These realities were addressed at first meeting of the Black Sea Environmental Programme (BSEP) Steering Committee which took place in Varna, Bulgaria, in June 1993. The meeting selected as three overall BSEP objectives: to improve the capacity of Black Sea countries to assess and manage the environment; to support the development and implementation of new environmental policies and law; and to facilitate the preparation of sound environmental investments.
In order to improve the capacity and forge new linkages, a system of thematic Working Parties has been established, based upon regional "Activity Centres". Each Black Sea country agreed to host one of these Centres and corresponding National Focal Points were established for each Centre in each of the other countries.
For general programme co-ordination, a Programme Co-ordinating Unit (PCU) was establishes in Istanbul by the UN Office for Project Services on 2 January 1994. It works directly with the National Co-ordinators, high level government officials appointed by the Ministers of Environment.
The BSEP's environmental investment programme, led by the World Bank, has supported the development of an Urgent Investment Portfolio, which has already led to a US$ 18 million emergency concessionaire loan to Georgia. Among other activities, this loan is financing the rehabilitation of municipal services for the coastal cities of Batumi and Poti together with provisions for coastal zone management along the Georgian Black Sea coast.