UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative's statement on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification 2013 (English)
Visiting the Pilot Site for Tehran’s Carbon Sequestration Project
At the invitation of Forest, Range and Watershed Organization (FRWO), UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis, visited the new extension site in Tehran for the ongoing UNDP Carbon Sequestration last Monday, 17 June. The project aims to rehabilitate degraded land and mitigate the effects of dust and sand storms.
The visit – followed by an official ceremony – was part of the Iranian government’s plans in commemorating World Day to Combat Desertification, which is annually held on 17 June.
Officials from the Department of Environment, FRWO, the Governor General’s office, UNDP and FAO were accompanied by the local Friday Prayers leader and villagers in the visit.
The site of Tehran’s component of the Carbon Sequestration project is the district of Malard, located to the west of the capital. Over a period of five years, the project plans to rehabilitate some 70,000 hectares of degraded land. According to FRWO officials, some 12,000 households – approximately 46,000 people living in 50 villages – will benefit from the project’s achievements.
In the shorter term, 6 villages were selected as pilot sites for the training of local communities. Also, 80 hectares of degraded lands are already home to newly-planted trees.
Standing over a hill and overlooking hundreds of hectares of newly-planted trees, Mr. Lewis thanked the village communities for their gathering to celebrate World Day to Combat Desertification.
“Today, we mark World Day to Counter Desertification – and we commemorate this with thousands of other communities across the planet,” said Mr. Lewis. “The problem of desertification is one that many communities face – especially here in Iran.”
Mr. Lewis further highlighted the importance of cooperation between local communities, the government and the United Nations in bringing about solutions. The Carbon Sequestration project essentially plants trees in arid and semi-arid areas to combat desertification, sequester carbon and provide incomes to villagers. It is one of a number of UNDP projects underway in Iran to protect the environment.
At the end of the visit, representatives from the surrounding villages expressed their collective gratitude and appreciation.
“When we see that there are individuals who are concerned for us villagers, we get encouraged to work harder to develop our community,” said an elderly lady, who called for more support to expand such projects.
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