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Improved protection for Danube Delta from accidental pollution applauded as five-year UNECE project concludes

Improved protection for Danube Delta from accidental pollution applauded as five-year UNECE project concludes

Looking back at five years of working together in the area of hazard and crisis management in the Danube Delta, the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine today agreed to further strengthen their cooperation. At the concluding workshop of the UNECE Danube Delta Project, held in Bucharest on 20 and 21 October 2015, the three countries recognized the results achieved under the project and committed to building on them in order to protect human health and the Delta’s unique natural heritage from accidental water pollution.  


“Industrial accidents know no borders and could lead to catastrophic pollution”, Gratiela Gavrilescu, Minister of Environment, Water and Forests of Romania warned participants, underscoring that “cooperation among the Danube Delta riparian countries is crucial to respond promptly and effectively and to protect the outstanding environmental values of our beautiful Danube Delta”.


Through a number of activities facilitated by the UNECE Industrial Accidents Convention in the framework of the Danube Delta project, such as technical workshops on hazard and crisis management and table-top and field exercises, the three countries reviewed their legislation and policies and then developed safety guidelines, a map of hazardous industrial activities in the Delta and a draft joint contingency plan. These tools will help the responsible authorities and industry to introduce adequate safety standards to prevent, prepare for and respond to industrial accidents that can have transboundary effects. Serghiy Kurykin, acting Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, welcomed the activities conducted in the framework of Danube Delta project, highly appreciating the project's contribution to enhancing hazard and crisis management in the Danube Delta. 


Reflecting on the first-ever joint field exercise in the Danube Delta, involving all three countries, Valeriu Munteanu, Environment Minister of the Republic of Moldova stated: “The exercise allowed us to further improve our cooperation for a prompt joint response to potential oil spills in the Delta. It gave us an opportunity to share knowledge, experience and best practices.”


The finalization of the draft joint contingency plan for the Danube Delta will be a crucial next step to enable countries to prepare for and render a coordinated response to spills from one of the oil terminals located in the Delta. At the concluding project workshop, the countries have agreed to continue and enhance their cooperation to protect the Danube Delta environment and human health from accidental pollution. The Danube is Europe’s second largest river delta, providing a home to over 5,000 plant and animal species. The Danube provides drinking water for about 20 million people.


Note to editors

The 1992 Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (Industrial Accidents Convention) is designed to protect people and the environment against industrial accidents. The Convention aims at preventing accidents from occurring, or reducing their frequency and severity and mitigating their effects if they do occur. The Convention sets out emergency preparedness measures to be taken by its Parties, such as the harmonization and the preparation of joint contingency plans. To date there are 41 Parties to the Convention, which include, besides the European Union (EU) and 25 of the EU member States (excluding Ireland and Malta), Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Switzerland and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


The 1992 UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is the major legal framework for transboundary water management in the pan-European region. The Water Convention obliges its Parties to take measures to prevent, control and reduce transboundary impact, including to minimize accidental pollution and to develop contingency planning.


The UNECE Project on improving hazard and crisis management in the Danube Delta (Danube Delta Project) started in 2011 when the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Romania jointly requested this project under the UNECE Industrial Accidents Convention and its Assistance Programme. The Project was formally launched at a high-level meeting in Kyiv on 11 May 2011. It has been supported financially by Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Romania and Parties to the Industrial Accidents Convention contributing to its Assistance Programme. The three project countries and the Czech Republic provided valuable in-kind expert contributions and resources. More information about the Danube Delta Project can be found at: http://www.unece.org/env/teia/ap/ddp.html.


The Safety Guidelines and Good Industry Practices on Oil Terminals developed under the Danube Delta Project are available from http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=41066.

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