Tehran Convention
Tehran Convention

Projects supporting the Tehran Convention

Project "Addressing Marine Litter in the Caspian Sea region"

The health and environmental threat posed by marine litter in the world’s seas and oceans today is also increasingly relevant in the Caspian Sea. Marine litter being a cross-border problem, the Caspian littoral countries coordinated their efforts to address this issue and launched the project “Addressing Marine Litter in the Caspian Sea region”. It was implemented by the Public Fund “Water Initiatives Center” (WIC) based in Kazakhstan under the auspices of the Tehran Convention Interim Secretariat (TCIS) and funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation through the Global Water Challenge. The project activities were carried out in the period of October 2018 to May 2020.

The project achieved two main goals. Firstly, it established national and a region-wide network of professionals and experts of various sectors in the field of marine litter. This was done through the Caspian Environment Information Center as web-based cooperation platform, as well as through international trainings on marine litter and sustainable tourism strategies and coastal clean-up campaigns in the Caspian countries on Caspian Sea Day in 2019. Secondly, the Caspian country experts discussed and agreed on a draft Caspian Regional Marine Litter Action Plan (CRMLAP). This plan is a comprehensive, detailed and ambitious agenda to address marine litter in the Caspian Sea region. It will be taken up in the intergovernmental process of the Tehran Convention and serve as basis for further national and regional action on marine litter.

Project "Caspian Environmental Information Centre"

The project “Caspian Environmental Information Centre” (CEIC) supported the Caspian countries in their commitment to create a centralized database and information management system for the collection, storage, and dissemination of environmental information. The goal of the CEIC was to provide access to reliable information for policy and decision makers, as well as the public and to serve as a virtual network of national collaborating institutions and other stakeholders. The CEIC was established on the request of the Caspian littoral states and the Interim Secretariat of the Tehran Convention in the need for the implementation of Article 19 (5) of the Tehran Convention: “The establishment of a centralized database and information management system, with the intention to host and distribute information on the state of the environment in the Caspian Sea and act as a virtual network of national collaborating institutions.”

Carried out in two phases, from 2010 to 2012, and from 2017 to 2019, the project was implemented by GRID-Arendal under the auspices of the Tehran Convention Interim Secretariat with financial contributions by BP Exploration (Caspian Sea) Limited and its associated project partners. The CEIC was established in 2012 and officially launched at the 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 4) of the Tehran Convention in Moscow, Russian Federation, the same year.

The first pilot phase established the basic functionality of the CEIC, ensured a first stable user base and collected, transferred, and stored existing information of previous regional initiatives for environmental protection, such as under the Caspian Environment Program. Furthermore, designated national information professionals of the Caspian countries were trained on the use of the CEIC and introduced to the European Shared Environmental Information System in cooperation with the European Environment Agency. The 1st State of the Caspian Sea Environment Report was prepared by GRID-Arendal and presented at the COP 3 in Aktau, Kazakhstan 10-12 August 2011.

The second project phase substantially enlarged the user base of the CEIC, strengthened the network for cooperation and data exchange between stakeholders and expanded the functionality of the CEIC website. The project also supported the countries in creating a legal basis for sharing, harmonizing and standardizing information relevant to the protection of the Caspian Sea environment which resulted in the draft Protocol on Monitoring, Assessment, and Information Exchange. Furthermore, the project aided the development of the 2nd State of the Caspian Sea Environment Report which was published in 2019. Having increased ownership of the CEIC, the Caspian countries decided that it will be linked to the official Tehran Convention website and operated by the Tehran Convention Secretariat.

The CEIC is envisaged to play a central role for reporting and environmental monitoring in the Caspian Sea region and will need to be further upgraded in the years to come.