Doc. 9709

13 February 2003

Hazardous impact on the clean waters of Azerbaijan through transboundary watercourses

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr R. Huseynov and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

There has always been a clean water problem in the South Caucasus, but in recent years this problem has become more pressing due to complications of the ecological situation. One of the serious results of the ongoing regional conflicts was that clean water reserves have been sharply decreasing.

The Republic of Azerbaijan has acceded to the UN convention on "Protection and use of the Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes of 1992", but Armenia and Georgia have not acceded to it yet.

67 % of the river waters of Azerbaijan emerge in the territories of the neighboring states. Geographically, as three quarters of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is located in the lower part of the Kur river basin, the ecological situation of the river directly depends on the purity level of the rivers flowing into the Kur river from Armenia and Georgia.

On average, every year 300 mln. m3 of polluted water from the territory of Armenia and 250 mln. m3 from the territory of Georgia is released into the Kur river. As a result of the transboundary pollution of the Kur river the hazardous substances in it such as nitrates, oil products, copper, phenol and so on, are ten times more than normal.

In the area where the Kur river flows into the Caspian Sea the water quality is absolutely useless (the report of the Ministry on Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku, October 2002).

The main pollution sources of the Kur river in Georgia are the industrial enterprises in the city of Rustavi and municipal waster water from Tbilissi.

The Araz river - the right mouth of the Kur river is outrageously polluted from the Armenian side. In the Araz river's waters there is a thousand times more copper, molybdenum than normal.

Chemically polluted waters released from the Gajaran copper-molybdenum and Gafan ore-washing plants in the Republic of Armenia, as well as biologically polluted waters from those cities are released without any treatment to Okhchuchay river in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan - the left mouth of the Araz river. As a result microflora and fauna in the 43 km length area of this river in the territory of Azerbaijan has been annihilated, natural purification process has stopped, the river basin has become a dead zone.

Waste water from the "Metsamor" Nuclear Power Station of Armenia too is released into the Araz river through the Razdan river.

If we take into account that the rivers Kur and Araz are used in Azerbaijan for drinking water supply, livestock-raising and irrigation of agricultural plants it would become clear that this much polluted waters are very serious dangerous source for the health of people and for the ecological system.

The Assembly, taking into account the special importance of this problem in the context of 2003 declared as the "Year of Clean Water", considering that this issue is directly linked with the right of human beings to life

- insists that attention be paid to this situation presaging serious ecological and humanitarian threats,

- calls for a debate on this problem not only in the committee on the environment, agriculture and local and regional affairs, but also in the Committee on legal affairs and human rights.

- recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite the member states to take effective measures with regard to the resolution of this problem.

Signed: 1

Huseynov R., Azerbaijan, LDR

Aliyev B., Azerbaijan, SOC

Bargholtz, Sweden, LDR

BrÓnzan, Romania, SOC

Cox, United Kingdom, SOC

Evin, France, SOC

FilipiovŠ, Czech Republic, EDG

Glesener, Luxembourg, EPP

Ilaşcu, Romania, NR

Kilclooney, United Kingdom, EPP

Mollazade, Azerbaijan, LDR

Nessa, Italy, EPP

Olekas, Lithuania, SOC

Rauber, Germany, EPP

Rigoni, Italy, EPP

Timmermans, Belgium, SOC

Zhvaniya, Georgia, SOC

1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group