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"Hot spot" means a limited and definable local land area, stretch of surface water or specific aquifer that is subject to excessive pollution and necessitates priority attention in order to prevent or reduce the actual or potential adverse impacts on human health, ecosystems or natural resources and amenities of economic importance (Revised LBS Protocol to the Bucharest Convention, 2009).

For years, keeping the Black Sea environment healthy with all its ecosystem goods and services functioning at a time when economic recovery and further development are also being pursued has been considered to be a priority challenge for all Black Sea coastal states. Yet, most of the environmental problems in the Black Sea have not been effectively addressed.

Moreover, being of transboundary character, the Black Sea environmental problems cannot be efficiently managed by individual states. Recognising the need for cooperation, harmonisation of approaches to environmental protection management and transparency, the partners of the HBS Project deal with one of the most sensitive issues in the Black Sea region – Hot Spots.

The successful implementation of the HBS Project, through the strong partnership of highly professional organizations from five Black Sea coastal states, contributes to enhancing the regional cooperation in environmental protection of the Black Sea, and directly adds to measures aimed at improvement of the Black Sea status in a sustainable manner.


The HBS Project addresses major gaps in pollution LBSA (land-based sources and activities) management at national and regional levels in the Black Sea region, and works to realize the objectives of the Joint Operational Program “Black Sea Basin 2007-2013”, specified as follow:

  • Exchange of experiences and good practices through the establishment of cooperation partnerships among environmental NGOs and educational institutions
  • Promotion of monitoring of environmental factors, through partnerships of institutions responsible for pollution control in the Black Sea Basin
  • Cross-border partnerships for the implementation of scientific studies relevant for monitoring and addressing environmental risks in the Black Sea Basin
  • Preparation/promotion or implementation of scientific studies in the fields of monitoring, control and protection of the maritime system and of rivers in the area
  • Establishment or strengthening of existing cooperation partnership for identifying/eliminating land-originating polluters, arising especially from agricultural activities, and for exploring methods of their elimination

The overall objective of the HBS Project is:

To foster cross-border partnership for the development of harmonised policy and utilization of scientific studies relevant to monitoring and addressing environmental threats in the Black Sea Basin in the field of land-based sources of pollution.

The specific objectives are:

  • Harmonise river monitoring programmes
  • Harmonise Hot Spots identification and prioritisation
  • Update the Lists of Hot Spots based on common Methodology
  • Provide data/information management tool to support decision-making in the field of Hot Spots management
  • Share competencies to increase capacity in hot spots management embracing the adaptive approach and market-based instruments for pollution control
  • Increase public awareness and stakeholders participation in decision-making related to Hot Spots