Ukraine’s Construction of a Navigation Canal on the Chilia Arm of the Danube River
Multilateral and bilateral regulations in the field of environmental protection relevant to the Bystroe channel
Several international legal multilateral instruments are applicable to the Bystroe issue, such as:
I. the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, the 19th of September 1979) to which Ukraine is a Contracting Party stipulate that its aims are to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats, especially those species and habitats whose conservation requires the co-operation of several States, and to promote such co-operation. Particular emphasis is given to endangered and vulnerable species, including endangered and vulnerable migratory species.
According to the provisions of Article 4 of the Convention, the Contracting Parties undertake to co-ordinate, as appropriate, their efforts for the protection of the natural habitats when these are situated in frontier areas.
Building the Bystroe Channel, Ukraine may cause serious damages to the wild flora and fauna species located in the Danube Delta ecosystem, producing a deliberate disturbance, damage and destruction of these species, actions strictly prohibited according to the Bern Convention.
At the same time, according to the article 11, the Contracting Parties (including Ukraine) undertake to co-operate in carrying out the provisions of the Convention.
2. The Convention on the Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterf1ow Habitat (Ramsar, 1971), which has as a goal the conservation of wetlands, of their fauna and flora which serve as a habitat for waterfowls.
Under this Convention, Ukraine has listed 22 such wetlands, among them the Bystroe channel area. Here the Ukrainian authorities intend to build the canal disregarding that this area enjoys a regime of integrated protection (in the similar zones existing in Romania, no such works are permitted, even the access of the visitors is restricted).