Deputy Ecology Minister raises issues of marine pollution
By Laman Ismayilova
Rich in natural resources, the Caspian Sea is a unique water body vital for the people of the coastal states.
Currently, the Caspian region is facing a number of challenges related to the negative impact of unresolved environmental problems.
Speaking with journalists, Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Rauf Hajiyev underlined that the anthropogenic effects such as the reduction of bioresources, pollution of the marine environment as well as the long-term lowering of the sea level due to climate change lead to the degradation of marine ecosystems.
Fluctuations in the level of the Caspian Sea have a negative impact on the condition of the coastal zones and a number of sectors of the economy related to the sea.
According to the deputy minister, the issues of environmental protection of the Caspian Sea and efficient use of natural resources are among the priority areas of Azerbaijan's national policy.
Certain steps have been taken to minimize the negative impact of the Caspian Sea on the environment in Azerbaijan, he added.
"In order to assess the ecological situation in the section of the Caspian Sea belonging to Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources regularly conducts expeditions with the Alif Hajiyev scientific-research ship to study biological resources and hydrological state of the sea to find out possible negative effects on the marine environment. Today, one of the goals of the ministry is to prevent the pollution of the Caspian Sea. The strictest measures are taken against polluters," Rauf Hajiyev told journalists.
The Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources stressed the importance of the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, which creates a legal basis for regional cooperation, especially for unifying the efforts of the Caspian littoral countries in solving environmental problems.
Adopted in 2003 in Tehran, the convention is the first legally binding regional agreement signed by all five Caspian littoral states, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russian, and Turkmenistan. It lays down the general requirements and the institutional mechanisms for environmental protection in the Caspian region.
By the way, the 6th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea will be held in Baku on October 19- 21.
"Today, the issues of environmental protection of the Caspian Sea and efficient use of natural resources are among the priorities of the national policy of all Caspian countries. From this point of view, I believe that based on the decisions taken at this meeting, Caspian littoral countries will cooperate more closely to improve the natural environment of the Caspian Sea," said Rauf Hajiyev.
The conference will include the adoption of a number of documents, including the Ministerial Declaration and Decisions, the work program and budget of the convention for the next years, the report on the state of the environment of the Caspian Sea, plan of regional cooperation in the field of combating oil pollution in the Caspian Sea in emergency situations, etc.
The participation of high-level representatives of the United Nations Environment Program, which performs the functions of the secretariat of the convention, and other international organizations are planned as part of the event.
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