The Joint Commission for the protection of the Adriatic Sea and coastal area from pollution

The Joint Commission for the protection of the Adriatic Sea and coastal areas established in 1977 under the Agreement on Cooperation for the Protection of the Adriatic Sea and coastal areas from pollution concluded in 1974 between the former Yugoslavia and Italy to address environmental issues in the Adriatic region in a multidisciplinary manner. The Republic of Croatia is a party to the Agreement on Co-operation pursuant to the succession of international agreements, and other member states of the Commission are the Republic of Slovenia, the Italian Republic and Montenegro.

Each state appoints a chairman and members of the Commission. In the Republic of Croatia coordination is carried out by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction, and the members are representatives of ministries responsible for activities within the Commission: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development; Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure; Ministry of Culture; Ministry of Science, Education and Sports; Ministry of Regional Development, Forestry and Water Management. Experts whose work concerns issues of protection of the Adriatic also participate in the work of the Joint Commission.

The Commission considers all issues relating to pollution of the Adriatic Sea waters and coastal areas, makes proposals and recommendations to governments on the issue of research it considers necessary, gives an opinion on programmes and takes care of their alignment, proposes to the governments what measures should be taken in order to remove existing and prevent new causes of pollution of the Adriatic Sea.

So far the Commission has dealt with following activities:

  • working together on a continuous examination of the Adriatic Sea ecosystem,
  • cooperation and mutual direct assistance in combating pollution incidents and special protection of sensitive areas as well as adoption of a common (sub-regional) Contingency Plan for accidental pollution of the Adriatic (Subregional Contingency Plan was signed in 2005 in Portorož)
  • establishing a traffic separation scheme and establishing of sailing routes in the Adriatic,
  • identification and control of pollution caused by inadequate handling and disposal of solid and hazardous waste,
  • cooperation concerning revitalization and protection of environmental values (landscape, nature and construction heritage),
  • remediation of the most burdened areas (Po, Bay of Trieste, Bay of Koper, Rijeka Bay, Kaštela Bay) and other areas of larger cities, industrial zones and ports,
  • cooperation in preventive protection and further implementation of development strategies aligned with resource conservation,
  • information activities,
  • solving the issue of ballast waters in the Adriatic.

The Commission's work currently takes place in three sub-committees:

  • Within the framework of the Sub-Commission for ballast waters, which also provides support to activities of the GloBallast (UNDP / GEF / IMO) project, activities were initiated to develop the Adriatic ballast water management strategy. 
  • Sub-Commission for the preparation of addendums to the Sub-regional contingency plan began work in 2009 with the aim of preparation of technical addendums for the implementation of the Sub-regional contingency plan for the prevention of, preparedness for and response to larger scale pollution incidents in the Adriatic. The Sub-regional Plan was drawn up with the technical assistance from the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC), the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP / MAP), as part of an initiative to develop a sub-regional system for the entire Adriatic Sea. The signatories of the Agreement on the sub-regional contingency plan are Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. The purpose of the Agreement is to establish a joint cooperation mechanism by which the national authorities in Croatia, Italy and Slovenia will coordinate and unify their actions in preventing and responding to sea pollution that affect or could affect the waters under their jurisdiction, the coast and related interests of one or more of these countries, or accidents that exceed the available capacity for response of each individual country.
  • The Sub-Commission for the Unification of methods of assessment and development of indicators to assess the state of the marine environment was established with the aim of coordinating activities and exchanging information among countries of the Adriatic on the implementation of the EU Directive on Marine Strategy. This sub-commission shall examine and harmonize existing monitoring programmes, the list of indicators and methodologies to select the most suitable for the Adriatic and to facilitate exchange and comparison of data.

The Joint Committee meets once or twice per year and each year another member takes over the hosting.

The last meeting of the Commission was held on 25 May 2010 in Ancona under the chairmanship of the Italian Republic and on this occasion the Sub-Commission for integrated coastal zone management was established and Montenegro became a full member of the Commission. After the meeting Slovenia took over the presidency of the Commission.