Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the adoption in Iran of a five-nation treaty to protect the fragile environment of the Caspian Sea, the world's largest freshwater lake.
Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan have signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea.
In New York, a spokesman for Mr. Annan issued a statement saying the Secretary-General regarded the treaty - which had been negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - as "a significant step forward for the region...(it will) benefit the health and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people."
Mr. Annan's spokesman praised the five signatory nations for "sending a message to their people and to the world that multilateral cooperation for sustainable development is not only essential, but possible."
The treaty requires the five countries to prevent and cut pollution, restore the environment, use resources sustainably and cooperate more to protect the environment.