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Published:July 25th, 2009 20:39 EST
The Economic Dimension of the OSCE and the Problems of the Black Sea and Crimea

The Economic Dimension of the OSCE and the Problems of the Black Sea and Crimea

By Elmaz Muzhdabaeva

The work of the OSCE`s Economic and Environmental Dimension continued to advance through the interaction and joint efforts of its main pillars: the Economic and Environmental Committee, the Economic and Environmental Forum  process, the Office of the Co -ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities  and the Economic and Environmental Officers  from the OSCE field operations.
 
The OSCE attaches great importance to the Black Sea region. For example, in the past year, the OSCE held a conference in Odessa. As a direct follow-up to the 16th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, a Chairmanship Conference on "The Safety of Navigation and Environmental Security in a Transboundary Context in the Black Sea  Basin ", was organized on 24-26 June 2008 in Odesa, Ukraine. The Conference was organized by the Finnish OSCE Chairmanship, the Government of Ukraine and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. 

The aim of the conference was to enhance co-operation in the Black Sea region, to facilitate the exchange of experience, identify current challenges, and contribute to integrating efforts towards a more effective implementation of international and regional conventions. Organizations such as the IMO, UNECE, BSC, BSEC, ICPDR, as well as private sector initiatives such as the Oil Spill Preparedness Regional Initiative (Caspian Sea - Black Sea - Central Eurasia) (OSPRI), actively contributed during the Conference`s sessions. The meeting was open for participants from other regions as well, in particular the Caspian Sea region, thus contributing to strengthening synergies and exchange of best practices as well as models of cooperation between regions. 

The Odesa Conference highlighted that the growing transportation flows between Europe and Asia would increase environmental pressures on the Black Sea  basin`s through oil spills and other contaminations, the introduction of invasive species through ships` ballast water, coastal transformation linked to the development of port infrastructure, air pollution, etc. In order to reduce pollution in the Black Sea, which is linked to both marine and river navigation, environmental safety improvements are necessary. The right approach should allow achieving a proper balance between economic needs and environmental sustainability.
 
The Odesa Conference emphasized that the OSCE should support the existing processes and co-operation initiatives when needed and act as a catalyst for further co-operation. The OSCE can contribute to raising awareness at political level regarding the challenges and possible solutions. The OSCE could also, in partnership with relevant organizations, contribute to an effective delivery of capacity building programmes for the region.

This is a very  important theme which  was discussed by the OSCE. 

But I believe the OSCE can do a lot in solving the economic  development problems of the Crimea.  Crimea " is such a region of Ukraine, which should be developed two ar three times better then it is now, espessially  in  the business sphere. This was stated by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko at a meeting on Crimean development  in Simferopol. 

The Crimea has a great potential, and it is interesting not only for  the national investments,  but  for  Europe too. There are spesific possabilities which can not be found in any other European countries, - said the president. Yushchenko called the Crimean authorities to do everything what is possible  to attract investments to  this territory, and to get rid from all the problems which the investor can face with during  the implementation of one or another  investment project in the Crimea. "I want to hear the initiatives that are needed, to take a step forward in the development of business " both big and small, and as soon as possible for the domestic and foreign investors."- stressed he. 

Elmaz Muzhdabaeva, as Independent political analyst.