We are united by the Caspian Sea: how five countries work together to protect the nature of a unique reservoir

We are united by the Caspian Sea: how five countries work together to protect the nature of a unique reservoir

The Caspian Sea is a unique enclosed body of water with unique natural and biodiversity. Its water space equally belongs to all five countries the borders of which it washes - Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia. Therefore, cooperation in the Caspian Sea has a very important environmental, economic and social significance.

For many years, the Caspian countries have been working to preserve the nature of the common sea, preserve and increase its biodiversity. For this, many documents were signed

Traditionally, on August 12, on the day of the signing of the Tehran Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, all the Caspian countries celebrate the Day of the Caspian Sea. In this regard, it is important to recall and analyze the latest events and trends related to the Caspian issue.

Results of the VI Caspian Summit

In June, Turkmenistan hosted the 6th Summit of the Heads of the Caspian States, at which important environmental issues were discussed, new proposals and initiatives were made.

The key event was that the leaders of the Caspian "five" confirmed at the meeting their commitment to the obligations of the Tehran Convention, which remains the main legal document aimed at protecting the nature of the common sea.

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This is important in the context of the events taking place in the world that create political and socio-economic turbulence, as well as the work carried out by the Caspian countries to organize upcoming events, such as the VI Conference of the Parties to the Tehran Convention in Baku and the II Caspian Economic Forum in Russia.

One of the topical issues in the current geopolitical situation is the discussion of moving the Tehran Convention Secretariat to the region, as it is temporarily located in Geneva. It is expected that a decision on this issue will be made at the upcoming conference in Baku.

Fifth Protocol to the Tehran Convention

The Fifth Protocol on Monitoring, Assessment and Exchange of Information to the Tehran Convention is of paramount importance for the future fate of the Caspian Sea. According to experts, it will become a cross-cutting document that will facilitate the implementation of all other protocols and will make it possible to fully assess the overall progress in achieving the set environmental goals.

The adoption of this document provides for the use by the Caspian "five" of a unified methodology for monitoring the environment and the development of appropriate clear regulations for the exchange of relevant information.

This means that Turkmenistan, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan should have a single methodology for measuring, collecting and assessing the state of the Caspian Sea. Now countries are applying standards that are incompatible with each other, which prevents the formation of an objective overall picture of the processes taking place in the Caspian Sea.

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At the same time, the unification of standards will allow countries to avoid unnecessary financial costs for the same studies of the state of the sea, since key data, such as information on water quality, bottom sediments, etc., will be simultaneously available to scientists of all Caspian states.

One of the possible dates for signing the protocol is August 12, 2023, the day of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Tehran Convention. If the parties manage to prepare a document for this holiday, it will probably be signed on this significant date.

Initiatives of Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea

Turkmenistan has repeatedly put forward various initiatives on the Caspian at the highest level. Most of them are aimed at preserving the nature of the Caspian Sea and regulating issues related to the use of sea resources.

One of the important proposals was an agreement on the rational use and conservation of the water and biological resources of the Caspian Sea, thanks to which the relevant Intergovernmental Commission was created and is successfully functioning today.

An important achievement of Turkmenistan is the work done during the country's chairmanship of the Coordinating Committee for Hydrometeorology and Pollution Monitoring of the Caspian Sea (CASPCOM) in 2013-2014. It was at that time that the Agreement on cooperation in the field of hydrometeorology of the Caspian Sea was signed.

The importance of this document is expressed in the fact that it contributed to the coordinated work of the hydrometeorological services of the Caspian countries, the exchange of information between them. In general, each document adopted by the Caspian "five" is a link in a common chain that is expanding in order to solve the most important environmental problems.

At the moment, a new Agreement on scientific research in the Caspian, initiated by Turkmenistan, is being developed, which is also one of the links in a large chain. It is linked to other initiatives and is aimed at improving cooperation in the Caspian.

And the cooperation of the Caspian countries is an objective necessity. Because only by joint efforts it is possible to achieve the preservation of the ecological well-being of the Caspian Sea, on which all coastal countries have an equally strong impact.

ORIENT