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
In conformity with the Convention, Ukraine has a number of obligations among which to consult with the other parties to the Convention on the implementation of the Convention, in particular in the wetlands which exceed the territory of one contracting state or where a hydrologic basin is divided among several contracting states (Article 5). This is the case of the Danube Delta.
At the same time, Ukraine has the obligation to undertake a study of the impact of the project on the environment, prior to any concrete steps to achieve it. Such a study should be examined together with each state which may be affected.
3. The Convention on the Environmental Impact Assessment in a Trans'-Boundary Context (ESPOO, the 25th of February 1991), to which Ukraine is a party as well, provides that any party which intends to carry out all activity which might have a significant negative trans-boundary impact has the obligation to notify and to have direct and efficient consultations with the party which might be affected. These consultations should be carried out as soon as possible, but not later than the date that party informs its own citizens about the project (Article 3). In conformity with this obligation, Ukrainian authorities should have informed Romanian authorities about the activities envisaged to be undertaken, so that the latter may express their viewpoint as to the trans-boundary impact of such activities and the actions to be taken in order to reduce or eliminate it. Although the Ukrainian authorities have taken some steps at the internal level to consult with institutions involved, in the development of the project (Ministry of Transportation, the Academy of Science of Ukraine), no information on this subject was provided to the Romanian authorities. Moreover, the Romanian authorities have requested formally several times to be informed about the possible impact of such a project on economy and environment.
4. The 1994 Sofia Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Danube River.
Ukraine, by becoming a Party to this Convention undertook to comply with its provisions.
Thus, in article 2, paragraph 2 it is stated that the Contracting Parties pursuant to the provisions of this Convention shall cooperate on fundamental water management issues and take all appropriate legal, administrative and technical measures, to at least maintain and improve the current environmental and water quality conditions of the Danube River and of the waters in its catchments area and to prevent and reduce as far as possible adverse impacts and changes occurring or likely to be caused. According to the paragraph 3 of the same article the Contracting Parties shall strengthen, harmonize and co-ordinate their adopted measures and their measures planned to be taken at the domestic level.
In article 3, paragraph 2 is stipulated that, subject to this Convention in particular shall be the planned activities and measures in the field of water construction works, in particular regulation as well as run-off and storage level control of water courses, flood control and ice-hazards abatement, as well as the effect of facilities situated in or aside the watercourse on its hydraulic regime.
Article 11 of the Sofia Convention provides a very useful mechanism of bilateral consultations stipulating that, having had a prior exchange of information, the Contracting Parties involved shall at the request of one or several Contracting Parties concerned enter into consultations on planned activities as referred to in Article 3, paragraph 2, which are likely to cause transboundary impacts, as far as this exchange of information and these consultations are not yet covered by bilateral or other international cooperation. The consultations are carried out as a rule in the framework of the International Commission, with the aim to achieve a solution.