Uncertainty regarding future variations in the sea level is holding back the development of many coastal zones suitable for holiday amenities or the construction of ports. But stretches of the Caspian coast are already packed with unsustainable tourist developments. The Iranian coastal area, home to some 7 million people, has registered a 5 per cent annual increase in population over the past decade. Demographic pressure has turned the area close to the sea into residential property, despite the risk of flooding. In 2007 the government of Turkmenistan approved the start of the Avaza national tourism zone, a special economic space occupying 5 000 hectares on the shore of the Caspian. It also authorized the complete modernization of a seaport in Turkmenbashi. The rising sea level also complicates further offshore oil prospecting, currently expanding in the northeast corner of the sea, off the coasts of Kazakhstan and Russia. The very shallow water in this part poses problems for access and safety.
From collection: Vital Caspian Graphics 2 - Opportunities, Aspirations and Challenges, 2012
Philippe Rekacewicz (le Monde Diplomatique) assisted by Laura Margueritte and Cecile Marin, later updated by Riccardo Pravettoni (GRID-Arendal), Novikov, Viktor (Zoi Environment Network)