International seminar participants get acquainted with the aspects of the Caspian region sustainable development

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the State Enterprise for the Caspian Sea under the President of Turkmenistan jointly with the International Ocean Institute (IOI) organized the international seminar "The Caspian Sea - Sustainable Development and Management" in the Avaza National tourism zone. Experts from various ministries and departments of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and our country take part in the event, as well as international experts - IOI scientific consultants in the field of maritime economy, politics, management, ecology, law of the sea and other disciplines take part in the seminar.

One of the key vectors of the foreign policy strategy of Turkmenistan is the development of friendly relations with neighboring countries. In this regard, particular attention is paid to strengthening fruitful cooperation with the Caspian states in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres.

An important area of the strategic partnership based on the consolidation of efforts and common responsibility for the future of the Caspian Sea is regular trainings, professional development of specialists, whose work is related to the sea - oil and gas sector, hydrometeorology, fisheries, tourism, nature protection, maritime transport, foreign policy departments and others.

This is the main goal of the seminar, which has been held in Avaza for the sixth year in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation signed between the State Enterprise for the Caspian Sea Issues under the President of Turkmenistan and the IOI.

The International Ocean Institute that was founded more than 45 years ago, is a Non-Profit Organisation that enjoys special consultative status with the United Nations. The IOI works to uphold and expand the principle of the common heritage as defined in the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.

The Institute closely cooperates with the programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations - the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Meteorological Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development among others.

Currently, IOI’s work is focused on the organization of training programmes and courses developed given the characteristics of different regions - the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Caspian Sea, the Pacific Ocean through a network of operational and coordinating centers around the world.

The programme of the current 10-day training includes a wide range of issues directly related to the economic, social and environmental aspects of the development of the Caspian states. Thematically, the course is divided into four modules: "Ocean Governance Structure", "Financial Mechanisms for Sustainable Water Management", "Mechanisms for Managing Oceanic Relations" and "The Caspian Sea Management".

On the first day of classes, the seminar participants were presented with the "Concept of the common heritage", according to which the World Ocean - the cradle of life on the Earth - plays the crucial role in ensuring the sustainable development of human civilization. Occupying three quarters of the planet, the oceans and seas serve as a source of colossal mineral resources, biological resources, a means for intercontinental connections, as well as form and regulate the climate.

As noted, this concept fully extends to the Caspian Sea - a drainless sea-lake, which is also connected with the World Ocean through the water channels. The dynamic paces of the development of the Caspian region require the balanced management system for the unique natural complex, the policy coordinated by the Caspian states on the use of hydrocarbon, fish and other natural resources, and the cooperation of their efforts to preserve the ecological well-being of the sea.

The seminar participants got acquainted with the main provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was signed and ratified by 160 states and the European Union.

Special attention was paid to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development "Rio + 20", the final materials served as the basis for defining the Millennium Development Goals. The problem of the preservation and the rational use of the resources of the seas and oceans, which has global economic, environmental and social consequences, was included into the "The 2030 for Sustainable Development", adopted at the 2015 UN Summit on Sustainable Development.

It should be noted that Turkmenistan is actively working on the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals into the national socio-economic programmes. Our country systematically transfers to the "green" economy that is based on the innovative, resource-saving and environmentally friendly production technologies, improves people's well-being and reduces environmental risks. The integrated approach is practiced in the development of plans for the development of the Caspian region. This is confirmed by the large investment projects that are simultaneously implemented both in the industrial and transport-communication spheres, and in the development of the recreational and tourism potential of the Caspian region.

Among the key areas of Turkmenistan's activities on the world arena is the expansion of cooperation with foreign countries and international organizations in the development of the balanced solutions of the important issues in such areas as energy, sustainable transport system, ecology and environmental protection among others.

The international initiatives, put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov during the sessions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development "Rio + 20", the Summit of heads of the Caspian states and other large forums, are aimed at achieving these goals. Among them are the proposals on opening the Regional Center on technologies related to climate change in Central Asia in Ashgabat, the development of the UN Special Programme for Saving the Aral Sea and the UN Water Strategy, as well as the establishment of the effective mechanisms for multilateral cooperation to ensure the environmental and technological safety on the Caspian Sea, the unique complex of which stands as the property of all mankind.

Moreover, the seminar will focus on "The Wealth of the Oceans", "The Impact of Climate Change on the Marine Environment", "Marine Biodiversity", "The Environmental Impact Assessment", "The Integrated Coastal Zone Management", "The Marine Spatial Planning", "The Application of International Law in the exploration and development of oil, gas and other resources of the Caspian Sea", "The Application of International Regulations of navigation on the Caspian Sea", "The Global Environment Fund Projects in Turkmenistan" “The Caspian Sea Region: Socio-Economic and Political Contexts", "The Caspian Environmental Programme", etc. The training includes lectures, practical exercises, interactive discussions, round tables, presentations, and tour to the Hazar State Reserve.

The seminar will last till March 16.