Romania’s Activity in the Field of Public…

Bystroe Canal

 On 11 May 2004, Ukraine started the construction works at the Danube-Black Sea Canal (on the Chilia and Bystroe branches of the Danube Delta) and on 26 August 2004 it officially inaugurated the first stage. Construction work on the navigation canal was resumed in November 2006 and a part situated entirely on the Ukrainian territory began being used for navigation in April 2007.  

As soon as information on the Ukrainian project was released to the public, the Romanian party, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, started demarches in the bilateral relations to underline the necessity for the Ukrainian party to comply with international law.

The implementation by Ukraine of the Bystroe project violates the provisions of both various international conventions in the field of environment protection and of the bilateral agreements.

The position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promoted at multilateral level through the mechanisms provided by various international conventions since 2003, is a balanced one, based on full respect of international law, good faith, openness and availability to dialogue. 

The demarches of the Romanian party were construed based on the two main components of this issue: environment and navigation.

a) From the point of view of environment protection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acted consistently by asking for observance of the international conventions and recommendations so as to minimize the impact on the ecosystem of the Danube Delta. The positions promoted by the Romanian party were confirmed by the studies made by international organizations (Secretariat of the Bern Convention,  Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube)

b) Regarding navigation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed that the works on the Chilia branch must conform with the border regime. At the same time, it showed that the navigation regime established under the Belgrade Convention from 1948 must be taken into consideration on the Lower Danube segment.

The Ukrainian project was implemented in disregard of the negative reactions and the requests for suspending the works until their conformity with the international norms expressed by Romania, the European states, the European Commission, international organizations active in the field of environment protection and various nongovernmental organizations.

The consistent position of the Romanian party has been that Ukraine must abstain from any new works and start an open bilateral dialogue with a view to solving the issue according to international standards, considering the clear provisions of international conventions, especially the Espoo Convention, and the fact that the Bystroe canal is likely to exert a very adverse crossborder impact on the Danube Delta ecosystem. 

The Romania party shall continue the demarches at bilateral and multilateral level, in order to identify, together with the Ukrainian party, a solution to the Bystroe problem according to international norms in the field. Romania does not contest the right of Ukraine to take measures for the economic development of the country, but these measures must observe  the European standards and the norms of international law, according to the principle of sustainable development.