The United Nations has welcomed as "an important step" the renewed commitment of the five states bordering the Caspian Sea to protects its marine environment.
Caspian Sea from space (NASA, 2003) -- see high resolution
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 and a volume of 78,200 km3. It is in an endorheic basin (it has no outflows) and is bounded to the north by Russia, to the south by Iran, western Azerbaijan, and eastern Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. (View Map)
The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) said that Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan had reached a crucial milestone by adopting and signing one more protocol to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, also known as the Tehran Convention.
The new protocol, UNEP explained, addresses one of the major ecological threats to the Caspian: pollution derived from land-based sources, such as agriculture and industry.
Ministers from the five Caspian littoral states agree the additional protocol at talks in Moscow earlier this week.
Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org