3 November 2003

Caspian Sea countries to sign UN-organized environmental treaty

3 November 2003 – Five countries bordering the Caspian Sea are meeting today and tomorrow in Iran to sign a treaty negotiated with United Nations support to protect the fragile environment of the world’s largest freshwater lake.

Ministers from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan are expected to adopt and sign the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea.

The treaty was negotiated under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Its Deputy Executive Director, Shafqat Kakakhel, said today that the treaty would help the lives of millions in the region by ensuring that the sea’s resources are used sustainably.

The Caspian Sea faces severe problems, according to UNEP, caused in part by industrial pollution, toxic and radioactive wastes, over-fishing of caviar-producing sturgeon and the destruction of much marine habitat.

The treaty requires participant countries to prevent and cut pollution, restore the environment, use resources sustainably and cooperate more to protect the environment.

Once the treaty is signed tomorrow, it then has to be ratified by the five countries – this may take a couple of years – before it becomes legally binding.

See online : UN News Center

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