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15.11.03á08:15
"ECOLOGICAL SITUATION SHOULD IMPROVE"
TURKMEN MINISTRY OF NATURE PROTECTION COMMENTS ON TURKMENISTAN'S JOINING THE CONVENTION ON THE CASPIAN SEA ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION

As it was already reported in the Turkmen press, Turkmenistan had joined the framework Convention on protection of the Caspian Sea environment signed earlier in Tehran by representatives of four other Caspian states.

Commenting on this event, the Turkmen state news agency (TSNA) noted that the Convention provided for measures on regulating anthropogenic impact on the sea environment and on the protection and reproduction of biological and other resources of the Caspian Sea.

The framework convention is virtually the first international document of such kind, which along with the establishment of institutional-financial mechanisms provides for its practical implementation. As the TSNA's correspondent was told in the Ministry of nature protection, the Convention serves the aim of joining the Caspian states' efforts to prevent and eliminate pollution in the Caspian basin. It is also designed to really examine the situation in the entire region and to develop specific national programs of action. The mechanisms of interstate cooperation in the field of the Caspian Sea environment protection are envisaged in this document. Adoption of this important document on the protection of environment, which meets the highest international standards, was a practical step in accordance with the rule and spirit of international practices in solving the most important ecological problems.

The signing of the framework Convention was preceded by painstaking work of experts, who made it possible to conduct a detailed analysis of the situation in the region. With the help of the UNDP the Caspian states have been provided with an umbrella program of the Caspian Ecological Program, in the framework of which a number of projects approved by the Turkmen Government have been implemented. A trans-border diagnostic analysis that has specified priority problems of the Caspian Sea was prepared. There were set up topical regional centers with the five countries experts' participation according to each state's priority direction. For example, a center on fishing was established in Russia, on studying the sea level fluctuations - in Kazakhstan, on pollution of the sea - in Baku. The analogues center under a unified coordination unit PCU has been established in the National institute on desert, flora and fauna studies at the Ministry of nature protection of Turkmenistan. The center's scientists have studied the processes of desertion and degradation of land in the Caspian coastal zone that occur due to both the sea level fluctuations and anthropogenic impact (economic activity of people). A long run objective of specialists' joint work is a worked out strategic plan of action (SPA) and the National Caspian plan of action (NCPA) that were laid in the basis of the framework Convention on the Caspian sea environment protection. The Caspian Sea is not only the biggest inland water reservoir with vast reserves of oil and gas and precious forms of game fish. Colossal hydrocarbon resources and advantageous geopolitical situation of the sea for transportation of the regional reserves of fuel and many other factors have attracted big capital of foreign oil corporations into the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea development is not only limited to speedy exploration of oil wells. There are other ways that are not less profitable in economic sense of the regional development. These are fishing and fish farming, tourism and shipping.

The framework Convention on the Caspian Sea environment protection has clearly defined the principle approaches to the Caspian Sea problem. The ecological situation in the Caspian Sea should not deteriorate but steadfastly improve, while carrying out activities in any direction of the regional development. In particular, it was established that security of the technologies in use should be tested by those who develop and use them. This means that every company carrying out exploration, drilling, extraction and transportation works has to present to the bar of public opinion all necessary documents and security guarantees of its technologies. In case of emergency the guilty is to be called to account to deal with consequences. All expenses related to recovery works, purification of the coastal territories, including compensation for ecological damage, should be made on his account.

The framework Convention provides for conducting an efficient ecological policy, ensuring a broad access of public to ecologically meaningful information and to a process of decision making on the ways of the Caspian region's development.

A state is an exclusive owner of the mineral reserves in Turkmenistan, which is tasked to ensure safety and rational use of these reserves in the people's interests. Exactly this concept lies in the basis of Saparmurat Turkmenbashi's Program on the country's oil and gas complex development. An efficient legal basis regulating activity of both national and foreign oil companies has been established to implement this Program. Turkmenistan's joining the Convention on the Caspian Sea environment protection is seen as one more prove of realization of the laws "On nature protection", "On hydrocarbons", "On prevention and elimination of emergency situations" and others. Thus, a reliable system of ecological protection guaranteeing preservation of all natural resources for future generations of independent Turkmenistan has been created in the country.

Turkmen state news agency "Turkmendowletkhabarlari" (TSNA), 13.11.03

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