Caspian Sea 2011


6. Impact

Changes in sea levels might also have a negative effect on coastal infrastructure. Increases in sea levels could contribute to water pollution from waste dump sites, abandoned oil wells and other intrusions. An indirect consequence of sea level change is the potential loss of aesthetic values in coastal areas resulting, among other things, in a possible loss of tourism (Panin 2007). The Agricultural sector In the Caspian Sea region as a whole, there is a general decline in agriculture as a percentage of GDP. This is largely due to an increase in industrial production in the area, particularly with increases in oil production and consequent increases in earnings. The decline in agricultural production is also due to a general decline in state subsidies for farming: these were a major factor underpinning production during the Soviet era (CEP 2007a). In Azerbaijan, the agricultural sector per- centage share of GDP is steadily falling: agri- cultural production represented 17 per cent of national GDP in 2000, falling to 6 per cent in 2009 (WB 2010, State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan). In Iran, the agricultural and fishery sectors con- stitute more than 25 per cent of the economy in the coastal provinces of Gilan, Golistan and Mazandaran (18%, 33% and 27% respectively), which is considerably higher than in the country as a whole (11%). The share of employment in ag- riculture and fisheries has changed little in recent years - from 32 per cent of total employment in 2004 to 29 per cent in 2008 (CEP 2007e). Arid areas of Kazakhstan are used for sheep, goat, camel and horse farming in order to sup- ply the rising demand for meat, milk and wool: neither Atyrau nor Mangystau oblasts contribute significantly to agricultural production. In Kazakh- stan’s Caspian Sea areas, agricultural production (in monetary terms) has increased over the past decade, though there has been a decrease in the productivity of land in some areas. In Atyrau oblast, agricultural activities have decreased, es-

6.1. Consequences on social and economic sectors The health and well-being of residents in the Caspian Sea coastal area are critical indicators linked to the overall environmental situation. The pressures created by anthropogenic or natural changes, including decline in biodiversity, pol- lution or wastes, could consequently impact the livelihood of the populations. The consequences of changes in the overall environment are usually reflected in environmentally sensitive sectors, such as agriculture and fisheries. Changes in climate, usually reflected by changes in atmospheric conditions, can affect all sectors of the economy, particularly the agricultural sec- tor where production depends on soil productivity and regular applications of water and other inputs. In Turkmenistan for instance, water resources are most vulnerable to climate change, and agricul- ture is the most vulnerable sector of the economy (Atamuradova). According to the climate change model UK 89 calculations, the pasture efficiency in Turkmenistan could decrease by 10-15 per cent. Experts estimate that the number of lambs could decrease by 5-25 per cent, and wool production by 10-20 per cent (Atamuradova). Over an extended period, climate change can also impact many oth- er sectors, influencing water quality, water levels, soils and biological diversity. The depletion of biological resources can have a knock-on effect — also depleting various oth- er parts of the economy. In the Caspian Sea re- gion, the fisheries sector is particularly affected by such depletions of biological resources, both at the large-scale industrial level and within coastal communities with a large dependence on fish as a food resource. The depletion of fish and seal stocks, as a result of deteriorat- ing habitat conditions and unsustainable use of fishery resources, negatively affects the eco- nomic performance of the sector and the social conditions of coastal communities.


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