The Commission on Sustainable Use and Protection of the Dniester River Basin (the Dniester Commission) was established under the Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Moldova and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on Cooperation in the Field of Protection and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin (Moldovan, Ukrainian), which was signed in Rome on 29 November 2012. The Treaty covers almost all aspects relating to river basin issues, except for navigation and hydropower, and is aimed at strengthening and expanding cooperation between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, which started in 1994. Besides, the execution of this document was an important step in fulfilling the obligations undertaken by the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine under the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (1992) and the EU Water Framework Directive (2000).
The Dniester Commission is a body for intergovernmental cooperation between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in the area of protection, sustainable use and development of the Dniester River Basin. Its main objective is to implement measures aimed at achieving the rational and environmentally sound use and protection of water and other natural resources and ecosystems of the Dniester River Basin in the interests of the population and sustainable development of the states.
The Commission is chaired by two co-chairs and consists of deputy co-chairs (Plenipotentiaries under the Agreement of 1994), representatives of competent central executive authorities, representatives of regional authorities, scientific institutions and organisations, and relevant non-governmental organisations of Moldova and Ukraine. The Commission also establishes working bodies and enlists the services of experts.
The Commission is governed by the rules of procedure (insert a link) regulating its operations. The meetings of the Commission, its working bodies and experts are held alternately in the territory of both states not less often than once a year.
The relationships between the Treaty on Cooperation in the Field of Protection and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin of 2012 and the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Moldova and the Government of Ukraine on the Joint Use and Protection of Border Waters of 1994 are based on the general principles of international law, in particular, including the rule of lex posterior derogat rule legi priori (“a later law repeals an earlier law”) and the rule of lex specialis derogat legi generali (“special law repeals general laws”). They mean that, in case of a conflict between earlier and later laws, the later law shall apply, and in case of a conflict between general and special law, the special law shall prevail in interpretation and application. It is also important to understand that the territorial scope of the Agreement of 1994 and the Treaty of 2012 does not coincide: in the first case, the Agreement applies to all border waters, while in the second – the Treaty applies to the Dniester River Basin.
The rules of procedure and proceedings of the Commission were approved at the first meeting of the Commission (Chisinau, 17 September 2018)
The composition of the Moldovan and Ukrainian parts of the Commission is represented by the following working groups: