The process of establishing the legal status of the world’s biggest landlocked water body – the Caspian Sea, began in November 1996 in Ashgabat at the first meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian states.
In parallel with elaboration of the basic document – the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, the littoral Caspian states were carrying on the development of the documents in separate areas of the regional cooperation. First five-sided document was the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (the Tehran Conference), signed in November 2003.
Up to date four protocols of the convention were adopted – on Fight against oil spillage (Aktau Protocol), on Protection from pollution from land resources, (Moscow Protocol), Preservation of the biological diversity (Ashgabat protocol), assessment of the impact on environment in trans-border context.
Tehran convention came into force on 12th of August 2006. That day – 12th of August – is marked in the region as the Day of the Caspian Sea. Summits of the Heads of the littoral Caspian States provided a powerful impulse for the negotiation process.
The foundation stone for holding the Caspian summits was laid in Turkmenistan – in April 2002 Ashgabat hosted the First Caspian Summit, where participants discussed document that was regulating political arrangements of the littoral states on the major issues pertaining to the status of the Caspian Sea, security in the sea and others.
That document – Declaration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Russian Federation and Turkmenistan – was signed by heads of the Caspian-littoral states in October 2007 in Tehran, during the second meeting of the Heads of States of the Caspian Five.
At the Third Caspian Summit presidents signed the Agreement on cooperation in the field of security in the Caspian Sea and adopted Joint Statement on the results of the summit.
Delivering speech at the summit in Baku, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov put forward the initiative to elaborate two agreements – in the field of preservation and rational use of the water biological resources of the Caspian Sea and prevention and liquidation of the emergency situations in the sea.
In the course of the Fourth Meeting of the Heads of the Caspian-littoral states, in September 2014 in Astrakhan, the Statement of consent upon the major principles of the activity in the Caspian Sea was signed. In addition, at that Summit there was signing of the intergovernmental agreements, initiated by President of Turkmenistan at the Third Summit, as well as the agreement on cooperation in the field hydrometeorology of the Caspian Sea. The experts’ work on the latter agreement was completed in the framework of Turkmenistan’s chairmanship in the coordination committee on hydrometeorology and pollution monitoring in the Caspian Sea (CASPCOM). As a result of the summit Communiqué was adopted.
At the Astrakhan summit, President of Turkmenistan introduced a proposal on preparation of two new agreements – in the field of transport and trade-economic cooperation in the Caspian Sea, and creation of the Caspian Economic Forum.
Signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea by the Presidents of five Caspian-littoral states at the Fifth Caspian Summit on the 12th of August 2018 in Aktau, the Republic of Kazakhstan became a historical event.
There were other documents signed at the Summit in the field of transport, trade-economic cooperation and on avoidance of incidents as well as the Protocols to the Agreement in the field of security in the Caspian Sea.
Following the results of the Summit, Presidents of the Caspian states adopted a Communiqué. That document reflects the initiative of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to hold the First Caspian Economic forum in 2019 in Turkmenistan. The given event is meant to become a vital link in the process of realizing the arrangements and further strengthening of cooperation in the Caspian Sea.
Holding the First Caspian Economic Forum is scheduled for 12 August 2019 in the National tourist zone “Avaza”.
Construction of the tourist zone was initiated by President of Turkmenistan in 2007. since then Avaza has turned into a contemporary comfortable resort complex, which has all facilities for holding large events for various purposes on the highest organizational level. New international airport was built in Turkmenbashi city that has capacity to receive aircrafts of any type. Airport and Avaza are connected by highway.
The Forum will become the platform for discussions of the issues related to the development of trade-economic, transport cooperation, creation of conditions for large projects, discussions on the role of economy of the Caspian region on global scale, investment attractiveness in various sectors of economy of the littoral Caspian States. Forum will be followed by cultural program.