Caspian Sea 2011

State of the Environment of the Caspian Sea

7. Response

and sustainable and rational use of the biologi- cal resources of the Caspian Sea. It is based on a number of internationally acknowledged envi- ronmental standards including the precaution- ary principle, the polluter pays principle and the principle of access to information. The Con- vention includes provisions on the sustainable and prudent use of the living resources of the Caspian Sea, as well as provisions on environ- mental impact assessment and environmental monitoring, research and development. In addi- tion to the general obligations contained in the Tehran Convention, littoral states are required to take all appropriate measures—individually or jointly—which can help achieve the Conven- tion’s objectives; states should also cooperate with international organizations which might help achieve those ends. Four ancillary Protocols to the Convention are currently under negotiation, with some likely to be signed in the near future. The Pro- tocols cover the four priority areas of concern: 1) Protocol on the Conservation of Biologi- cal Diversity, 2) Protocol on the Protection of the Caspian Sea against Pollution from Land- based Sources and Activities, 3) Protocol con- cerning Regional Preparedness, Response and Cooperation in Combating Oil Pollution Inci- dents, 4) Protocol on Environmental Impact Assessments in a Transboundary Context. The first meeting of the Conference of the Par- ties to the Tehran Convention in 2007 requested UNEP to carry out the functions of the Conven- tion Secretariat ad interim until a permanent Convention Secretariat was established. The Caspian Environment Programme The Caspian Environment Programme (CEP) was established as a regional umbrella organi- zation with the mission “to assist the Caspian littoral states to achieve the goal of environmen- tally sustainable development and management of the Caspian environment for the sake of the long-term benefit for the Caspian inhabitants”.

7.1. Regional-level governance structure Historically, starting from the 17th century, the Caspian Sea was managed by two major powers—the Russian Empire (later the USSR) and Persia (later Iran). While the two entities had various bilateral agreements, these did not cover environmental issues or contain any dec- larations about safeguarding the environment of the Caspian Sea region. After the break-up of the Soviet Union each Caspian littoral state addressed environmental problems separately, largely through existing net- works of scientific research institutions such as the Caspian Fishery Research Institute, the St. Pe- tersburg Oceans Institute, the Sturgeon Institute and others. There were also government environ- mental agencies such as the Department of Envi- ronment, Shilat, the USSR Committee on Nature Protection and local authorities. It was only in 1998, with the strong support of the international donor community, that the Caspian Environment Programme came into being, with the aim of en- couraging international cooperation between the Caspian Sea littoral states on a number of is- sues; the main goal was to halt the deterioration of environmental conditions in the Caspian Sea and to promote sustainable development in the area for the long-term benefit of the surrounding population. All Caspian Sea littoral states ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (the Tehran Convention), which entered into force in in 2006 - the most significant legal outome so far of the Caspian Environment Programme. The Tehran Convention The Tehran Convention serves as a legal um- brella, specifying general requirements and in- stitutional mechanisms. The objective of the Convention is the protection of the Caspian en- vironment from all sources of pollution includ- ing the protection, preservation, restoration


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