BAKU, 11 August 2018 - In marking 12 August, the "Caspian Day" in Azerbaijan, a number of the United Nations agencies have gathered to organise a beach cleanup day in the Buzovna beach area today. Partnering with Government and environmentally conscious civil society actors, the UN family joined the cleaning of the seafront from plastic and other waste. This planet-saving campaign has resulted in 5 hectares of land being cleared of waste and, consequently, 10 cubic metres of waste being sorted.
The event was co-hosted by the UN Office in Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the Child and Youth Development Centre under the Ministry of Education, the resident company of Balakhani Industrial Park "AzEkol" LLC and the "EkoSfera" Public Union.
The beach cleaning initiative has brought together some 100 government officials, representatives of the United Nations agencies, and a broader scope of stakeholders, including a number of notable media outlets.
The aim of the event was to increase public awareness of environmental hazards and the importance of protecting the Caspian seashores from harmful waste. The joint initiative pursued to incentivise the broader groups of the population to take part in bettering ecological conditions of the Caspian Sea and the coastal zone as well as to strengthen civic engagement and the cooperation in this area.
Photo: UN Azerbaijan. Young members of the Child and Youth Development Centre showing excitement as the take part in the Buzovna beach cleanup campaign on the outskirts of Baku. August 2018.
The initiative, along with the commemoration of the "Caspian Day" in Azerbaijan, addresses the challenges flagged by the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, the underlining messages of today's beach cleaning campaign were to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns along the coastal zone, in line with Global Goal 12, as well as to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development, as stated in Goal 14.
Last but not least, ridding the shores of the Caspian Sea from harmful plastic and other waste is in line with Global Goal 15, which calls to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Calling for urgent climate action, today's initiative was the reflection of the importance of working together with multiple actors in the interest of combatting climate change and its impacts, as Global Goal 13 echoes broadly.
Organisers of the event said that awareness raising initiatives like this, dedicated to sustainable consumption, protection of the seas, ecosystem preservation and environmental protection will be continually organised in the coming months ahead.
As the tradition goes, every year 12 August is celebrated as the "Caspian Day" following the ratification of the Framework (Tehran) Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea on 12 August 2006.
Written by Leyla Gurbanova and Arzu Jafarli. The original text was published by the United Nations Office in Azerbaijan.