Prestigious universities of the countries surrounding the land-locked Caspian Sea signed an agreement to embark on the scientific and cultural cooperation on the resource-rich sea, IRNA reported from Baku.
Top university officials of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and chancellors of Iranian universities in Gorgan, Gilan and Mazandaran underlined the need for enhancement of the scientific cooperation on the Caspian Sea.
The measure was taken after the academic officials of the universities of the Caspian countries discussed ways of better exploitation of the energy-rich sea during the 8th session of the Union of the Caspian countries universities, held in Baku.
The participants traded ideas on the issues related to the Caspian Sea such as environment and ecology of the Caspian as well as methods to collect funds for plans to protect the Caspian Sea and to conduct researches.
The measure to ink agreement by the universities of the Caspian countries came as the plenipotentiary representatives of Caspian countries gathered in Tehran to sign a framework Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea.
This will be the result of a two-day conference of representatives of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan.
The United Nations has hailed the signing by ministers of five Caspian states of a frame convention on environmental protection of the Caspian Sea.
The UN's Tehran Information Center said in a bulletin that Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan would sign the accord on coordination of efforts to overcome the present-day critical contamination of the Caspian Sea.
The bulletin says the Caspian is in a difficult period due to the dumping of industrial, radioactive and toxic waste and oil leaks from refineries into the sea.
Another threat to the Caspian Sea is uncontrolled fishing for sturgeon for it caviar and destruction of the region's biosphere. Besides, the level of Caspian waters is rising, threatening residential areas and the region's ecological system. The convention will allow the Caspian states to jointly protect the environmental resources of the unique inland sea.
With an area of some 373,000 km, the Caspian Sea boasts a shoreline of 7,000 km in length. Its surface is 28 m below sea level , and its maximum depth is 980 m. The lake is fed by some 130 tributary rivers, although 75 per cent of its inflow comes from just one - the Volga River.
The Caspian Sea is also unique in that its waters hide some of the largest oil reserves in the world.
... Payvand News - 11/06/03 ... --