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TERMS OF REFERENCE
OF THE WORKING GROUP ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The Working Group on Cooperation in Environmental Protection is established in compliance with articles 4 and 12 of the BSEC Charter as a BSEC Subsidiary Organ in charge of the cooperation among the BSEC Member States in the area of environmental protection with the following mandate:

The mission of the Working Group is to:

- Promote cooperative activities in the BSEC region in the field of environmental protection taking into account the provisions of the BSEC Charter and the other BSEC statutory documents, the BSEC Economic Agenda for the Future, the Resolutions, Decisions and Recommendations adopted by the BSEC Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the BSEC Action Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection approved by the Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest, 26 April 2006), the Joint Declaration adopted at the Meeting of the Ministers in charge of Environmental Protection of the BSEC Member States (Bucharest, 3 March 2006), and the priorities of the Member States and the global challenges, regarding environment and sustainable development;
- Sustain the development of regional environmental cooperation in intersectoral and thematic areas such as biodiversity, waste management, urban management, integrated coastal zone management, marine environment and water protection, etc;
- Promote the integration of environmental protection into the economic and social policies of the BSEC Member States, as well as the development of innovative, environmentally friendly and resource saving technologies;
- Facilitate the exchange of information related to the environmental situation in the BSEC, especially with respect to pollution prevention and biodiversity conservation with particular attention to the areas not covered by the Bucharest Convention;
- Strengthen cooperation with UNEP and UNEP/MAP, the International Maritime Organization and with other related international organizations, with the Environment General Directorate of the European Commission and other General Directorates of the Commission and with the similar type of regional institutions and organizations to discuss common concerns and to share experiences, good practice and knowledge;
- Contribute for the harmonization of the environmental legislation in the BSEC Member States, based on the best practices and experience existing in the Pan-European region, taking into account the legislative framework of the European Union;
- Improve the coordination with regional organizations, institutions and initiatives, in particular with the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution;
- Promote the use of economic incentives and tools in the field of the environmental protection in order to ensure funding for projects of mutual interest.
The Working Group on Cooperation in Environmental Protection is assigned with the following tasks:

1. To submit recommendations on the need to:

- establish a regional Clearing House Mechanism among the BSEC Member States;
- explore ways of developing an Ecotourism Network in the BSEC region in coordination with the Working Group on Cooperation in Tourism, and if appropriate with other BSEC Working Groups;
- explore the means to design appropriate joint environmental projects, programs, courses,workshops and scientific conferences, taking into consideration the framework of the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development and the UN Decade of Education for
Sustainable Development.
- intensify the control of the transboundary spreading of dangerous substances in the environment of the BSEC region;
- consider the possible scope of introduction of Environment Impact Assessment and other related initiatives in the BSEC region;
- cooperate with international financial institutions in finding the sources of financing environmental projects directed in improvement of the state of environment of the BSEC area,
solving regional ecological problems etc.
The above recommendations shall be submitted to the Meeting of the Ministers in charge of Environmental Protection for endorsement. The draft Resolutions, Decisions and Recommendations proposed by the Working Group are adopted by the BSEC Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

2. The Working Group shall:

- organize regular meetings at least once a year at a reasonable time prior to the Meeting of the Ministers in charge of environmental protection. The draft agenda will be proposed by the Country-Coordinator and BSEC PERMIS;
- coordinate and organize the activities on environmental protection within the BSEC area, in particular, between Meetings of the Working Group, with the assistance of national focal points
nominated by the Member States;
- closely cooperate with other relevant Working Groups in BSEC, such as: the Working Group on Energy and the Working Group on Cooperation in Emergency Assistance, as well as the Working Groups of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution;
- elaborate, consider and recommend standard application for funding projects from the BSEC Project Development Fund;
- exchange scientific-technical information and documents;
- regularly exchange information on the new developments in the environmental legislation and the progress towards protecting the environment with more strict regulations, taking into consideration the Water Framework Directive and other relevant EU directives;
- invite the European Commission to attend the meetings of the Working Group on Environmental Protection in order to exchange views and create synergies between the BSEC Action Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection and the programs and financial instruments developed by the European Union in the field of the environmental protection;
- monitor the implementation of the BSEC Action Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection and submit regular progress reports to the BSEC Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and to the Ministers of Environment of the BSEC Member States.

4. The Country-Coordinator of the Working Group on Environmental Protection, in cooperation with the Chairman-in-Office and the support of BSEC PERMIS shall prepare a Work Program, to be presented for the consideration and appropriate action to the next Working Group meeting. The Work Program should include a list of ongoing and planned activities in the context of the BSEC Action Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection, with contact details of persons and institutions in charge, provided by the BSEC Member States.

5. The Country-Coordinator of the Working Group shall present an annual report on the cooperation activities in the area of environmental protection and the implementation of the BSEC Action Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection.