The Tisza/Tisa river rises in the Carpathians and flows 700 km south to join the Danube near Belgrade. With tributaries such as the Szamos/Somos, its drainage basin of 154 000 km2 covers parts of five countries, in order of area: Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro. A pollution disaster in
January 2000 has led to a realisation of the need for concerted action to protect this major natural heritage and economic resource, and a number of international projects are under way.
2. Previous decision of the Deputies giving rise to activities on the Tisza/Tisa Basin
On 7 March 2001, the Committee of Ministers considered the question of the “Possible contribution of the Council of Europe in cases of environmental disasters in rivers such as the Tisza/Tisa and Szamos/Somos rivers”, and “invited the states concerned to continue efforts on this issue with a view to promoting effective regional co-operation in the environmental field, including the possible elaboration of an agreement between the states concerned, under the auspices of the Council of Europe” (744th meeting, item 9.2).
3. Activities carried out
Within the Council of Europe this activity has formed part of the Organisation's sustainable spatial development programme and contributed to the implementation of the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European continent (GPSSPEC-CEMAT), adopted in September 2000 at the 12th Session of the CEMAT in Hanover and reiterated in the Recommendation Rec (2002) 1 of the Committee of Ministers to member states. It related particularly to the sections of the document on reducing environmental damage, enhancing and protecting natural resources, natural heritage, flood plains, water meadows and border regions.
Following this decision, a Group of Experts on a Draft Agreement on the Sustainable Spatial Development of the Region of the Tisza/Tisa River Basin has met four times: 14 December 2001 in Strasbourg 1,
4 November 2002 in Strasbourg2, 25 March 2003 in Budapest3 and on 2 July 2003 in Wrocław (Poland)4.
At its 4th meeting in Wrocław the Group of Experts:
– adopted a draft Declaration on co-operation concerning the Tisza/Tisa river basin (see Addendum to these Notes);
– recommended that the draft Initiative on the Sustainable Spatial Development of the Tisza/Tisa River Basin be presented for signature of the Ministers responsible for Regional/Spatial Planning of the states concerned (Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine) at the 13th Session of the CEMAT in Ljubljana on 16 September 2003.
At its meeting of 1st July 2003 in Wrocław, the Enlarged Task Force of the Committee of Senior Officials of the CEMAT:
– took note of the interest expressed by the countries concerned in the ongoing work as a positive example of multilateral co-operation in implementing the GPSSDEC-CEMAT;
– noted that the presentation of this project is in the Programme of the 13th CEMAT Session;
– asked the Secretariat to prepare, in agreement with the states concerned, the final version of the document to be presented at the 13th CEMAT Session for signature of the relevant ministers.
4. Implementation of the Initiative
The states concerned will see to the implementation of the Initiative.