Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea marks first anniversary
However, to achieve this goal, specific actions should be taken in the frame of the Convention to solve the most serious problems. First of all, it is important to prevent oil pollution and protect sturgeon population in the Caspian sea.
According to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, signed in November >2003 in Tehran and in force from August 12 2006, Caspian states – Azerbaidzhan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan – vowed to prevent contamination of the planet’s largest enclosed body of water.
Oil industry is one of the sources of the Caspian Sea pollution. At present two countries, Azerbaidzhan and Turkmenistan, extract oil from the offshore fields; Russia and Turkmenistan are planning to start it in the next one or two years. Over 10 million tons of oil is transported by sea each year. At the same time, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea cannot be applied here because of the undefined status of the Caspian Sea (the central legal question concerning the Caspian Sea is whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake). As a consequence, WWF believes it necessary to adopt as soon as possible the Tehran convention Protocol on Regional Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation.
“Unfortunately, the first Conference of the parties in May 2007 did not lead to the negotiation and approval of this important protocol”, says Alexey Knizhnikov, WWF-Russia oil and gas programme coordinator. “In our opinion, further increase in oil extraction and transportation in the Caspian – before the protocol is adopted – cannot comply with the international standards of environmental safety”.
Another problem to which WWF wants to draw the attention of the Caspian states is the catastrophic situation with sturgeons in the Caspian. “It is the Tehran convention that can help create a legal base for introducing effective tools of cooperation between national law enforcement agencies to fight poaching, which has long been an all-regional illegal business, well coordinated by tacit agreements between caviar mafias of the Caspian states”, says Alexey Vaisman, WWF TRAFFIC Programme coordinator.