What is the history of BSEC? When was it established?
BSEC was launched as a regionally owned initiative, with Turkey’s lead, when the Heads of State and Government of 11 countries - Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine - signed the Summit Declaration and the Bosphorus Statement on 25 June 1992, in Istanbul.
The BSEC Permanent International Secretariat was established on 10 March 1994, in Istanbul.
On 1 May 1999, BSEC acquired international legal identity and was officially transformed from an initiative into a regional cooperation organization, with the entry into force of the BSEC Charter adopted in Yalta in 1998, becoming the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
With the accession of Serbia and Montenegro in April 2004, the Organization’s Member States increased to 12. After Montenegro became independent in 2006, the membership of the Republic of Serbia has continued.
In two decades, BSEC has become the most inclusive and comprehensive organization in the wider Black Sea area and has evolved into a full-fledged institution. (these are details)
Who are the Members of BSEC?
The 12 BSEC Member States are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.
What does BSEC do? What are the BSEC areas of cooperation?
BSEC is a unique and promising model of multilateral political and economic initiative aimed at fostering interaction and harmony among the Member States, as well as to ensure peace, stability and prosperity, encouraging friendly and good-neighborly relations in the Black Sea region.
It serves as a forum for cooperation in a wide range of areas for its 12 Member States. In line with the principles and objectives defined in its Charter and with the aim of utilizing more effectively their human, natural and other resources, BSEC defines the common policy approaches of its Member States in summit and ministerial declarations, inter-governmental agreements, strategy documents and plans of action and launches projects and initiatives which are of joint interest to them.
Agriculture and agro-industry, banking and finance, combating organized crime, culture, customs matters, education, emergency assistance, energy, environmental protection, exchange of statistical data and information, healthcare and pharmaceutics, information and communication technologies, institutional renewal and good governance, science and technology, SMEs, tourism, trade and economic development and transport are among the fields of cooperation within the framework of the Organization.
What are the main structures of BSEC?
Summit Meetings - They provide opportunities for the Heads of States and Government of the Member States to evaluate and provide strategic direction to the Organization’s activities.
Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs - is the principal and regular decision making organ of the BSEC. The Council is preceded by a meeting of the Committee of the Senior Officials (preparatory meeting). The Council, in principle, is convened at least once every six months, in the country of the Chairmanship-in-Office.
Ministerial Meetings in different BSEC areas of cooperation - the Meetings of the Ministers responsible for the different BSEC areas of cooperation consider the status of implementation of Resolutions, Decisions and Recommendations of the Council in their particular area of cooperation.
Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) - represents the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and acts on the Council's behalf. It reviews activities of the Subsidiary Organs, evaluates the implementation of decisions and recommendations of the Council and elaborates recommendations and proposals to be presented to the Council.
Subsidiary Organs - are Working Groups, Groups of Experts, Task Forces or Committees established by the Council or under its authority. The Subsidiary Organs carry out their mandate defined by the Council in their terms of reference, draw up joint projects and follow-up the implementation of such projects/activities in their respective areas.
Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) - carries out the secretarial services of BSEC. It functions under the authority of the Chairman-in-Office of BSEC. That authority is executed by the Secretary General.
For further details please see the BSEC Charter
What is the role of the Chairmanship-in-Office?
The Chairmanship-in-Office coordinates all activities carried out within the framework of BSEC and ensures the proper conduct of the BSEC proceedings as well as the implementation of the Resolutions and Decisions adopted. The Chairmanship rotates every six months according to the English alphabetical order (two-per-year Chairmanship sequence – one starting in January and one in July). At the beginning of its term, each Chairmanship defines and announces a set of priorities to foster BSEC cooperation in different spheres. These priorities constitute the roadmap for the Organization during the term of the Chairmanship. The Chairmanship-in-Office also prepares a Calendar of Events, in consultation with the BSEC Member States, Related Bodies and the Permanent International Secretariat, to support its priorities. The priorities of the current Chairmanship-in-Office can be reached from http://www.bsec-organization.org/CHAIRMANSHIP/Pages/default.aspx
What is the role of the Country-Coordinators of the Working Groups?
The operative management and guidance of the activities of the Working Groups is carried out by the Country-Coordinators with the assistance of the BSEC PERMIS. The Council appoints a Member State as the County-Coordinator of a particular Working Group for a period of two years. The Country-Coordinators of a Working Group submits a two-year Plan of Action in the relevant sphere of cooperation which includes specific provisions setting clear responsibilities and deadlines for its implementation. The list of the Country-Coordinators of the Working Groups is available at http://www.bsec-organization.org/aoc/countrycoord/Pages/information.aspx. For further details please see Terms of Reference for the Institution of Country-Coordinator.
What is the role of the BSEC Permanent International Secretariat?
The Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) carries out the secretarial services of BSEC. It functions under the authority of the Chairman-in-Office of BSEC. That authority is executed by the Secretary General.
The staff members of the PERMIS perform their duties as international officials with due regard to the principles and objectives of the BSEC. In the performance of their duties the staff of the PERMIS do not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any authority external to the BSEC.
The work of the staff of the PERMIS is clustered thematically
CLUSTER 1 - Cooperation with international and regional organizations and institutions
CLUSTER 2 - Strengthening the organization
CLUSTER 3 - BSEC funds: strengthening of the project-oriented dimension of the organization
CLUSTER 4 - Trade and Economic Development
CLUSTER 5 - Sectoral (Industrial) Cooperation
CLUSTER 6 - Science, Education, Culture
CLUSTER 7 - Social Issues and Challenges
What is the main strategic document of BSEC?
The main strategic document of BSEC is the BSEC Economic Agenda Towards an Enhanced BSEC Partnership, adopted by the 26th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Belgrade, 11 June 2012) and endorsed by the Summit Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the BSEC Member States on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Organization (Istanbul, 26 June 2012).
The Economic Agenda provides a comprehensive strategic vision for the activities of the Organization in the coming years, with a view of strengthening the project-oriented dimension of BSEC and increasing its interaction with international and regional Organizations and institutions. Setting sustainable development as an overarching objective, the Economic Agenda contains specific targets in each of the 17 BSEC areas of cooperation.
The relevant BSEC Working Groups are called upon to proceed with the implementation of the Economic Agenda, under the guidance of the Country-Coordinators and in pursuance of their Action Plans.
How are decisions taken in BSEC?
The principal regular decision making organ of BSEC is the Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
The decision-making within the BSEC is, apart from the Summit, bestowed upon the Council which may charge subsidiary organs to make a decision on a particular question and inform the Council on it.
When the decision-making organs of BSEC are not in session, the silence procedure may be applied for the adoption of resolutions and decisions.
For further details please see Rules of Procedure
Types of formal decisions within BSEC:
Resolution - is a text adopted by the Council on substantive issues pertaining to the structure and/or functioning of BSEC. All Member States shall abide by the provisions of the Resolutions. Resolutions are adopted by consensus on issues such as the admission of new Member States; granting and extending of observer and sectoral dialogue partnership status to third states and international organizations; creation of new organs of BSEC; defining, modifying and terminating their mandates; adoption and modification of the Rules of Procedure; adoption of the agenda for the BSEC meetings if the issues included therein require consensus; approval of cooperation projects (consensus of States interested) and financial commitments affecting all Member States.
Decision - is a text adopted by the Council on a specific issue pertaining to technical matters and/or functioning of BSEC. Decisions are adopted by a 2/3 majority of votes. All Member States who have voted in favor shall abide by the provisions of the Decisions.
Recommendation - is a text duly adopted either by the Council or by the subsidiary organs, without binding effects on the Member States. A Recommendation of subsidiary organs will bear effect upon its approval by the Council. When a Recommendation is adopted by the subsidiary organs, it is for the consideration by the Council. Recommendations are adopted by simple majority.
What has BSEC accomplished so far?
Agriculture and Agro-industry
The BSEC Working Group on Agriculture and Agro-industry focuses its activities on improving rural productivity and enhancing the international competitiveness of the Member States, in particular through facilitating the access to new technologies, scaling up of managerial innovations, harmonization and adoption of quality standards for products, i.e. in the promotion of food safety and the harmonization of labeling standards for food products.
Banking and Finance
The BSEC Working Group on Banking and Finance provides a forum for exchange of information and best practices among the competent authorities of the BSEC Member States and planning of joint actions in the field of banking and finance as well as developing a strategy of securing financial resources for BSEC projects and programs.
The most important achievement of the Working Group is the establishment of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) in 1994. BSTDB is based in Thessaloniki and is one of the four Related Bodies of BSEC. The Agreement establishing the BSTDB provides that the purpose of the Bank is to contribute to the transition process of the Member States towards economic prosperity, to finance and promote regional projects and to provide other banking services to projects of the public and private sectors in the Member States and trade activities among them.
Combating Organized Crime
The BSEC Working Group on Cooperation in Combating Organized Crime, in Particular in its Organized Forms, provides a forum for exchange of information and best practices among the competent authorities of the BSEC Member States in combating organized crime activities, such as the trafficking of human beings, drugs, weapons and radioactive materials; corruption; smuggling of motor vehicles and cyber-crime as well as money laundering and illicit financial activities.
To ensure the well-being of the people of the region by fighting organized crime and to establish a BSEC-wide joint front against this threat by taking concerted measures, the BSEC Ministers of Interior have signed various key legal documents. These documents include:
• Agreement Among the Governments of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Participating States on Cooperation in Combating Crime, in Particular in its Organized Forms (Kerkyra, 2 October 1998);
• Additional Protocol to the Agreement Among the Governments of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Participating States on Cooperation in Combating Crime, in Particular in its Organized Forms (Kyiv, 15 March 2002);
• Additional Protocol on Combating Terrorism to the Agreement Among the Governments of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Participating States on Cooperation in Combating Crime, in Particular in its Organized Forms (Athens, 3 December 2004).
A Network of the Liaison Officers on Combating Crime was established within the framework of the Additional Protocol to the BSEC Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Crime (Kyiv, 2002). One of the aims of this Network is strengthening cooperation among the border law enforcement and immigration agencies of the BSEC Member States to achieve integrated border management by, inter alia, establishing and maintaining direct channels of communication.
A BSEC Regional Action Plan for Strengthening the Criminal Justice Response to Trafficking in Persons in the Black Sea Region was adopted in 2008. The Plan elaborated in cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is one of the few of its kind in the world and BSEC provides the institutional basis for its implementation.
The BSEC Working Group on Culture contributes to fostering intercultural dialogue, spirit of equality and respect of national cultural traditions, protection of cultural diversity and cultural heritage as well as the promotion of the cultural identity of the BSEC Region.
Close collaboration and various joint meetings with the Working Group on Cooperation in Tourism has resulted in the elaboration of a number of joint project proposals regarding cultural routes/cultural tourism. The Working Group on Culture has defined cultural routes, intangible heritage and cultural and creative industries as priorities to be funded from the BSEC Project Development Fund.
For the medium-term covering the 2013-2015 period, the Working Group on Culture has identified priorities, namely, the promotion of the restoration of major architectural monuments which are symbols of national and regional culture and care projects of the architectural heritage on the territory of the BSEC Member States; and development of cooperation in combating illicit trafficking of cultural property belonging to the archaeological, historical, ethnographical heritage and the arts, inter alia through exchange of information to facilitate the return of lost or illegally exported cultural values within the existing legislation.
The BSEC Working Group on Customs Matters aims to introduce common standards of simplified and efficient customs procedures which facilitate and secure the movement of goods and carriers through borders; promote the strengthening of cooperation and synchronization of the operations between different services responsible for border crossing control; strengthen customs capacity to combat smuggling and customs fraud; assist in combating terrorism through respective customs provisions, regulations and best practices; and develop mechanisms enabling the elimination of unregistered trade in the region.
Such issues as consideration of possibility to establish a mechanism of exchange of preliminary information among the interested Customs Administrations of the BSEC Member States, the benchmarking for improvement of border crossing procedures, application of ICT for customs operations and exchange of experience on implementation of Single Window concept in BSEC Member States are currently under discussion in this Working Group.
The BSEC Working Group on Education promotes regional cooperation in the field of education, particularly higher education. It focuses on joint research projects and programs aimed at the greater valorization of the educational potential and encouraging higher students’ mobility and exchange among the BSEC Member States. It fosters dialogue and collaboration to enhance the importance of education in the region, while developing wider international cooperation with other international organizations, particularly with the European Union.
The Working Group has defined academic mobility between the BSEC Member States; development of joint university programs; and promotion of scientific research for sustainable development of the BSEC Region as priorities to be funded from the BSEC Project Development Fund (PDF). Two project proposals within the PDF have been approved.
For the medium-term covering the 2013-2015 period, the Working Group on Education has identified priorities, namely, encouraging the mobility of academic staff and students among the BSEC Member States, including through bilateral and multilateral agreements and scholarships among higher education institutions; supporting the exchange of information and experiences with regard to the modernization of the educational systems in the BSEC Member States aimed at increasing sustainable growth and the establishment of knowledge based societies; and promoting the scientific research for Sustainable Development of the BSEC Region.
The BSEC Working Group on Emergency Assistance focuses on enhancing coordination among the BSEC Member States in preventing and eliminating the consequences of natural and man-made disasters; strengthening cooperation in implementing the Agreement among the Governments of the BSEC Member States on Collaboration in Emergency Assistance and Emergency Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters and its Additional Protocol; promoting cooperation among the seismologists in the BSEC Region; promoting the organization of regional trainings, seminars and scientific conferences and the establishment of BSEC expert bodies to deal with massive forest fires and floods. Within this framework, BSEC has created an Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Seismic Risks as well as an Ad Hoc Working Groups on Massive Forest Fires and on Floods and Torrents.
The BSEC Working Group on Energy focuses on enhancing cooperation and coordination among the BSEC Member States in establishing an Integrated Black Sea Energy Market; approximating the national legislation of the BSEC Member States in the energy sector; development of green energy and promotion of renewable energy resources; development of electrical interconnections among the Member States; exploration and extraction of hydrocarbon resources of the Black Sea; security, interconnectivity and the diversification of energy sources and routes.
A BSEC Task Force of Experts on Green Energy has been established within the Working Group on Energy to create a network for exchanging information and sharing best practices among the national authorities mandated to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures and policies. A Green Energy Development Strategy Paper is currently being elaborated by the said Task Force.
The BSEC Working Group on Environmental Protection promotes a balanced and harmonious approach to social needs, economic activity and the protection of the environment in the Black Sea region. Particular attention is given to the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency, development of environmentally friendly energy technologies and use of environmental impact assessments for all significant projects.
BSEC cooperates closely with the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution to avoid duplication of activities, as well as with the programs and initiatives for the Mediterranean, Caspian and the Danube basins to develop region-oriented projects of mutual interest.
Currently, BSEC is working jointly with the UNDP in the elaboration of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in the Black Sea Region.
Exchange of Statistical Data and Economic Information
BSEC fosters cooperation in the harmonization and exchange of economic and social statistical data and information. The main objective of the BSEC Working Group on Exchange of Statistical Data and Economic Information is to ensure data compatibility and to create the basis for a common economic language, based on the need of the BSEC Member States to harmonize statistical methods and definitions and to utilize international classifications in their activities.
There is a BSEC Coordination Centre for the Exchange of Statistical Data and Economic Information within the State Institute of Statistics of the Republic of Turkey. The said Centre has the status of a BSEC Affiliated Centre. The Centre produced a compilation of statistics which is envisaged to be updated.
Healthcare and Pharmaceutics
The BSEC Working Group on Healthcare and Pharmaceutics promotes cooperation in the sphere of public health, prevention of the spread of infectious diseases and elaboration of an Epidemiological Surveillance and Response Network among the BSEC Member States.
An Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Sanitary Protection of the Territories of the BSEC Member States has been adopted and is pending ratification.
A draft Memorandum of Understanding on Information Exchange and Cooperation in the Sphere of Quality Assurance of Medicines is currently under discussion.
The BSEC Working Group on Healthcare and Pharmaceutics are currently discussing Draft Terms of Reference on establishment of an Expert Group for the epidemiological surveillance and response to health threats within the BSEC region.
Information and Communication Technologies
The BSEC Working Group on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) promotes the creation of conditions for the improvement and growth of ICT in five main directions, namely, telecommunications, ICT education, ICT business environment, e-services and internet security/cyber-security. It also works on designing and implementing key projects aimed at the development of the ICT sector and setting a platform for expanded cooperation and networking.
Various ICT projects have been supported by the BSEC Project Development Fund, including the “Technology Transfer Network for BSEC Region.”
A Cooperation Program on ICT has been established between the BSEC Member States and Republic of Korea which is a BSEC Sectoral Dialogue Partner. Within the framework of the Cooperation Program, a number of workshops have been organized.
The Forum of Black Sea Broadcasting Regulatory Authorities (BRAF) was established in 2009 with the support of the BSEC Working Group on ICT. The Forum’s objective is to promote dialogue among the broadcasting regulatory authorities of the region; foster exchange of information and experiences on common topics related to broadcasting; serve as a platform for the discussion of a wide variety of audiovisual matters, including those related to cultural diversity and cultural heritage, as well as the discussion of problems pertaining to broadcasting.
Institutional Renewal and Good Governance
The BSEC Working Group on Institutional Renewal and Good Governance aims to support the efforts of the BSEC Member States towards improving national legislations in the sphere of civil service and public administration in line with best practices. At its focus is involvement of civil society in providing good governance, securing integrity, transparency and the fight against corruption.
The Working Group conducts studies in the fields of good governance, public sector efficiency and institutional renewal in the BSEC Member States, with the support of relevant international organizations.
Issues which include Online Vehicle Registration Service, Law Drafting and Management of Stock of Legislation, the Right of Access to Information and Governance Ethics are currently under discussion within the framework of the Working Group.
Science and Technology
The BSEC Working Group on Cooperation in Science and Technology focuses on developing human resources, capacity building, research infrastructure and innovation in the sphere of science and technology; developing a registry of national innovation related structures of the BSEC Member States and creating the conditions for their effective interaction; facilitating closer cooperation in the fields of science and technology among the BSEC Member States, the BSEC Related Bodies and other partners and international organizations in order to encourage co-funding schemes for formulating and implementing regional research projects.
A Memorandum of Intent on Science and Technology Cooperation has been signed between the BSEC and the Government of the USA in 2010 and cooperation has been established with the European Union.
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
The BSEC Working Group on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) aims to contribute to stimulating the development of the SMEs of the region.
The Working Group is currently working on the draft template of an electronic “Best Practices Booklet” which will compile the best practices of the BSEC Member States in promoting energy efficiency in SMEs.
Since 1997, more than 30 joint workshops on SME development have been organized together with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in Turkey. Various publications have been produced based on the presentations and conclusions of these workshops. The outcomes of the workshops are recommended to be taken into account in the process of the implementation of the governmental policies on SMEs in the BSEC Member States.
BSEC cooperates closely with the International Network for SMEs (INSME) which is a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of BSEC.
The BSEC Working Group on Cooperation in Tourism fosters cooperation among the BSEC Member States in finding ways and means for the overall valorization of the natural wealth and abundant heritage of the region for promoting tourism.
Close collaboration and various joint meetings with the Working Group on Culture has resulted in the elaboration of a number of joint project proposals regarding cultural routes/cultural tourism. The Working Group on Cooperation in Tourism has defined new tourist products and routes; research; education and training; marketing and promotion as priorities to be funded from the BSEC Project Development Fund.
For the medium-term covering the 2013-2015 period, enhancing dialogue on the facilitation of visa procedures is among the priorities of the Working Group.
Trade and Economic Development
The BSEC Working Group on Trade and Economic Development fosters cooperation among the BSEC Member States in promoting economic development and the expansion and diversification of regional trade through trade facilitation and liberalization.
For the medium-term covering the 2013-2015 period, priorities have been set by the Working Group, which include identifying constraints affecting intra-regional trade expansion; facilitating visa procedures for the businesspeople of the BSEC Member States; and creating BSEC networks in the interested Member States aimed at promoting intra-regional trade and investments.
As reflected in the Joint Declaration of the Ministers Participating in the Meeting of the Ministers in charge of Economy of the BSEC Member States adopted in Yalta, Ukraine, on 23 May 2013, the Member States have agreed to a) Contribute to the liberalization of trade within BSEC and explore ways of establishing a Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism, b) Continue joint examination and elaboration of mechanisms for the elimination of non-tariff trade barriers in the region, c) Make efforts to continue the ongoing process of harmonization of customs and border-crossing procedures, d) Create favorable conditions for public–private partnership, e) Analyze the possibility of launching an initiative on simplifying procedures of trade within the BSEC – Black Sea Trade Facilitation Initiative, f) Explore the possibility of the creation by the BSEC Member States of a unified “single window system” (the Black Sea Single Window Initiative), g) Commence work on the possible creation of an information center (Black Sea Notifications and Inquiries Initiative), i) Consider the possibilities for reactivating the BSEC Coordination Center for the Exchange of Statistical Data and Economic Information.
In promoting intra-regional trade and investments, BSEC has been cooperating closely with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Within this framework, the Black Sea Trade and Investment Promotion Programme (BSTIP) - the first joint project between the two organizations – was launched in 2007. The ongoing project, which is co-financed by Greece, Turkey, the UNDP and BSEC, aims to develop trade and investment linkages among the BSEC Member States, with the direct participation of the business communities, through organizing sectoral business-to-business matchmaking events.
BSEC cooperation in the transport sphere mainly focuses on how to utilize effectively the intra-regional capacity and growing transit potential of the Black Sea region, concentrating on road and maritime infrastructure, facilitation of road transport of goods and intermodal transportation.
This cooperation is conducted within the framework of various subsidiary organs, which include the BSEC Working Group on Transport, the Steering Committee of the Development of the Black Sea Ring Highway, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Development of the Motorways of the Sea in the BSEC Region, the Steering Committee on the Facilitation of Road Transport of Goods and the Task Force on the elaboration of a road map for the BSEC Pilot Project on the introduction of the International Vehicle Weight Certificate. Also, a Task Force on intermodal transportation in the Black Sea region has been established in 2013.
BSEC has three flagship transport projects along with their sub-projects which are being implemented in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on Facilitation of Road Transport of Goods in the BSEC Region; the Memorandum of Understanding for the Coordinated Development of the Black Sea Ring Highway; and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Development of the Motorways of the Sea at the BSEC Region.
The Black Sea Ring Highway project envisages a four-lane ring highway system, approximately 7700 km long, to connect the BSEC Member States with each other. The IRU Model Highway Initiative will be included into the future Black Sea Ring Highway’s Master Plan in order to bring the ancillary road infrastructure to the highest European standards.
The project on the development of the Motorways of the Sea in the BSEC region pertains to the strengthening of the infrastructure of and links among the maritime ports of the BSEC Member States.
The project on the Facilitation of Road Transport of Goods in the BSEC Region and its sub-projects aim to facilitate road transport and regional trade. Within this framework, a pilot project on the establishment of a BSEC Permit system for the road transit of goods was launched in 2010, with participation of seven BSEC Member States. Encouraged by the positive results which have been achieved, in 2012, the participating states have agreed in principle to make the BSEC Permit Project permanent. With this project, BSEC has become the first regional organization to issue such transit documents.
Harmonization of weighing procedures, introduction of the International Vehicle Weight Certificate (IVWC), harmonization of charging policies, monitoring of the border waiting times and facilitation of visa procedures for professional drivers are other key areas of focus for BSEC cooperation in the sphere of transport. In this context, the Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures for the Professional Lorry Drivers Nationals of the BSEC Member States, signed in 2008 in Tirana, is expected to facilitate road transport and therefore contribute to trade among the Member States, once it goes into effect. Also, a pilot project is being developed for the introduction of the IVWC for the interested Member States.
In the field of transport, BSEC cooperates closely with other international organizations such as UNECE, UNDP, IRU, IRF as well as BSEC Sectoral Dialogue Partners such as BRASS, BASPA, BINSA and BSEC-URTA.
How are BSEC activities financed?
In accordance with the BSEC Charter, the Budget of the Organization is composed of the mandatory annual contributions of the BSEC Member States. The Member States contribute to the Budget in conformity with a scale of contributions, decided by the BSEC Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, taking into account the national and per capita GDP of the Member States.
The BSEC Charter also provides for the creation of special funds within the Organization, through the voluntary contributions of BSEC Member States, groups of States, Observers or third parties. In this framework, the Project Development Fund (PDF) and the BSEC Hellenic Development Fund (BSEC-HDF) were created, in 2003 and 2008, respectively.
Does BSEC sponsor projects? How do I apply?
BSEC has two financial instruments in the form of grants for financing projects, namely, the BSEC Project Development Fund (PDF) and the BSEC Hellenic Development Fund (BSEC-HDF).
BSEC Project Development Fund (PDF)
The PDF was established in 2002 as a “Seed Money Fund” for the financing of pre-feasibility studies for the purpose of facilitating the elaboration and promotion of projects with a high degree of regional cooperation and a focus on economic development in the BSEC region.
The PDF grant is up to 30,000 Euros for each eligible project. The targeted sectors for PDF financing are those outlined in the BSEC Economic Agenda and specified in accordance with the Action Plans and decisions of the BSEC Working Groups. Any legal entity from the 12 BSEC Member States can apply as partner. Institutions from at least three BSEC countries must participate and the project must have the eventual consent of the governments of the respective countries. Partners from non-BSEC countries (Observers, Sectoral Dialogue Partners or others) are encouraged to participate in the project, but are not eligible to the grant.
More information on the PDF is available at http://www.bsecprojects.com/.
BSEC Hellenic Development Fund (BSEC-HDF)
BSEC-HDF is a financial instrument established in 2008 upon the voluntary contribution of the Government of the Hellenic Republic. The Fund aims to support the efforts of BSEC to strengthen regional cooperation among its Member States and to enhance its project-oriented approach by taking also into account the guidelines of DAC/OECD.
The support from BSEC-HDF is in the form of Grants of at least 50,000 Euros. In order for a project to be eligible, applicants are expected to have secured co-financing (by their proper resources or by third parties, states, international organizations or other institutions) of at least 20%. According to its co-financing principle, BSEC-HDF grants will finance up to 80% of the total eligible costs.
Proposals eligible for funding could include: small scale infrastructure projects, networks and capacity building that promote innovation and regional development. Projects should be implemented within a period of two years. Applications should be submitted by at least two legal entities from two BSEC Member States. International organizations may be waived from certain requirements and conditions, but projects should cover at least two different BSEC Member States.
More information on the BSEC-HDF is available at http://www.bsecprojects.com/.
Does BSEC have any partners?
In accordance with the BSEC Charter, States and International Organizations which express readiness to make practical and valuable contribution to the work of BSEC may apply and following a Resolution of the BSEC Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs may acquire Observer, Dialogue Partner or Sectoral Dialogue Partner status within BSEC.
Currently, 17 countries and organizations have Observer status within BSEC (Republic of Austria, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Croatia, Czech Republic, Arab Republic of Egypt, French Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, State of Israel, Republic of Italy, Republic of Poland, Slovak Republic, Republic of Tunisia and the United States of America, the European Union, the International Black Sea Club, the Energy Charter Secretariat and the Black Sea Commission).
Sectoral Dialogue Partners
Currently, 14 countries and organizations have Sectoral Dialogue Partnership status within BSEC (Republic of Hungary, Japan, Montenegro, Republic of Slovenia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Republic of Korea, Black Sea International Shipowners Association (BINSA), Black and Azov Seas Ports Association (BASPA), Union of the Road Transport Associations in the BSEC Region (BSEC-URTA), Black Sea Region Association of Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers (BRASS) , Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN), Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR), Danube Commission and International Network for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (INSME).
What are the official languages of BSEC?
The official language of the BSEC documents is English. The official languages of the BSEC meetings are English and Russian. During meetings at the ministerial level, simultaneous interpretation is provided by the host country in English, French and Russian.
Where can I find statistical data on BSEC Member States?
Selective statistical data on BSEC Member States are accessible from the World Bank database under a single link. (http://ddp-ext.worldbank.org/ext/ddpreports/ViewSharedReport?REPORT_ID=19188&REQUEST_TYPE=VIEWADVANCED)
What are some recommended publications on BSEC and the Black Sea?
Neal Ascherson, Black Sea, 5th Edition, New York, Hill & Wang, 5th Edition, 2001; accessible at http://www.amazon.com/Black-Sea-Neal-Ascherson/dp/0809015935/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371455932&sr=8-1&keywords=Black+Sea
Charles King, The Black Sea: A History, New York, Oxford University Press, 2006; accessible at http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Sea-A-History/dp/019928394X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1371455932&sr=8-2&keywords=Black+Sea
Terry Adams, Lawrence David Meee, Michael Emerson & Marius Vahl, Europe’s Black Sea Dimension, CEPS Paperbacks, 2002; accessible at http://www.ceps.be/book/europes-black-sea-dimension
Daniel Hamilton & Gerhart Mangott, The Wider Black Sea region in the 21st Century: Strategic, economic and energy perspective, CTR Books and Monographs, 2008; accessible at http://www.ceps.be/book/wider-black-sea-region-21st-century-strategic-economic-and-energy-perspectives
Engin Sabancı, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation-20 Years of a Successful Regional Cooperation, 2013
ICBSS, 20 Years BSEC. Evolution of Institutions, Evolution of Priorities: Interlinks within the Black Sea region in a New Era, Xenophon Paper No. 12, 2012; accessible at http://icbss.org/media/927_original.pdf
Panayota Manoli, Reinvigorating Black Sea Cooperation: A policy discussion, Commission on the Black Sea, Commission on the Black Sea, Policy Report III, 2010; accessible at http://www.blackseacom.eu/policy-reports/
Panayota Manoli (editor), Unfolding the Black Sea Economic Cooperation: Views from the region, ICBSS, Xenophon Paper No. 2, 2007; accessible at http://icbss.org/media/106_original.pdf
How do I apply for a job at BSEC? Who can apply?
Nationals of the BSEC Member States can apply for a job at BSEC. For further details please see the following link:
How do I apply for internship at BSEC? Who can apply?
Nationals of the BSEC Member States can apply for internship at BSEC. For further details please see the following link:
Where can I find basic information on BSEC for a presentation/report?
Information can be found on the home page under “BSEC at a glance.”
Further information is available on the following link:
How can I regularly receive information regarding developments in BSEC?
For regular information RSS is available on the following link: