Marking 10 years of combating desertification by Carbon Sequestration Project

May 5, 2013

10 years of combating desertification in Iran: The Carbon Sequestration Project
 Ms. Esmat Hosseini, leader of one of the Village Development Groups (VDGs) in Nazdasht village, Khorasan province. She runs the village kindergarten and teaches carpet and clothes weaving

Today the Carbon Sequestration Project (CSP) led by Bureau of Desert Affairs, in the Forest, Range and Watershed Organization (FRWO) and supported by UNDP celebrated 10 years of progress in combatting desertification in Iran.

10 years ago, in April 2003, the first phase of the project -funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) began in Hossein Abad, South Khorasan province with the aim to demonstrate that desertified rangelands can be cost effectively reclaimed by and for the benefit of the local community.

 Mr. Alireza Owrangi (left), Deputy Minister of Jihad Agriculture and head of FRWO with Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Iran

Upon the successful implementation of the first phase, the second phase started in 2010 for a period of five years in 40 villages and across 225 thousand hectares, to ensure that people are fully involved in sustainable management of natural resources. For this reason the existing Village Development Groups (VDGs) were strengthened and new ones were created and legally identified to represent the needs and interest of villagers.

In April 2012, the project was expanded to include sites in the provinces of Kerman (Shahdad) and Tehran (Mallard).

 Representatives from Village Development Groups: Ms. Esmat Hosseini from Nazardasht village Mr. Nassir Abbasi from South Khorasan province

Following the successful outcomes of the project, both UNDP and the FRWO agreed to further replicate the methods and mechanisms of the project in four other provinces (Alborz, Bushehr, Markazi, and Semnan). This agreement was signed during this ceremony, as an addendum to the project.

 Governor Generals of Alborz, Bushehr, Tehran, South Khorasan, Kerman, Markazi and Semnan provinces were also present at the event

"The impressive results and achievements of this  successful project in terms of financial, social and participatory revival of the  destroyed natural resources have gone beyond the Southern Khorasan province and,  today, it is nationally renowned as a successful experience in the comprehensive  and sustainable development of villages" said Mr. Alireza Owrangi, Deputy Minister of Jihad Agriculture and Head of FRWO in his opening remarks.

 Dr. Owrangi, Deputy Minister of Jihad Agriculture and head of FRWO highlighted that the success of the project is the result of a mulch-dimensional partnership

He added that this success "is the product of close partnership and effort between the  government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United Nations Development  Programme and – most importantly – the participation and endless and most  sincere empathy of villagers."

United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Gary Lewis, appreciated the partnership and efforts of the implementing parties, especially the representatives of the local community, who were among the participants.

 Mr. Lewis thanked the representatives of local communities for their efforts in the field

He stated that "during the past few years, the FRWO has been undertaking a significant effort – through many projects – to raise the rate of Iran’s carbon sequestration. The Carbon Sequestration  Project is one of these initiatives. Through this work we have built feasible  working models. And this is what the new phase of the project is meant to reproduce."

UNDP’s supporting role in the Addendum will help up-scale participatory approaches to rangeland rehabilitation and desertification, help institutional strengthening and improve linkages between environmental rehabilitation and poverty reduction.

 Mr. Ghahreman-Rashid, Governor General of South Khorasan Province

UNDP has also agreed to provide technical support through international consultancy missions and South-South Cooperation initiatives, and enable further contribution by Iran to implement the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

According to the addendum signed during this ceremony of the 10th anniversary of CSP, in 5 years the project will cover a total area of 684,800 Ha in Iran:

Province Area (Ha)
South Khorasan      225,000
Tehran 80,000
Alborz 80,000
Semnan 50,000
Markazi 50,000
Bushehr 61,800
Kerman 138,000
Total 684,800


The Carbon Sequestration Project activities focus on MDGs 1 , 3, and 7.

1st time to calculate Human Development Index (HDI) 
at provincial level

The latest results of monitoring and evaluation of the project in South Khorasan province show that during the first phase, the Human Development Index (HDI) has changed from 0.441 in the first year to 0.517 in the fourth year.

This is the first time that the HDI is calculated for project at provincial level.


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