Projects supporting the Tehran Convention
Project "Addressing Marine Litter in the Caspian Sea region":
The health and environmental threat posed by marine litter in the world’s seas and oceans today is also increasingly relevant in the Caspian Sea. Marine litter being a cross-border problem, the Caspian littoral countries coordinated their efforts to address this issue and launched the project “Addressing Marine Litter in the Caspian Sea region”. It was implemented by the Public Fund “Water Initiatives Center” (WIC) based in Kazakhstan under the auspices of the Tehran Convention Interim Secretariat (TCIS) and funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation through the Global Water Challenge. The project activities were carried out in the period of October 2018 to May 2020.
The project achieved two main goals. Firstly, it established national and a region-wide network of professionals and experts of various sectors in the field of marine litter. This was done through the Caspian Environment Information Center as web-based cooperation platform, as well as through international trainings on marine litter and sustainable tourism strategies and coastal clean-up campaigns in the Caspian countries on Caspian Sea Day in 2019. Secondly, the Caspian country experts discussed and agreed on a draft Caspian Regional Marine Litter Action Plan (CRMLAP). This plan is a comprehensive, detailed and ambitious agenda to address marine litter in the Caspian Sea region. It will be taken up in the intergovernmental process of the Tehran Convention and serve as basis for further national and regional action on marine litter.
Project "Caspian Environmental Information Centre": 2018-2020
The project “Caspian Environmental Information Centre” (CEIC) supported the Caspian countries in their commitment to create a centralized database and information management system for the collection, storage, and dissemination of environmental information. The goal of the CEIC was to provide access to reliable information for policy and decision makers, as well as the public and to serve as a virtual network of national collaborating institutions and other stakeholders. The CEIC was established on the request of the Caspian littoral states and the Interim Secretariat of the Tehran Convention in the need for the implementation of Article 19 (5) of the Tehran Convention: “The establishment of a centralized database and information management system, with the intention to host and distribute information on the state of the environment in the Caspian Sea and act as a virtual network of national collaborating institutions.”
Carried out in two phases, from 2010 to 2012, and from 2017 to 2019, the project was implemented by GRID-Arendal under the auspices of the Tehran Convention Interim Secretariat with financial contributions by BP Exploration (Caspian Sea) Limited and its associated project partners. The CEIC was established in 2012 and officially launched at the 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 4) of the Tehran Convention in Moscow, Russian Federation, the same year.
The first pilot phase established the basic functionality of the CEIC, ensured a first stable user base and collected, transferred, and stored existing information of previous regional initiatives for environmental protection, such as under the Caspian Environment Program. Furthermore, designated national information professionals of the Caspian countries were trained on the use of the CEIC and introduced to the European Shared Environmental Information System in cooperation with the European Environment Agency. The 1st State of the Caspian Sea Environment Report was prepared by GRID-Arendal and presented at the COP 3 in Aktau, Kazakhstan 10-12 August 2011.
The second project phase substantially enlarged the user base of the CEIC, strengthened the network for cooperation and data exchange between stakeholders and expanded the functionality of the CEIC website. The project also supported the countries in creating a legal basis for sharing, harmonizing and standardizing information relevant to the protection of the Caspian Sea environment which resulted in the draft Protocol on Monitoring, Assessment, and Information Exchange. Furthermore, the project aided the development of the 2nd State of the Caspian Sea Environment Report which was published in 2019. Having increased ownership of the CEIC, the Caspian countries decided that it will be linked to the official Tehran Convention website and operated by the Tehran Convention Secretariat.
The CEIC is envisaged to play a central role for reporting and environmental monitoring in the Caspian Sea region and will need to be further upgraded in the years to come.
Adaptation Fund project "Urbanization and Climate Change Adaptation in the Caspian Sea Region"
The proposed regional programme’s main objective is to enhance climate change adaptation and resilience of local communities in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran while fostering the necessary capacities and knowledge throughout the Caspian Sea region. The implementing and executing entities are UN-Habitat, UNEP and IOM.
The project aims at tackling the impacts of the main identified hazards: (i) sea level fluctuation and potential decrease; (ii) increased floods; (iii) more intense droughts; and (iv) heat in the Caspian Sea coasts, particularly in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The proposed adaptation measures for the four main hazards will be considered in relation to urbanization processes and through the integrated approach to spatial and coastal planning, innovation, knowledge sharing, access to resources and management capacity.
The project is comprised of regional engagement for national and local climate action based on building capacity and the evidence base for planning, prioritizing and financing key urban resilience and climate change adaptation measures. Concrete interventions will take place at local levels in both the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Collection of data, building of capacity, studies to improve understanding of nature-based solutions and water management and finance will take place at the local and national levels in both countries. This will be upscaled to all Caspian Sea littoral states by utilizing the institutions and instruments under the Tehran Convention.
The Tehran Convention and regional component also provide an opportunity to share learning and scale up the experiences in the two countries involved in this project. The regional component's data and knowledge aspects can also support the implementation and adaptive management of the adaptation measures at the local level.
Project “Addressing Marine Litter and Marine Plastics – a Systemic Approach in the Caspian Sea”
Marine litter, including plastic and microplastics, represent one of the main pressures to marine and coastal environment. Significant efforts are ongoing at national, regional and global levels aiming at preventing and reducing their generation. Despite these articulated efforts the problem of marine litter is persisting and strengthened actions are required to be taken at all levels and across sectors.
The project aims to improve the management of the land-based sources of pollution that are likely to affect the marine environment of the Caspian Sea. This will be achieved through amending the policy and regulatory frameworks on waste management, comprehensive promotion of a circular economy/life-cycle approach, carrying out investments in waste managements as well as strengthening sustainable consumption and productions patterns, in particular behavioral consumers’ change. Since the marine litter is a transboundary issue both a national and regional efforts will be undertaken.
The project is designed for three years, financed by the Russian Federation through the Official Development Assistance programme as well as the contributions of the other Caspian Sea littoral countries.