Using insights from classical functionalism, this article analyses the complex relationship between the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea and the Caspian Environment Programme (CEP). The article pursues three objectives. First, it shows how shared ecological issues challenged individual littoral states and brought their respective governments under the CEP umbrella in 1998. Second, it shows how key actors (UNEP, UNDP, GEF, and World Bank – besides states) are involved in shaping the politics of the Caspian Sea region and how their preferences, both political and economic, and networks affect the capacity, opportunity and will of governments (e.g., ministries, parliaments and presidents) to cooperate. Third, it explains the link between low environmental politics and the uncertain legal status of the Caspian Sea. I find that lessons learned from environmental cooperation spilled over into the discussion of the legal status of the sea, which culminated in the signing of the Convention.
- Caspian Sea
- Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea
- Caspian Environment Programme
- Tehran Convention