Biodiversity Startegy, Action Plan and National Report

Project Summary

Azerbaijan has a complicated geological history and a varied geographical location, which together have influenced the development of a high diversity of fauna and flora in the region. The geography embraces the Caspian coast and its islands, Kura valley plains, mountain foothills, the middle mountains and the alpine and sub-alpine belts. The Talysh Mountains occupy the intermediate position between Europe and Asia. The Republic has over 4,500 plant species and 18,000 animal species spread over 11 climatic zones. Most of the major plant and animal groups are represented. Of these, an estimated 370 species are endemic to Azerbaijan and comprise an invaluable genetic resource for the country, and the world. Key habitats include the Tugai Forests (coastal and riverside forests near the Caspian Sea and along the Kura-Araz) and the Tertiary and Quarternary Hirkan forests. Also along the valleys there are areas of semi-desert with characteristic flora and fauna. Noted species that are rare or declining include Geiran, or Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), lynx (Felix lynx) flamingo (Phoenicopterus rosens) and Azeri partridge (Rufibrenta ruficolla). In the foothills and mountains there are ancient temperate forests and plateau forests with a wide range of characteristic habitats and species including leopard (Felix pardus) and Mouflon together with elder pine and Iron Tree. A significant contributor to this diversity comes from the Caspian Sea. The Sea is noted for a great number of endemic species of both plants and animals. Most of these endemics belong to the herring and bullhead families of which seven species and subspecies of sturgeon are of importance. The Caspian is the only area to have maintained a significant sturgeon fishery, which represents up to 90% of the world catch. The flora and fauna provide, or are potentially the source of, a wide variety of useful and valuable products. These include some 800 medicinal herbs, 100 of which are of commercial importance. The sturgeon and caviar industries may provide the best example of the importance of biodiversity to the country's culture and economy. Impacts on Biodiversity In recent years a number of influences have resulted in damage to the environment and to its biodiversity. The major impacts include: 1. The development and transformation of the natural habitat area, for example the loss of forest and scrub, soil erosion and soil salination, use of rivers for irrigation and hydro-construction and human settlement. 2. Pollution of the environment, lakes and the Caspian Sea with pesticides and untreated sewage. 3. The poaching and hunting of animals, including rare and disappearing species, and their disturbance in protected areas. 4. The influx of refugees, farmers and others onto protected areas seeking essential food and fuel resources. In addition, 2 state reserves and 4 game reserves are now in the zone occupied by Armenia. 5. The regulation of rivers by dams which disturbs spawning migration, preventing fish from reaching natural breeding grounds and destroying fry. 6. The influence of economic growth, such as tourism, energy production, infrastructure development, and pipelines. Finally, lack of adequate funding prevents national and state reserve managers mitigating these problems and limits the acquisition of new reserve areas or the proper management of existing ones. In the medium and long-term, however, the expected income from the exploitation of the oil reserves should start to partially solving this problem. In view of the situation described above, it has now become an urgent priority for Azerbaijan to develop its Biodiversity Action Plan (BSAP), through a broad consultative process involving many different groups of stakeholders. In the following sections, the approach and methodology that will be used in developing the BSAP are described in greater detail.

Project Details

GEF Project ID
Project Type
Enabling Activity
Project Approved
Focal Areas
Funding Source
GEF Trust Fund
Implementing Agencies
United Nations Development Programme
Executing Agencies
State Committee of Ecology
GEF Period:
GEF - 2
Approval Fiscal Year:


Project Preparation Grant Amount
GEF Project Grant
351,216 USD
Co-financing Total
GEF Agency Fees
54,000 USD
Total Cost 351,216.00 USD

Project Timeline

Received by GEF
21 Nov 2000
Project Approved for Implementation
08 Jan 2001
Project closed