This meeting concluded the first phase of this initiative and marked the started a second phase, which will have a clear focus on the Caspian Sea. The main objective of this 2 days meeting was to discuss, with regional experts, specific environmental issues affecting the Caspian Sea basin. Keeping in mind the mandate and competence of UNESCO, the meeting aimed to formulate activities of an interdisciplinary nature that could be implemented during the biennium 2004-2005.
Whilst UNESCO focused its attention to the Volga Basin environment in the previous biennium, which resulted in the development of the Volga Vision (see www.volga.unesco.ru), the preliminary focus of this second initiative was the consideration of coastal management issues, which are by definition interdisciplinary, and hence would provide the opportunity for various scientific disciplines to work together (for example Coastal dynamics, hydrological cycles, sedimentary and geological processes, human intervention and its impacts on the coastal zone ecosystems, etc…)
The meeting identified several priority areas for international interdisciplinary research, as for example:
- the sea-level changes, its causes and its impact on the communities living at the shores of the sea;
- pollution of the Caspian Sea and the need to protect the both surface and ground water to assure water supply of necessary quality for the population;
- flood prevention, flood protection and management as well as the mitigation of negative impacts of other natural extreme events.
The meeting also discussed the need to improving the cooperation between universities and institutes including the setting up of joint education and research activities.
During the meeting it was decided that UNESCO would strive to publish a State of the Art report on the situation of the Caspian Sea with a special focus on the identified priority areas. UNESCO will also try to develop activities to improve the knowledge on the Caspian environment and to find solutions for an improvement of the situation.
Work in a round table of the session
Session participants: J.Barbiere, A.Lipponen (UNESCO); G.Ordzhonikidze (Russian Commission for UNESCO); V.Sidorov (Vice-Mayor of Yaroslavl)
Work in a round table of the session: G.Ordzhonikidze (Russian Commission for UNESCO), V.Sidorov (Vice-Mayor of Yaroslavl), M.Borovitsky (Vice-Governor of Yaroslavl region), V.Lukjanenko (Advisor to the Governor), V.Komchatov (State Oceanographic Institute)