Sea region and HELCOM. For these purposes a series of seminars and practical hands-on workshops will be carried out mainly in the Black Sea region with the participation of the Black Sea and Baltic Sea experts and Secretariat professionals to transfer the knowledge from the Baltic to the Black Sea region and to enable a good dialogue.

The first such workshop titled "Assessment of eutrophication and nutrient pollution in the Black Sea and experiences from the Baltic Sea" took place in Istanbul, Turkey on 6-7 September 2011 with participation of members of Advisory Groups on Pollution Monitoring and Assessment and Land Bases Sources of Pollution and experts from Black and Baltic Sea regions. The workshop focused on creating a dialogue between the experts of the Black Sea and Baltic Sea regions on methods used for region-wide assessments of eutrophication status, including development of indicators with state targets. Other important topics were monitoring of nutrient loads from land-based sources using regionally harmonized methods and introduction to the Black Sea experts of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan nutrient reduction scheme.

One of key proposal from the workshop was to set up longer-term scientific collaboration between the two regions that would deal not only with the nutrient reduction scheme and ecosystem modeling. The workshop also elaborated proposals for further work to be brought to attention of the Black Sea Commission, among which are recommendations to make the work of BSC more transparent by sharing data and country reports to scientists and public and consider experience of HELCOM in environmental monitoring for better implementing of BSIMAP for period 2011-2016.

Building Capacity for a Black Sea Catchment Observation and Assessment System Supporting Sustainable Development

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Due to the large catchment area as compared to its own area, the Black Sea is very vulnerable to pressure from the land based human activities and its health is equally dependent from the coastal and non-coastal states of its basin. Due to the same reason, the Black Sea is vulnerable to climate change in the whole region. The EC FP7 enviroGRIDS project aims to gather, store, distribute, analyze, visualize and disseminate crucial information on the environment of the Black Sea catchment in order to increase the capacity of decision-makers and other interested stakeholders to use it for development of most relevant management options. It is targeting the needs of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River.

The enviroGRIDS@Black Sea Catchment project (http://www.envirogrids.net/ ) is bringing together several emerging information technologies that are revolutionizing the way we are able to observe our planet. enviroGRIDS is building a data­driven view of Black Sea catchment that feeds into models and scenarios to explore its past, present and future. As the principal aim of the enviroGRIDS project is to build capacity in new Earth Observation Systems in the Black Sea region, a specific strategy was developed, operating at three levels: human, institutional and infrastructure. At the human level, the main objectives are to inform policy and decision makers about Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and INSPIRE directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community) capacities, to teach scientists how to install Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) nodes, and to prepare the project partners to become trainers themselves. At the institutional level, project is targeting the needs of three main end users: BSC PS, ICPDR and UNEP, and preparing the base for many others by demonstrating good practices. At the infrastructure level, project is supporting the development of SDI nodes among partners that will serve as the base for the Black Sea Catchment Observation System. Project is also developing new ways of integrating SDI with Grid computing infrastructures.

enviroGRIDS scenarios

A first version of the spatially-explicit integrated scenarios of climate, land cover and demographic projections for Black Sea catchment has been released. The enviroGRIDS scenarios hold a number of plausible alternative storylines that are based on a coherent set of assumptions on future demography, climate and land use. The main ambition of these scenarios is to stimulate the discussion among policy makers on global changes and on their consecutive environmental and socio-economic impacts. The enviroGRIDS scenarios are based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Special Report on Emission Scenarios (IPCC-SRES).

One of the main aims of the enviroGRIDS project is to assess past, present and future water resources in the Black Sea catchment. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) performs

simulations that integrate various processes such as hydrology, climate, chemical transport, soil erosion, pesticide dynamics and agricultural management. For its simulation, SWAT requires data on elevation, soil, land cover and climate for model setup and river discharges, river water quality and crop yield (as available) for calibration and uncertainty analysis. Most of this data exists and can be obtained with some difficulties from national authorities, or from the Internet. A first version of the calibrated hydrological model for the full catchment is being finalized. The core data sets will be loaded into the enviroGRIDS data portal (URM), and shared through web services registered in GEOSS.

enviroGRIDS data portal

The enviroGRIDS data portal (http://www.envirogrids.cz/) is now fully operational and can help searching for data and metadata made available through enviroGRIDS, UNEP, GEOSS and other data catalogs. The data portal will also allow building and publishing specific map compositions to illustrate the work of the different partners in the project, including case studies on several GEO Societal Benefit Areas:

In the a context of global change and regional uncertainty, enviroGRIDS, by building spatially explicit integrated scenarios of climate, land cover, demographic and hydrological changes for the entire Black Sea catchment, brings some very valuable information to policy and decision makers. By working closely with the Black Sea Commission and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, enviroGRIDS is trying to answer some needs of these two important regional commissions.

During the three years of project implementation, huge progress has been made in all the work packages. The aim is now clearly to finalize all the output and communicate as well as possible on the project findings, tools and data services. In this effort to communicate on the main aim of the project, an animated video called the Story of Data on the Environment was developed and made available on YouTube. Project also started Professional networks on LinkedIn that can be joined by people interested in the topics related to enviroGRIDS. enviroGRIDS partners have been very active at publishing their results in more than 190 publications, and presenting at numerous conferences. The project Final conference is scheduled for 31 October 2012 in Batumi, Georgia at the occasion of the annual celebration of the Black Sea Day.

Black Sea Scientific Network – Taking on New Challenges

Undertaken by 51 partners of which 43 are located in the Black Sea countries, the UP-GRADE BS-SCENE was an FP7 EU funded project running from January 2009 to December 2011. The project was successfully completed in December 2011 putting the distributed data and information infrastructure providing on-line access to in-situ and remote sensing data, meta-data and products managed by partners, in full operational mode. The Black Sea SCENE infrastructure successfully served for EMODNet-Chemistry pilot project in the Black Sea Region (EMODNet – European Marine Observation and Data Network). One of the Black Sea SCENE targets is to qualify as the Black Sea data management infrastructure for the Black Sea Commission to support the implementation of the Bucharest Convention.

The comprehensive Black Sea SCENE web portal (http://www.blackseascene.net/) hosts numerous web services providing access to the extensive metadata and data managed by project partners: EDMO- Directory of Marine Organisations; EDMERP - Marine and Environmental Projects catalogue; EDMED - Marine and Environmental Datasets catalogue; CSR - Directory of Marine Research; EDIOS – directory of observation systems; CDI - Common Data Index, etc.

The project partners have populated the metadata services with Black Sea entries for EDMED (665), EDMO (261), EDMERP (519), CSR (430) and EDIOS (13). Also project partners have set up and populated information services for Black Sea scientists (663), bibliography (3169) and socio-economic data.

The most important achievement of the project is upgrading and populating the CDI Data Discovery and Access Service to give information about and access to more than 150,000 Black Sea data sets from 35 connected data centres from the Black Sea region, including the Mnemiopsis Leidyi Database hosted by the Permanent Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission.

The Black Sea Data Quality Control manuals have been developed and adopted by the Black Sea Commission for physical, chemical, biodiversity, and phytoplankton data and published at the BSC web site.

The Final project Conference was combined with the 3rd Black Sea Biannual Scientific Conference. It was jointly organized by the Black Sea Commission and the project with support of EC under auspice of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine. One of the six conference sessions was fully dedicated to environment data and information management allowing to present achievements of the project to the Black Sea scientific community and promote further usage of the products created within the project. The Black Sea SCENE infrastructure will continue to be maintained and populated by the project partners in next 3 years.

PEGASO project (People for Ecosystem-based Governance in Assessing Sustainable development of Ocean and coast)

Pegaso (http://www.pegasoproject.eu/) is a collaborative project between 25 Mediterranean and Black Sea institutions and organizations that seeks to identify the instruments needed, and to build the capacity for implementing the principles of the new Protocol for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the Mediterranean and its applicability in the Black Sea. The Pegaso Project is funded by the European Union within FP7 programme and started in February 2010. The core of the project is the development of an ICZM Governance Platform that could be used to share data and information to bridge the science and decision-making; producing innovative tools and testing them in countries, case studies and in the whole basin. Doing that, Pegaso will produce a common understanding on priority issues and institutional perspectives affecting the coastal and marine areas of the two regional seas.

The ICZM Stocktake for the Mediterranean & the Black Sea

One of the key objectives of the Pegaso regional assessment is to develop an overview on the current legislative, institutional, policy and financial frameworks for ICZM governance at the different countries. The questionnaires distributed to all Mediterranean and Black Sea countries contained 53 questions in 16 core themes, selected in line with the articles of the ICZM Protocol for the Mediterranean. A compilation of the responses is being prepared by PAP/RAC, the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre of the Mediterranean Action Plan. These results will be made available on-line.

Another objective of the Pegaso projects is to integrate scientific, policy, managerial and social views and attitudes towards ICZM governance for supporting the development of integrated policies for the coastal and marine realms. A review of science capacity on ICZM in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea was made through a questionnaire study sent to individual experts working in the riparian countries. The analysis of the returned questionnaires indicated that the specializations of the respondents fell mostly in natural sciences and technical fields. This biased sample of experts placed less importance to the socio-economic and political sciences for ICZM compared to natural sciences.

Pegaso CASES

There are 10 Collaborative Application SitES (CASES) that are being studied in the scope of the Pegaso project. These sites, which are at different stages of ICZM implementation, represent a diverse cross-picture of coastal settings, key pressures, sizes and geographic locations. Seven of the CASES are located in the Mediterranean Basin while the remaining 3 are located in the Black Sea countries (Danube Delta, Sevastopol Bay and Guria coastal region). The aim of the CASES is to demonstrate the application of tools, developed during the project, at different spatial scales as well as to contribute to the Regional Assessment at the scale of Mediterranean and Black Sea basins. All CASES have already identified their main coastal issues, stakeholders and objectives to focus on and developed their work plan.

The 2nd General Pegaso Meeting took place from the 4th to the 8th of July at the Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development in Tulcea, Romania. More than 65 experts from the partners’ institutions attended this event. To ensure that the Pegaso project responds to the different stakeholder’s needs, the meeting was also attended by the members of the End Users Committee.

The meeting provided crucial guidance to the partners and guest participants on progress in all work packages of the project as well as the conceptual and operational basis to develop the regional assessment (governance, cross-cutting sectors, state of the environment, balance between different stakeholder’s interest) for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Moreover, it provided an added value experience to test the different components of the Shared ICZM Governance Platform (Pegaso Consortium, Scientific Advisory Group, End Users Committee and CASES sites) on how they could bridge the gap between scientists and end-user communities and support the implementation of the Mediterranean ICZM Protocol and a similar process in the Black Sea.

Finally, participants had the opportunity to make a cruise trip along the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. The trip also offered the opportunity for further discussions on strategies and mechanisms to bring the conceptual ideas into practice as well as for enjoying the scenery and the rich wildlife of the Danube Delta.

BSC Publications

Marine Plants of the Black Sea. An Illustrated Field Guide

N.A. Milchakova

Sevastopol, DigitPrint, 2010. – 140 pp.

This Guide has been prepared by N.A. Milchakova, scientist of the Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas (IBSS), Sevastopol, Ukraine and published with the financial assistance of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (BSC). This illustrative field Guide describes marine plants and bottom vegetation of the Black Sea, its commercial use and protection, and the techniques applied towards preparing a seaweed herbarium. General information about the Black Sea and the habitats of marine plants is also included. The short articles about 74 common species of marine plants with information by morphology, ecology, distribution and commercial use are represented in taxonomic part; each species is illustrated with underwater photos. Useful listings of the marine protected area in the Black Sea, international conventions and agreements on preservation of the biological and landscape diversity are provided in this book, as well as a list of regional experts, references and glossary. This Guide is intended for scientists, teachers, students, divers and tourists as a significant source for species identification of the Black Sea marine plants. The Guide was widely distributed in and outside of the Black Sea region to be used by scientists and decision makers.