Continuing to focus its activities on priority economic topics, the Assembly has also embraced the following issues: democracy and rule of law, combating organized crime and terrorism in the region, protection of the Black Sea environment, forging cultural and educational cooperation between the member countries, setting social guarantees, strengthening cooperation at the level of civil society, and cooperation with other European and international organizations.
Since its establishment, the PABSEC has emphasized the role of its members in safeguarding and promoting democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and human rights in the member countries, boosting their efforts to build a modern and prosperous society, thus giving a strong impetus to the cooperation process in the Black Sea area.
The rule of law and other basic principles of democratic society serve as a force for stability and economic prosperity.The necessity of strengthening the rule of law in the countries of the Black Sea region within the framework of the process of consolidating democracy and elaboration of future strategies was underlined by the Assembly in its Recommendation 50/2001.
Within the same context, the Assembly has repeatedly underlined the importance of the close cooperation with other international organizations, particularly with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Also, members of the PABSEC national delegations have monitored parliamentary and presidential elections in the PABSEC member countries.
Good governance represents a prerequisite for smooth integration of the countries in the Black Sea within the New European Architecture and the parliamentarians, in the Recommendation on Cooperation among the PABSEC Member Countries in Strengthening Good Governance (rec. 69/2003), expressed their conviction to spare no effort in promoting the rule of law, transparency and accountability, civil society, independent and impartial judiciary, honest law-enforcement and truly democratic institutions, thus, preparing a solid legislative and institutional foundation for regional economic cooperation.
The Assembly has initiated the Forum of the Presidents of the Constitutional Courts of the PABSEC Member-Countries (Chisinau, 10-11 December 2001), that focused on the fundamental issues of the rule of law, constitutional justice, independent and impartial judiciary, transparency and accountability (rec. 62/2002) initiatives’ consolidation through fostering wider regional consensus and solidarity in finding solutions to common problems. As it was stressed in the Recommendation on the Role of the Civil Society in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Process (rec. 88/2006), PABSEC is confident that dependable partnership on all levels, including increased involvement of the civil society, is of vital importance for securing more efficient economic, political and social cooperation in the region.
Regional economic cooperation is impossible without having regional stability. PABSEC committed itself in the Recommendation on Regional Dimension of Stability and Security – Perspective of the BSEC Region (rec. 79/2004), to promote and strengthen peace, stability and security in the Black Sea region and to contribute to responding to security challenges through increasing stability and safeguarding regional and international peace and security, based on shared values and common approaches.
The institution of the Ombudsman (rec. 82/2005) is a topical issue for the region as it constitutes a mechanism of enhancing the system of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in every democratic state. PABSEC has debated on the place of the ombudsman in a democratic state and the manner in which an ombudsman can improve the operation of the executive branch of government.
PABSEC organized a Conference of Ombudsmen of the BSEC Member States, in Istanbul on 26-27 April 2006 that brought together delegations of all ombudsman institutions from the BSEC Member States, as well as the European Ombudsman, representatives of PABSEC, political and academic circles of Turkey. The participants had an exchange of views on the Role of the Ombudsman in Consolidating Democracy and adopted the Statement of the Ombudsmen from the BSEC Member States whereby they acknowledged their commitment to furthering relations of partnership among the national ombudsman institutions of the Black Sea region, as well as maintaining and strengthening the mechanism of permanent exchange of experience and information. The Statement stressed that in the 21st century the ombudsman institutions will play a more active role in the Black Sea region in helping state institutions to understand the people`s growing expectations and demands through safeguarding human rights, underpinning the principles of human dignity, social justice, mutual respect and solidarity.
- Strenghtening the legislative framework for protection of intellectual property (report, rec. 92/2006)
- Gender Equality In The Bsec Region: Achievements and challenges (report, rec. 142/2014)
The Assembly adopted recommendations on Social Guarantees during the Transition Period in the PABSEC Member Countries (rec. 14/1996), on the Rights and Social Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Black Sea Region (rec. 21/1997), on the Legal Framework of the Social Protection of Pensioners in the BSEC Member-Countries (rec. 36/1999), on the Legal Framework of Child Protection in the BSEC Member-Countries (rec. 41/1999), on the Legal Framework of the Protection of Migrant Workers in the Black Sea Countries and the Relations between Immigrant Communities and the Host Country (rec. 51/2001), on Social Reintegration of Jobless People (rec. 67/2002), on Fight against Poverty in the BSEC Member States (rec. 74/2003), and on Improving Social, Economic and Civil Rights of People with Dissabilities (rec. 77/2004), calling for governmental social guarantees and new, clearly defined social policies for the most vulnerable groups of population.
Taking into consideration that health care is vital for the population of the countries in transition the PABSEC also addressed this subject and adopted a recommendation on Cooperation in the Field of Public Health among the BSEC Member-Countries (rec. 44/2000), calling on the national parliaments and governments to enact effective national legislation securing the health care protection as a fundamental human right enshrined in the European Social Charter of the Council of Europe, and as a crucial factor of the development of the society.
Recognizing that the achievement of equal and full participation of women in all spheres of activity constitutes an inseparable part of political, economic, social and cultural development of all countries, and taking into consideration that social progress requires active participation of women in promoting international peace and cooperation, the PABSEC has taken up the subject on Women’s Participation in Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Life (rec. 61/2002), recommending to enact effective legislation covering the legal gaps related to equality between men and women, and to harmonize the national legislation with the existing European and international standards, within the EU integration process.
During the last years the quality of life in the BSEC Member States has gone through various changes but at the same time it starts to gradually improve in terms of prosperity and well-being of the people of the Black Sea region. Promoting a recovery in living standards by continuing positive macroeconomic trends, accompanied by structural reforms and programs to reduce poverty, is now one of the greatest challenges confronting the governments of the BSEC member states. The main priorities among the BSEC member states’ governance, as set in the Recommendation on Improvement of the quality of life in the BSEC Member States (rec. 100/2007), should be the challenges of increasing employment rates, combating unemployment and enhancing social cohesion, in order to achieve the ultimate goal of improving the conditions of life for all citizens within the Black Sea region.
- Social cohesion within the BSEC Member States: contribution to political stability (report, rec. 103/2008)
- Migration in the BSEC Member States - legal aspects (report, rec. 108/2009)
- Migration in the BSEC Member States: social and cultural aspects (report, rec. 109/2009)
- Protecting women against violence in the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 116/2010)
- Child protection in the BSEC Member States: an assessment of recent developments (report, rec. 127/2012)
- Social welfare reforms in the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 130/2012)
- Youth Unemployment and Employment Policies in the BSEC Region: the Need to Empower the Young Generation (report, rec. 139/2014)
- The Role of Sport in Promoting Growth, Employment and Social Cohesion in the BSEC Region (report, rec. 145/2015)
The PABSEC has expressed from the very beginning its determination to encourage and facilitate the further development of the regional cooperation in the field of education with a view to reforming educational systems, improving educational standards and giving all individuals greater opportunity to develop their potential and to better adapt to rapid economic, social and technological changes. To this end, the Assembly adopted recommendations on Cooperation among the PABSEC Member Countries for the Improvement of Education (rec. 10/1995), on Cooperation of the Academic Communities of the BSEC Member Countries and its Legal Framework (rec. 27/1998), Mutual Recognition of Higher Education Diplomas by the PABSEC Member-Countries (rec. 31/1998), and on The Bologna Process and the reforms of higer educational systems in the BSEC countries (rec. 97/2007).
Aiming to develop cooperation between the PABSEC and the Black Sea University (BSU), set up in Bucharest, the Assembly adopted the “Decision 4/1995 on the Framework of Cooperation between the PABSEC and the Black Sea University” and has been actively supporting the activities of the BSU. One of the provisions of the decision expressed “a special interest in the organization of a network of universities in the Black Sea region - having the existing BSU as a pivotal point and a communication centre”. This proposal turned into reality in 1997, by the setting up of the Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN). Promoting and appreciating the projects worked out by the BSUN from its creation, aimed to put in place a specific and well-articulated university network, developing the essential European values and boosting cooperation among the universities in the Black Sea region, the PABSEC adopted a recommendation on the Black Sea Universities Network: Contribution to the BSEC Academic Cooperation (rec. 56/2001), emphasising its full support to the future BSUN activities.
- The role of parliaments in providing legislative support for enhancing scientific and technological progress (report, rec. 121/2011)
- Lifelong Learning in the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 125/2011)
- Benefits and perspectives of cooperation at the postgraduate level among universities of the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 133/2013)
Taking into account a very dynamic contribution that the energy and creative ability of youth can make to further development of the Black Sea cooperation process, the Assembly felt the need to discuss the issue of youth cooperation as a separate subject and adopted a recommendation on Youth Cooperation in the Black Sea Region (rec. 24/1997). The PABSEC members have stressed that the parliaments and governments of the BSEC member states should do their utmost to elaborate and implement comprehensive and consistent youth policies addressing the needs of the younger generation in the fields of education, employment, social security and culture.
In order to promote friendship and cooperation among the young generation, the Assembly has supported the establishment of the Black Sea Cultural Alliance in Moscow, and provided assistance to the organization of the Children and Youth Festival of the BSEC Member-States, in Sochi (Russia), on 24-30 August 2001 (rec. 48/2000). The second edition of this festival was also organized in Sochi in August 2002, also under the PABSEC auspices (rec. 58/2001).
- Youth Unemployment and Employment Policies in the BSEC Region: the Need to Empower the Young Generation (report, rec. 139/2014)
- The Role of Sport in Promoting Growth, Employment and Social Cohesion in the BSEC Region (report, rec. 145/2015)
Since its establishment the Assembly has attached great importance to cultural cooperation among the member countries in order to develop the humanitarian dimension of the Black Sea cooperation process. In particular, it has supported and encouraged the Black Sea Convention on Cooperation in the Fields of Culture, Education, Science and Information, which was signed in 1993, ushering in the process of its ratification and implementation (rec. 3/1994)
Concerned by the serious problems facing the countries of the Black Sea region in preserving and protecting their national historical and cultural heritage, especially in the countries where the socioeconomic changes and difficulties of the transition period have diminished the role of cultural affairs among other national priorities, the PABSEC adopted recommendations on the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of the PABSEC Member Countries (rec. 6/1994), Guidelines of the Program of the Protection of the Cultural Heritage in the Black Sea Region (rec. 18/1996), and on Preservation and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage of the BSEC Member States (rec. 80/2004), calling on the national parliaments to take urgent steps to enact special legislation or to modify existing legislation with a view to protecting the millennia-old traditions and the cultural heritage of the Black Sea cultural area. Within the same context, the Assembly also recommended the establishment of a Joint Research Programme on the History of the Black Sea Basin (rec. 4/1994).
The dialogue among cultures, another subject debated by PABSEC (rec. 89/2006), assists to a great extent in bringing peoples together and overcoming barriers built as a result of misunderstanding and stereotypes. The Assembly recognizes the importance of the dialogue among cultures as one of the main tools to build trust among peoples of the BSEC region. In the same time, PABSEC is fully aware of the significance of globalization process and potential threats that this process can have on cultural diversity among the nations of the BSEC region (rec. 93/2006). The major challenge to the modern world and especially to the BSEC countries in the process of cultural globalization consists in preservation of individual cultural identity.
- Cultural cooperation in the BSEC region: Experiences, Opportunities, and Challenges" (report, rec. 119/2010)
- Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage - Challenge of Linking Cultural and Tourist Routes in the Countries of the Black Sea Region (report, rec. 136/2013)
- Combating Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Heritage in the BSEC Region (report, rec. 148/2015)
The political support at the local level is one of the major elements for successful development of regional cooperation. The present stage of development of cooperation in the Black Sea region reveals the need for a greater involvement of national parliaments in promoting the role of local governments in mobilizing support at a the local level for ongoing cooperation process. The Assembly stressed in the Recommendation on the Role of Local Governments in Strengthening Cooperation in the Black Sea Region (rec. 85/2005), that the Black Sea states have to facilitate strengthening cultural and economic ties at local level providing a solid foundation for strengthening cooperation at regional level.
In 1994, PABSEC launched a major initiative to bring together the Governors and Mayors of the Black Sea Capital-Cities, setting out from the conviction that local authorities could make a valuable contribution to the consolidation and expansion of the multilateral cooperation in the Black Sea region (rec. 8/1994). The three Round Tables of the Black Sea Capitals’ Governors and Mayors organized in Istanbul, Kyiv and Bucharest under the PABSEC auspices paved the way for the institutionalization of a specific framework of cooperation giving tremendous perspectives for joint actions of the participating Capitals, as a new component of the Black Sea Cooperation. The establishment of the Black Sea Capitals’ Association (BSCA), in May 1998 in Bucharest, has marked a turning point in this process (rec. 28/1998).
The First BSCA General Assembly, held in Ankara on 5-6 September 2000, under the PABSEC auspices led to a comprehensive and constructive exchange of views on matters of common interest, and agreed upon to build up cooperation on specific projects. The successful organization of the Second General Assembly of the Black Sea Capitals’ Association, on 15-16 October 2001 in Athens, proved the significance of the PABSEC initiative to forging close ties among the local authorities of the participating capitals (rec. 57/2001). The Third General Assembly of the Black Sea Capitals’ Association, held on 29-30 April 2002 in Baku addressed vital issues of local governance, involvement of the citizens in to overall management of the local administration, elaboration and implementation of comprehensive economic and social programs with a direct and positive impact on the sustainable development of the countries of the region (rec. 63/2002). The Fourth General Assembly of the BSCA was held on 29-30 September 2003 in Chisinau and discussed the issue of “The Role of Capital Cities in the Family and Child Protection: Economic, Social and Administrative Programs”. The Fifth General Assembly of the BSCA was held in Moscow on 11-12 October 2004. The participants discussed “Transport Problems and their Solutions in the Capitals of the Black Sea States”. At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants adopted a Joint Declaration that, in particular, reiterated the commitment of the participating cities to enhance their contribution to good-neighborly relations, peace, prosperity and economic cooperation in the Black Sea region.
The PABSEC’s active interaction with European and international parliamentary assemblies represents a major contribution to joint efforts for strengthening the role of the parliamentary diplomacy aimed at consolidating peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
The PABSEC has established its own identity on the international scene. It is developing cooperation with other international parliamentary organizations, such as the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the WEU Assembly, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Commonwealth of Independent States, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which have an observer status with PABSEC. Contacts have been initiated with the Parliamentary Dimension of the Central European Initiative, the Council of Baltic States, the Nordic Council, the UNESCO, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank. Participation by the high-level representatives of the Assembly in the above-mentioned organizations’ meetings and other international gatherings, and the regular representation of these organizations in the PABSEC meetings, gave a new impetus to the expansion of PABSEC cooperation with other international organizations.
At a time when the European Union undergoes enlargement, involving also some of the PABSEC Member-Countries, when the BSEC Organization is placing relations with the European Union among its priorities, relations between the PABSEC and the European Parliament have reached a significant stage. The Assembly has constantly voiced in favor of strengthening the relations of the two parliamentary bodies in particular through an institutionalized mode of interaction. The results of the first visit by a PABSEC delegation to the European Parliament, in 5-6 March 2002 indicated the will of both sides to deepen collaboration.
Within the framework of further developing cooperation between the PABSEC and the European Parliament and in particular with a view to implement the initiative of the Hellenic PABSEC Presidency on cultural aspects of cooperation with the EP, a high-level PABSEC delegation paid a working visit to the European Parliament in May 2003. During the meetings with EP representaitves it was agreed that agreed that there was a need for a structured and programmed PABSEC-EP cooperation, which could include information exchange, participation in each other’s meetings, study visits for parliamentarians to the European Parliament, special projects reflecting requirements of the PABSEC member states in various fields of legislation, joint gatherings on the issues representing common interest with participation both the parliamentarians and experts, as well as traineeship programmes for PABSEC Secretariat staff and staff from the national parliaments of the PABSEC member states.
In May 2004, the special representative of the PABSEC President, Mr. Konstantin Markelov, Deputy Head of the Russian PABSEC Delegation and First Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on CIS Affairs, paid a working visit for holding consultations with the leadership of the European Parliament.
The Assembly adopted the Recommendations on “The Black Sea region within the context of the enlargement of the European Union” (rec. 73/2003) and “Framework of cooperation between the PABSEC and the European Parliament” (rec. 76/2004), calling on the representatives of the national parliaments of the PABSEC countries to ensure that the norms, standards, principles, policies and practices of the EU are promoted and shared paving the way towards peaceful, secure and prosperous life of the peoples in the Black Sea region and integration into a common European space, strengthening stability in Europe and beyond and responding to the common challenges of the continent through intensified cooperation. The national parliaments and parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in turning the opportunities provided by the EU enlargement into the benefits for the member countries and the BSEC region as a whole. In the Recommendation on Cultural, Educational and Social Aspects of the EU Enlargement: Consequences for the Black Sea Region (rec. 86/2005), the Assembly welcomes the process of enlargement because it is able to provide to BSEC members states the opportunity to develop closer relations with the European Union, expand and stabilize their relations, ensure their security and provide prosperity. On the other hand, while the Assembly realizes that the European integration will undoubtedly benefit BSEC member states, under the same perspective it believes that each BSEC member country should seek to protect its own educational, cultural and social identity.
Upon the invitation of the PABSEC Secretary General, Mr. Miroslav Ouzky, Vice-President of the European Parliament paid a working visit to the PABSEC International Secretariat in February 2006 to discuss prospects for more active relations between the PABSEC and the European Parliament, as well as topical issues regarding the European integration and bilateral relations between the Republic of Turkey and the European Union.
The Assembly also discussed The Partnership and Cooperation Agreements between the European Union and the six BSEC member states (the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine) (rec. 96/2007), which have established a viable partnership based on shared common values with regard to democracy, the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights. The active involvement of the European Union in the BSEC region shall reinforce further integration of the BSEC states within the European architecture and serve the aim to eliminate possible dividing lines on the European continent. The Assembly encourages the new impetus for increased relationship between the EU and the BSEC member states in all existing formats including the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements and calls on the parliaments and governments of the BSEC member states to further enhance the cooperation frameworks.
At the invitation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, a PABSEC Delegation paid a working visit to the European Parliament on 27-28 February 2007. The delegation had meetings with members of the Bureau and staff of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, the members of the Delegation to the EU-South Caucasus (EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia) and the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, with the Vice-Chairmen of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, as well as with the representatives of the European Commission and the EP’s Directorate General of External Policies for the promotion of democracy. During the meetings, the parties agreed on the need to step up PABSEC-EP cooperation both on a political level and through various practical activities.
In June 2007, a series of consultations were held between the delegation of the European Parliament, formed composed of Ms. Roberta Alma ANASTASE, Rapporteur of the European Parliament on Black Sea Synergy, Member of the Security and Defence Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms. Lydie POLFER, Rapporteur of the European Parliament on South Caucasus, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ms. Aneta POPESCU-BLACK, Desk Officer for Moldova, the South Caucasus and the Black Sea in the Directorate General for External Policies of the Union and PABSEC national delegations. The members of the EP delegation reaffirmed the growing interest of the European Union in the Black Sea Region, which was reflected in a number of ways in the European Parliament. The parties agreed to continue their political consultations with a view to contributing to the preparation of the relevant Reports in the European Parliament and promoting a closer interaction between the Black Sea countries and the European Union.
Parliamentarians, through their participation in regional and international parliamentary organizations, bring their contribution to political stability by means of closer cooperation and regional integration. In this respect, the active interaction of PABSEC and its member parliaments with European parliamentary organizations will undoubtedly pave the way towards a constructive contribution to joint efforts and undertakings for democratic development and strengthening political stability (rec. 55/2001).
- Enhancing cooperation between the PABSEC and the European Parliament (report, rec. 118/2010).
The PABSEC has addressed the main aspects of the regional economic cooperation and put forward relevant recommendations aimed at achieving a higher degree of integration of the BSEC region into the world economy (rec. 59/2002). The Assembly has been promoting policies, along with institutional and regulatory reforms, towards a sustainable model of economic development in order to improve the living standards and meet the challenges of the new century. The Assembly’s recommendations on trade liberalization and facilitation (rec. 16/1996, rec. 22/1997, rec. 26/1998, rec. 37/1999), improvement of customs regulations (rec. 1/1994, rec. 20/1997), promotion and protection of investments (rec. 38/1999), establishment of a regional stock exchange market (rec. 25/1998) promotion of small and medium enterprises in the Black Sea region (rec. 42/2000) shaping a European Economic Space (rec. 72/2003), state and prospects of fisheries (rec. 94/2007), are part of the Assembly’s efforts towards that end.
Acknowledging the significance of establishing conditions favorable to free trade through a gradual elimination of obstacles and restrictions in customs and trade regulations, the Assembly has reiterated its firm stand towards the creation of a harmonized trade mechanism in the region in compliance with internationally recognized principles, in order not only to increase trade volume among the BSEC countries but also to achieve a higher degree of their integration into the world economy (rec. 2/1994, rec. 23/1997).
The Assembly has also examined border-crossing formalities and visa regulations and elaborated recommendations envisaging a gradual elimination of visa formalities, starting by creation of favorable conditions for certain categories of citizens directly involved in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation – MP’s, diplomats, government officials and businessmen (rec. 7/1994, rec. 43/2000).
The growth of the ability and need to move large quantities of goods or numbers of people requires the coordination of policies and cross-border procedures among the BSEC Member States. At the same time, freer circulation of people and goods must be supported by enhanced police and judicial cooperation and border management (rec. 78/2004).
The Assembly has advocated the development of cooperation in banking and finance among the BSEC member countries (rec. 9/1995). In that respect, the parliaments have been called upon to expedite the enactment of legislation on privatization, infra-structural development, protection of domestic and foreign investments (rec. 38/1999) and avoidance of double taxation (rec. 30/1998).
The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) was established by the eleven BSEC Member States in 1998 as a regional multilateral development financial institution starting its full operation on 2 June 1999. The PABSEC has closely worked with the national parliaments of BSEC countries to speed up the ratification process of the BSTDB Establishing Agreement, and in June 1999, upon the establishment of the Bank, the Assembly adopted a recommendation and report on the BSTDB (rec. 33/1999).
Through its Economic Affairs Committee PABSEC regularly reviews the activities of the Bank with a view to contributing in giving an input in its future strategies. In its recommendations, The Assembly has stressed the need to improve the overall financial and banking systems of the member countries as well as to better involve the Bank in the regional integration process. The BSTDB’s role has increased in the last years through the acceleration of its activities, which have turned it into the financial pillar of regional cooperation (rec. 65/2002).
Globalization, bringing both opportunities and challenges to all countries and peoples, was another important topic on the Assembly’s agenda (rec. 60/2002) The common intention of the countries to diversify and develop the existing economic relations towards globalization opens up opportunity to efficiently use advantages arising from the geographical proximity and mutual interests, as well as traditional ties and complementary nature of the economies. The challenge is to come together to turn globalization into a more effective and consolidated process with equal participation of the countries, developed and developing alike, in managing the posed problems and realizing its immense benefits.
- Foreign Investments and Economic Growth of the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 101/2008)
- The WTO and the Economic Development of the BSEC Member States (report, rec.104/2008)
- The role of public-private partnership for sustainable development in the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 128/2012)
- The Impact of Globalisation on the Social Policies of the BSEC Member States (report, rec.106/2008)
One of the most dramatic problems facing the Black Sea region today is the degradation and pollution of the environment and, first and foremost, of the Black Sea itself. The magnitude of the problem is so vast that it calls for urgent concerted actions. A multi-dimensional regional and international effort is carried out by a variety of organizations. On its part, the Assembly, advocating the environmental sustainability as a significant factor of the economic development of the countries in the region, adopted the report and the recommendation on Black Sea Environmental Health (rec. 5/1994), reiterating its determination to make the best use of all opportunities for expanding cooperation on the Black Sea environmental issues.
In 1996, an Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Black Sea Environmental Protection was jointly organized in Istanbul by the PABSEC and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, with the participation of parliamentarians from 24 countries, representatives of regional and international organizations, as well as prominent international experts. The Conference adopted a Final Declaration emphasizing the urgent need for international cooperation and action to save the Black Sea environment.
At the same time, the Assembly is determined to provide further support to the GEF Black Sea Environment Programme, which came into being as a result of the Bucharest Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (1992) and the Odessa Ministerial Declaration (1993) of the six Black Sea coastal states. A ministerial conference, held in Istanbul in October 1996, approved the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan, which outlined activities to be carried out within the next two decades by the six coastal countries and competent international organizations, as well as by third countries that contribute to the pollution and degradation of the Black Sea.
Taking into account that environmental problems continue to pose a serious threat for sustainable development in the Black Sea region, the PABSEC decided to address the new challenges of the Black Sea environmental protection (rec. 49/2001), such as setting up an enabling legal framework and harmonizing environmental standards; addressing administrative and financial barriers to environmental protection; implementing existing environmental regulations and projects through locally, nationally and regionally coordinated actions.
Efficient and effective cooperation aimed at preservation and protection of the regional environment, within the framework of the concept of sustainable development, and maintenance of normal ecological conditions is a duty of every BSEC Member State, as it was mentioned in the Recommendation on Economic Aspects of Resolving Environmental Problems in the BSEC Member States (rec.81/2005).
PABSEC is fully aware that global climate change (rec. 99/2007) poses a serious threat to the future of the planet, endangers socio-economic progress in the region and requires sustained and concerted high level attention. The Assembly is committed to contribute to further the dialogue to address climate change under the existing international instruments and to work with all members of the international community for an enduring global solution to climate change with due regard to specific national and regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances.
- Cooperation in Eliminating Consequences of Natural Calamities and Technical Disasters (report, rec. 11/1995)
- Rational Management of Natural Resources in the Black Sea Region: Enhancement of Legislative Framework (report, rec. 112/2009)
- Shaping Ecological Awareness and Behaviour in the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 113/2009)
- Water Resources Management in the Black Sea Region (report, rec.111/2009)
- The Condition of the Marine Environment in the Black Sea Region (report, rec.117/2010)
- Global Climate Change: Causes, Effects and Possible Consequences for the BSEC Member States (report, rec.134/2013)
Tourism, having so much to offer potentially in the region, continues to be a flash sector in the BSEC process. The majority of the countries of the region were largely closed to international tourists in the decades of the cold war, therefore they have not been overexploited from this point of view, and as a consequence have the potential to become very attractive and popular destinations, provided that proper strategies and policies are developed and implemented. Taking this into account, the PABSEC adopted a report and a recommendation on the Development of Tourism in the Black Sea Region (rec. 32/1999), examining problems faced by the tourist sector in the BSEC region, and containing a number of concrete recommendations in the fields of policy making, legislation harmonization, employment and training, which were taken into consideration for drafting the BSEC Tourism Action Plan, adopted by BSEC in 2002.
Promoting the sustainable development of the tourism industry in the region was also one of the priorities of the Assembly (rec. 75/2004). There is a need for regional policies which encourage the development of sustainable tourism. These policies must include establishing the necessary legal and institutional framework, supporting the development of human resources, preserving the public heritage, improving infrastructures and improving the information and commercial organization of the sector.
Culture is closely linked with tourism because of the diversity of traditions, art forms and historical sites have always been major attractions for travelers around the world. Thus the Assembly adopted a Recommendation on ‘Cooperation in the sphere of cultural tourism in the Black Sea Region (rec. 83/2005), which recognizes the potential role of tourism as a vehicle for development, a platform for peace and stability, contributing to mutual understanding and close relations among people.
There is an increasing concern among BSEC member states about the sustainability of agricultural and rural development policies. Most BSEC countries are still confronted with the challenge of satisfying food demands and reducing poverty in the region while preserving their natural resources. At the same time, maintaining a competitive agricultural sector that can be successfully integrated in the global markets is a long-term policy goal. The economic potential of the region is significant and the rural economy will continue to form a significant part of BSEC‘s economic and social structure well into the 21st century. Therefore, being convinced that sustainable agriculture in the BSEC region must be stimulated by giving rural development an impetus, based on a new legal and political framework, in its recommendation on Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (rec. 54/2001), the PABSEC expressed its commitment to seek means of revitalizing rural areas, which, while preserving their rural environment and resources, need to be developed in a way that ensures the well-being of their populations.
Due to the significant danger of the spreading of the bird flu in the Black Sea region, and realizing that effective fight against this pandemic threat is possible only on the basis of cooperation and coordination among the BSEC member states, the Assembly adopted the recommendation on the ‘Cooperation in combating the bird flu in the Black Sea region (rec. 90/2006), calling on the Parliaments and the Governments of the BSEC Member States to strengthen cooperation among them, as well as between the BSEC and the European Union, WHO, FAO, OIE and the World Bank aimed at establishing a common strategy on joint urgent measures against spreading of the bird flu.
- Food Security in the BSEC Member States (report, rec.114/2010)
- Perspectives of Development of Winegrowing and Winemaking Sectors in the BSEC Member States (report, rec. 126/2012)
As energy is at the center of economic, social and political topics around the world and the Black Sea itself, the recommendation (rec. 68/2003) on Cooperation in the Field of Energy intended to provide a basis for improving coordination and cooperation among the BSEC states. The Black Sea region offers important cooperation possibilities in the field of alternative energy sources and the Assembly analyzed it in the Recommendation on Alternative Energy resources and their possible application in the Black Sea Region (rec. 91/2006). Being the second-largest source of fossil energy reserves after the Persian Gulf, the Caspian and Black Sea region has entered the new millennium facing new rapid developments in energy field that require cooperative attitude with new approaches in this direction. Oil and gas projects, which have changed the energy map of the region, encourage the member states to elaborate new mechanisms for establishing common energy strategies in the context of global energy security. Effective energy cooperation depends on the integration of energy markets, establishment of stable price policies and consistent realization of the current and future projects. In this regard, as it was stressed in the Reccomendation on “The Priorities of Cooperation between the BSEC Member States in the field of Energy: Oil and Gas spheres” (rec. 98/2007), the legislative framework should be improved, where the role of the PABSEC has a particular importance as the parliamentary dimension of the BSEC.
After the end of the division of Europe, the sectors of transportation, communications and energy take an ever more increasing role, since the ambitious goals of the transition countries will be met only if their infrastructure will allow the flourishing of economic relations with the countries of their periphery and of all Europe at large.
Taking into account the vital role of transport in ensuring sustainable development in the Black Sea area, and in the light of the activities and projects undertaken by the BSEC in the field of transportation, PABSEC has placed a special emphasis on a large-scale infra-structural and institutional rehabilitation of transport system in the BSEC region and the development of appropriate links to the Trans-European and Pan-European Networks, as well as to the Central Asian countries.
Within this context, the Assembly adopted recommendations on: Cooperation in Transportation among the BSEC Participating States (rec. 13/1996), Transport Technology and Integration in Europe (rec. 29/1998), and the Legal and Political Aspects of the Transport Systems Integration Process in the Black Sea Region (rec. 40/1999), Development of Transport Infrastructure in the Black Sea Region (rec. 84/2005).
Recognizing the importance of services of public utilities to economic competitiveness, social solidarity and quality of life in the Black Sea region, the PABSEC adopted a recommendation (rec. 39/1999) on this subject that calls for working out projects for modernizing and developing the infrastructure of public utilities and finding needed funds to implement them.
Given the fact that developed and modern communications are a precondition for the successful implementation of regional projects, PABSEC adopted a recommendation on Development of Communications in the Black Sea Region (rec. 45/2000) calling on the parliaments and governments of the BSEC member countries to elaborate a common strategy for the development of communications in the region taking into consideration the priorities and concerns of each member state, the provisions of the BSEC Action Plan for the Development of Communications and the rapidly developing global trends in this field.
Being aware of the complex relationship between the expanding new technologies and the emerging information society, the Assembly also adopted recommendations on Information Society: the Role of New Technologies (rec. 66/2002), and on Black Sea Informational Alliance (rec. 71/2003), the parliamentarians emphasizing the growing importance of the information society created by the rapidly developing information and communication technologies, and the need for the establishment of a regulatory framework defining the development of the information society, as well as the ethics and codes of use of the technology and the means to protect them.
- Cooperation in the field of high technologies among the BSEC Member States (report, rec.95/2007)
- Development of the Sea Transport in the Black Sea Region: Problems and Prospects (report, rec.107/2009)
- The Legal Framework for Regulation of Civil Aviation in the BSEC Member States (report, rec.115/2010)
- Role of parliaments in enhancing information (Cyber) security in the BSEC Member States (report, rec.129/2012)
- Development of cooperation in Salvage and Rescue (SAR) at sea among the BSEC Member States (report, rec.131/2013)
- E-Government in the BSEC Member States (report, rec.146/2015)
PABSEC is deeply concerned that corruption and organized crime undermine the rule of law, public order and justice, and hinder the comprehensive development of the countries in the region. At the request of the BSEC Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in 1996 the Assembly adopted a recommendation on Cooperation among the PABSEC Member Countries in Combating Organized Crime (rec. 15/1996) and has worked out the basic principles of a Black Sea Convention on Combating Organised Crime (report, rec. 17/1996).
The Assembly considers (rec. 87/2006) that the PABSEC Member Countries have to improve their national strategies in the fight against economic crime, in particular, in its organized forms, such as corruption, money laundering, merchandise smuggling etc. The effective and efficient cooperation between the BSEC Member-States in this field is an important aspect of strengthening social and economic stability, national security and principles of market economy in the region.
In June 1999, PABSEC adopted a recommendation on the Legal Framework for Combating Illicit Trafficking in People (rec. 35/1999) calling on the member-countries to use existing multilateral instruments for fighting trafficking in people and, especially, the trafficking in women. Also, it was recommended that bilateral agreements be strengthened and coordinated policies be developed both at national and international levels in order to combat the activities of human traffickers.
PABSEC adopted a recommendation on the Legal Framework for Combating Corruption (rec. 46/2000), calling upon the national parliaments and governments to elaborate and improve national law-enforcement and anti-corruption legislative frameworks, with due regard to the globally recognized standards and norms. The countries through the regional and international organizations as well as the national parliaments and the parliamentary assemblies should mobilize their efforts to actively promote good governance locally and internationally, as well as to raise public awareness of the damages and dangers of corruption.
PABSEC has reacted to the terrorist attacks, by adopting two Declarations on terrorism, in 2001 and 2003, condemning these attacks and calling upon the member countries and the international community to join efforts aimed at putting an end to international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
- Role of the Parliaments of the BSEC Member States in Fighting International Terrorism (report, rec.102/2008)
- Role of Parliaments in Providing Legal Framework for Combating Corruption (report, rec.147/2015)
- The need to protect children from commercial exploitation in the BSEC Member States (rec. 110/2009)