Sustainable Development Success Stories

Regional Capacity Building for Black Sea Pollution Assessment

Location  Countries surrounding the Black Sea: Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.
Responsible Organisation The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Description The Black Sea is suffering a serious deterioration of its environment and its natural resources, with important adverse effects on the economies of riparian countries, principally through the demise of fisheries and tourism. These problems are caused mainly by ill-managed land-based sources of pollution and the impact of pollutants and fishing practices on the marine ecosystem. The Governments of Black Sea countries committed to a regional cooperative approach for rehabilitating and protecting the Black Sea, and developed a joint Strategic Action Plan (SAP). It was recognized that the reliable monitoring and assessment of marine pollution are essential components of a sustainable management of marine resources. The IAEA was requested to assist and, through its technical cooperation programme and its Marine Environment Laboratory in Monaco, took action to develop in the region the human resources and technical capacity required for coordinated monitoring of radioactive and non-radioactive pollutants. Technical support was provided to the Global Environment Facility’s Black Sea Environmental Programme (BSEP, 1993-1997) to establish up-to-date analytical capabilities for chemical pollutants. IAEA’s programme for Marine Environmental Assessment in the Black Sea Region (1995-2000) is developing in the Black Sea countries the capacity to assess marine pollution using nuclear techniques and to operate regionally coordinated monitoring and emergency response programmes for radioactive pollution. In both these major programmes, training, equipment and methodological guidance were provided to laboratories in Black Sea countries and quality control and pilot contaminant screening were conducted jointly.
Issues Addressed Marine pollution, Capacity building.
Results Achieved

· Technical and operational capacities of key laboratories in each country were strengthened to increase their effectiveness. These laboratories are now able to report reliable data on chemical and radioactive pollutants in the marine environment and to evaluate environmental and health impacts of marine pollution

· The BSEP resulted in a large volume of data which shows that the main causes for the ecological degradation of the Black Sea are the discharges of nutrients and sewage, thus pointing to the issues to be addressed with priority by environmental regulation programmes.

· During a Ministerial Meeting organised in 1998 within the ongoing IAEA Technical Cooperation project Marine Environmental Assessment of the Black Sea Region, Ministers from the riparian countries signed a Declaration furthering their commitment to a sustainable development of Black Sea resources, to regional cooperation and public transparence of pollution monitoring programmes.

· An international cruise with 30 scientists from all Black Sea countries was successfully organized in 1998 with the double purpose of providing new information on the status of pollution of the Black Sea and of testing the proficiency of the participating laboratories.

Lessons Learned

· Tackling the pollution of regional seas requires the participation of all countries bordering the sea. The effectiveness of this regional cooperation is considerably increased through the commitment of Governmental authorities.

· A central facility for data quality control and methodological harmonization is a key element for producing comparable data and reliable reports in a regionally coordinated environmental monitoring programme involving a large number of participants.

Contacts Mr. Hugh D. Livingston
IAEA Marine Environment Laboratory
B.P. 800, MC-98012 Monaco
Tel (377) 9797 7272; Fax (377) 9797 7273
E-mail: H.Livingston@iaea.org
Web-page: http://www.iaea.org/monaco

Mr. Massoud Samiei
IAEA Technical Co-operation Department
P.O. Box 100, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel: (431) 2600 22327; Fax: (431) 26007
E-mail: M.Samiei@iaea.org
Web-page: http://www.iaea.or.at