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‘Game-changer’ for Caspian Sea

Fulfilling the Tehran Convention can be a game changer for the Caspian Sea, participants heard at a meeting of littoral countries held in Iran on 16-21 April.

Her Excellency and vice president of Islamic Republic of Iran Masoumeh Ebtekar described the implementation of the Tehran Convention as an opportunity to “change the status quo” whereby economic development has come at the expense of the environment in the past. More political will and action is needed to protect the Caspian Sea Environment for future generations, she underlined.

Parties to the Tehran Convention – whose interim Secretariat is hosted by UN Environment – were meeting to discuss how the Aktau Protocol can be translated into action on the ground. The Protocol entered into force last July and regulates how Caspian states prevent, respond to and cooperate on oil pollution incidents on the shared waterbody.

The Protocol “cannot be implemented without involvement of the private sector,” noted Dr. Parvin Farshchi of Iran’s Department of Marine Environment.

Protection of the Caspian Sea Environment can be achieved by international and regional cooperation, affirmed Mohammed Rastad, Director General for Marine Environment, Ports and Maritime Organization at the Iranian Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.

Indeed, despite its rough waves, the Caspian Sea “is the Sea of peace and friendship,” believes Dr Najafi, Governor of Iran’s shoreline Gilan Province. In order to preserve this home for future generations, renewable energy must also play a role, stressed Mahir Aliyev, Regional Coordinator for UN Environment.

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