27 May 2024
Monday 15 April 2024 - 01:34
Story Code : 419600
Source : Tehran Times

Caspian states hold meeting to address environmental crimes

The Iran Project : The second meeting of the representatives of Caspian Sea countries to deal with environmental crimes was held from April 4-5 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Caspian states meeting to address environmental crimes
Caspian states meeting to address environmental crimes
According to The Iran Project,The five littoral states, namely Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, discussed the environmental challenges and harms facing the Caspian Sea.

They also exchanged views on protecting the aquatic resources of the Caspian Sea and upholding national laws related to the environment and the management of natural resources in the Sea.

The officials emphasized the need to enhance and expand judicial cooperation among the five states.

The Iranian delegation led by Gholam-Abbas Torki, deputy prosecutor general, highlighted the preservation of the Caspian Sea biodiversity, national laws related to the environment, and management of natural resources in the Caspian Sea.

The right to the environment is considered one of the fundamental rights, Torki said.

“The Caspian Sea is of great economic importance for the littoral states in terms of diverse resources and reserves, distinct ecological features, remarkable genetic richness, and unique biological diversity,” he further noted.

“We have gathered to protect the four main components of life in the Sea including water, air, coast, and biodiversity of the Caspian Sea, among which the latter is of significant importance since it involves the preservation of genes and rare species and the ecosystem of the Caspian Sea,” Torki highlighted.

The Iranian delegation discussed the necessity of implementing the "Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea", known as the Tehran Conference, and its additional protocols, which include obligations and legal frameworks for cooperation on prevention, reduction, and control of pollution, protection, maintenance, restoration and logical use of marine living resources and the management of coastal areas which was welcomed by the prosecutors' offices of the five coastal countries.

To deal with environmental crimes in the Caspian Sea, in addition to boosting scientific and educational cooperation between the general prosecutor's offices, it was suggested to create a comprehensive joint information bank to tackle Caspian Sea issues, forecast the compensation system and create special funds to protect and address environmental pollution and money laundering caused by environmental crimes.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Torki and his Azerbaijani counterpart Kamran Aliyev, held a meeting.

Referring to the good judicial cooperation between the prosecutor general offices of the two countries, Aliyev lauded Iran’s effective measures and approaches in solving some judicial challenges. He expressed hope to expand cooperation between the two countries to safeguard the Caspian Sea environment.

Immediate action to save Caspian Sea

In September 2023, Ali Salajeqeh, the head of the Department of Environment (DOE),  said the current environmental problems of the Caspian Sea require urgent and coordinated action by the five littoral states bordering the sea.

The meeting of the ministers of the contracting parties to the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea with the presence of the ministers of Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan was held from September 30 to 31 in Geneva.

In his speech at the meeting, Salajeqeh stated that the destruction of livelihoods and the marine environment is the result of the shrinking of the water level of the Caspian Sea, IRIB reported.

He said: "Insufficient attention to the quality of the Caspian Sea environment puts the economy and the livelihood of the marginal communities at risk. The only salvation depends on the immediate and coordinated action of all five countries bordering the sea.”

Salajeqeh appreciated Mukhtar Babayev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Azerbaijan Republic, and the officials of the United Nations Environment Program European (UNEP) Regional Office for holding the consultative meeting of the ministers and high-ranking officials of the environment of the member countries of the Tehran Convention and the administration of the interim secretariat of this convention.

"The Caspian Sea is a valuable resource for the people living in its vicinity. It is a common natural heritage that must be preserved for current and future generations,” IRIB quoted Salajeqeh as saying.

The official pointed out that by preserving the environment of this sea, people and coastal communities will all benefit from the Sea and economic activities will be reinforced to achieve sustainable development.

"Nevertheless, there are still many challenges ahead to achieve sustainable development in the region. Although guaranteeing a stable future for the Caspian Sea has been covered to an acceptable extent by the Tehran Convention and its additional protocols, drifting a timed implementation plan in line with the Convention and its additional protocols to be implemented in full is far more necessary and urgent.

Pointing to the increase in Caspian seal casualties as a major environmental concern, he called for an immediate meeting between the managers of the fisheries organizations and the environment departments of the five coastal countries.

He also mentioned the other issues caused by the decrease in the water level of the Caspian Sea.

In addition to its negative effects on shipping, it has also affected the livelihood of coastal people, aquatic life, and the unique vegetation of the Caspian Sea, he said.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is fully ready to cooperate with littoral states to control the level of water reduction in the Caspian Sea.

Another challenge that was referred to by Iran's head of DOE was the pollution caused by land as well as oil.

He stated, "Ignoring the pollution will deprive the future generations of a clean and fruitful sea. In combating oil pollution, fortunately, the Aktau protocol has been signed and come into force. Cooperation with this protocol can be a part of the solution.

He highlighted that what was said is only part of the most important issues facing us in the Caspian Sea. These challenges are impossible to overcome unless with structured and regular cooperation in the form of the Tehran Convention.

After about 17 years since the Tehran Convention came into force, we are at a stage where achieving its goals depends on institutional and serious measures.

The presence of coherent and strong secretariats in the region can provide the necessary platform for these measures to be taken.

"Fortunately, relevant decisions have been made in this regard, and we are obliged to take steps forward to protect the environment of the Caspian Sea by adhering to these decisions,” he added.
Reporter : Editorial of The Iran Project
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