AKTAU, Kazakhstan, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Five littoral states to the Caspian Sea agreed to new mechanisms for responding to and monitoring potential environmental pollution, the United Nations said.
Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, which border the Caspian Sea, agreed during a meeting in Kazakhstan to new protocols regarding potential oil pollution. The U.N. Environment Program described the step as a "milestone" for the region.
Once the mechanisms are ratified, littoral states will work to introduce an emergency response system for addressing potential oil spills.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said environmental stewardship is one of the foundations of international relationships.
"Addressing concerns related to potential adverse environmental trans-boundary impacts is the best recipe for preventing such impacts and safeguarding peace and stability," he said.
The Caspian Sea holds some of the largest oil and natural gas deposits in the world. It also is the largest enclosed body of water in the world.