Azerbaijan boosts protection of protected areas

By Nazrin Gadimova

Azerbaijan's Parliament ratified amendments to the law "On Specially Protected Natural Territories and Objects" on April 4.

Under these amendments, Azerbaijan's specially-protected natural territories and objects will be placed under a legal protection regime, which will regulate economic activities. The regime imposes certain restrictions on any economic or other activities that are harmful to the environment of the territories or objects.

Moreover, security, sanitary, and other areas can be determined to ensure the protection of areas adjacent to the protected areas and objects. Any activities that could damage the protected areas or objects are prohibited on the territory of these areas.

Sanitary protection zones will be established at a distance of three thousand meters from the boundaries of protected areas or objects, the amendments say.

Following relevant discussions, a voting was held in the Parliament and amendments to the law were adopted.

Azerbaijan, rich in natural beauties, has 15 state natural parks to preserve and protect the fauna, flora, and ecosystem.

In total, more than 2.5 percent of the country is under protection by the government as state reserve.

State Reserves bear the status of governmental establishments aimed at environmental protection and scientific researches, particularly designed for the protection of typical and rare natural complexes and studying of natural processes and phenomena.

The utilization of the lands of natural reserves, as well as animals and plants found within their boundaries, for industrial purposes is prohibited by the law. Activities in this sector are regulated by the Azerbaijan's Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry.