What documents will be signed at Caspian Summit

09 August, 2018, 18:00 694
What documents will be signed at Caspian Summit

The Summit takes place on August 11-12 in the port city of Aktau, West Kazakhstan. 


The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake. It is approximately the size of Japan, and contains 40% of the world’s lake water. It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan. Over 130 rivers flow into the Caspian Sea, including the Volga and Ural rivers. Approximately 850 animal and more than 500 plant species live in the Caspian Sea, including many species that are unique to the region. 

The fifth annual Caspian Summit will take place on 12th August in the Kazakh port city of Aktau. Previous meetings took place in 2002 in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), in 2007 in Tehran (Iran), in 2010 in Baku (Azerbaijan) and in Astrakhan (Russia) in 2014. This year's Summit will be preceded by a special working group meeting, and a meeting of the parties’ Foreign Ministers, on 10th-11th August.

The meeting will be attended by the leaders of Kazakhstan (President Nursultan Nazarbayev), Azerbaijan (President Ilham Aliyev), Turkmenistan (President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow), Iran (Supreme leader Ali Khamenei) and Russia (President Vladimir Putin). The countries will discuss the legal status of the Caspian Sea, and the main outcome of the Summit is expected to be signing of the ‘Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea’. The parties will also discuss the development of regional cooperation in the areas of ecology, energy, transport and trade, as well as how to strengthen the security of the Caspian region. A series of five-party intergovernmental documents regarding these topics are expected to be signed.

The Sea plays a vital role in the economies of its bordering states. In terms of oil and gas, the Sea contains some of the largest oil and gas fields in the world. In terms of transportation, the location of the Sea makes it a vital transport route for many Eurasian countries, including Kazakhstan. As for fishing, the Sea is well-known for its unique marine life, with the Caspian accounting for a substantial proportion of global sturgeon supply. And as for tourism, the Sea’s noteworthy sandy beaches serve as recreation resorts.

Work on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea has been ongoing for more than 20 years, with negotiations on the international legal status of the Caspian Sea regularly taking place since 1996. There have been more than 50 meetings of the working group to prepare the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan has already signed several agreements with various members of the Summit to promote cooperation.

As for the previous Caspian Summits, then the first Summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (April 2002) laid the foundation for holding top-level meetings. The next Summit was held in Tehran, Iran (October 2007). Following the second summit, a joint declaration was signed between the five parties, consolidating the existing agreements on the main issues of the legal status of the Caspian Sea. The third Caspian Summit was held in Baku, Azerbaijan (November 2010, during which the two documents were signed between the parties, the first being a cooperation agreement regarding security in the Caspian Sea, and the second being a joint statement by the five Presidents. The fourth Summit was held took place in Astrakhan, Russia (September 2014). In the most recent summit before Aktau, the Presidents signed a joint statement establishing a broad list of principles to guide the activities of the coastal states, which were later incorporated into the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. The principles included the peaceful use of the Caspian Sea, security and stability in the region, military activities, the use of bioresources, the protection of the natural environment, and the conduct of marine scientific research in the Caspian Sea.

We note that earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan told the documents that would be signed within the Summit. In total, at the fifth Caspian Summit with the participation of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan, it is planned to discuss cooperation in economics, transport, protection of bio-resources and safety issues.