The chosen theme relevance of the report is based on the fact that in 2012, nine years will pass since the signing of the «Framework Convention for the Marine Environment Protection of the Caspian Sea» by the five Caspian states, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan (Tehran, November 4, 2003). The basic environmental safety requirements of the Caspian Sea are expressed in the common desire of all the Caspian countries to minimize the impact on the Caspian Sea ecosystem, to preserve its unique status.
Such aspiration should be supported by the following positions uniting the Caspian countries efforts:
- Implementation of international and state requirements for the environment preservation to limit and reduce the impact on it
- Effectively operating system organization of environmental monitoring (monitoring).
- Single interstate system organization for responding and eliminating oil spills and gas emissions at the state and interstate level. Including the willingness of an interstate response, in the event of emergency environmental situations in the Caspian.
ENVIRONMENTAL INSTABILITY FACTORS
As the main factors determining environmental instability (environmental risks) of the natural environment and natural resources are:
- Sea pollution from land-based sources (river run-off, sewage water from enterprises and settlements located on the coast, pollutants washout from the coast with wind surges);
- Depletion of fish resources due to surplus, including illegal (poaching) fishing, overflow regulation of the large basin rivers majority;
- Negative changes in coastal terrestrial landscapes and ecosystems, agricultural lands, secondary salinization, chemical contamination and deflation of soils, degradation of natural forage lands and desertification
- Insufficient interstate coordination of environmental Caspian Sea regions activities;
- Insufficiently effective management of environmental protection and nature management;
- Intensive development of offshore oil and gas fields, which is a huge risks source, including ecological ones;
- Spontaneous introduction of alien species;
- Regime violation of specially protected natural areas and water areas.
The Caspian Sea does not have sufficient legal international protection against oil spills, since its status has not yet been determined by the five riparian countries. Biological resources of the Caspian Sea are not insured. This may lead to the refusal of Western companies-nature users from legal and financial responsibility.
PROPOSALS ON DECREASING THE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
- Approaches to reduce the impact on the marine environment are defined in the «Framework Convention for the Marine Environment Protection of the Caspian Sea» (Tehran, November 4, 2003).
- Environmental protection priority, in the oil and gas operations implementation and other activities, at all stages of their realization (from planning, design and ongoing implementation of projects).
- Development of measures to prevent, reduce and control Caspian Sea pollution on the uniform criteria basis, requirements and methodological approaches.
- Assessment and elimination of historical pollution on land by sea.
- Protection, preservation, restoration, and also rational biological resources use of the Caspian Sea.
- Observance of interstate and state legislative requirements, bringing them into uniformity, implementation of environmental impact assessment procedures and constant monitoring (monitoring) of its condition
- Introduction of: modern, environmentally sound, low-waste technologies, first of all compliance with the «zero discharges» principle.
- Strengthening the nature users responsibility for environmental violations at the administrative and criminal levels, both for legal entities and individuals.
- Continue joint cooperation to assess the current Caspian Sea state and the Caspian region by exchanging information, conducting joint survey and creating a unified database.
- Pay close attention to the Unified State Response System formation and functioning for emergencies, oil spills, and gas emissions. Develop a unified procedure and rules for responding and eliminating emergencies. Take further measures to develop the Second and Third Level Emergency Response Bases. Accelerate the interstate cooperation processes in response to emergency situations of hydrocarbon emissions;
- With the participation of international environmental organizations and funds, to develop measures for the animals rehabilitation affected by emergency spills;
- Develop environmental risk maps for the Caspian Sea water area, conduct zoning based on the vulnerability (sensitivity) definition and possible environmental consequences, and the standards definition for the maximum impact level of oil and gas facilities. Conduct Caspian Sea coast zoning according to the proposed spill response methods, transport approaches and temporary storage areas for collected oil waste.
- To create an interstate interaction and decision-making system at the governmental level for measures development and measures that are aimed at jointly solving the problems of preserving the environmental safety of: oil and gas operations, reducing environmental risks, preserving the Caspian Sea biodiversity while developing oil and gas fields, increasing informativeness and bringing the results of production activities to the Caspian countries population.
- To develop the environmental education processes, public awareness, to support the local environmental initiative.
- Continue joint cooperation to assess the current Caspian Sea state and the Caspian region by exchanging information, conducting joint survey, creating a unified database.
The speech aroused the Conference participants’ active interest – both the mining company representatives and the state body employees. It should be noted that this was the only GREEN content report. Participants were presented with KAPE materials and developments in the environmental protection and monitoring field.