9th IOI training Programme on the Sustainable Development and Governance of the Caspian Sea, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 11–22 September 2023

Offered as part of the IOI’s capacity building programmes on Ocean Governance and in partnership with co-founding partner the Caspian Sea Institute (CSI) of Turkmenistan, the Ninth course focusing on Caspian Sea issues came to a fruitful completion last month. 


The course was formally launched by IOI HQ Managing Director Antonella Vassallo and by CSI Chairman Myrat Atajanov on the 11th of September, along with Iouri Oliounine, Director of the Training Programme, and Parvin Farshchi, course Co-Director. This year, 17 participants from the countries surrounding the Caspian Sea (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia) attended the course.  The course addressed a number of overarching subjects, such as Ocean Governance Frameworks; Management Tools and Financial Mechanisms for Sustainable Transboundary Water Governance, Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, and were principally theoretical lectures delivered by international experts via online lectures. The diverse experience in issues of Caspian Sea management, research and policy of the participants further enriched the project work undertaken during the course.


In addition to the in-person lecturers Iouri Oliounine, Parvin Farschi, Antonella Vassallo and Andrej Abramic, expert faculty also delivered lectures in hybrid mode, addressing topics such as Maritime Zones, their Legal Regimes and Joint Development Agreements (E Kazara-Belja), IMO Conventions and their application for meeting modern challenges facing states of the Caspian region (Murat Sumer), Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (Klaudija Cremers), Caspian Sea Level Fluctuations (H Khoshravan) and Financial Mechanisms and Their Application Within the Caspian Region (V Mamaev). The course participants were also honoured to receive an address from Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.


In the second part of the course the participants were expected to apply their knowledge to specific scenarios that demonstrated how their newly attained knowledge can be applied to real-life scenarios during an interactive project. The participants presented their findings under the direction of exercise mentor, Parvin Farshchi, with the assistance of Iouri Oliounine. The trainees delivered excellent work widely using knowledge gained during the course.


The successful presentations of the group projects marked the end of the course, with the participants receiving their certificates during the closing ceremony. Their professionalism, willingness to learn from others in the field and overall high interest in the issues currently facing the Caspian Sea were indicators that the overarching goal of the course to prepare future Ocean leaders with the capacity to manage human relations with and from the Ocean was ultimately met. 


The Memorandum of Understanding between IOI and the Turkmen Caspian Sea Institute, governing the partnership and joint offer of the Caspian Sea training programme was extended by signature of parties the IOI and the Caspian Sea Institute. The memorandum also governs cooperation and coordination in the organisation of capacity development, training programmes and scientific research on issues related to the Caspian Sea. The MOU was signed during the training programme in Ashgabat by Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director, IOI and Murad Atajanov, Head of the Caspian Sea Institute.