Visiting the Pilot Site for Tehran’s Carbon Sequestration Project

19 Jun 2013

 


Dr. Noureddin Mona, FAO Representative and Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative walk up a hill that overlooks the project's pilot site © Pasha Tabrizian

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 pilot site for Tehran's component of the Carbon Sequestration project, which is implemented through UNDP's partnership with the Government of Iran © Pasha Tabrizian

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.


UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Gary Lewis began his remarks by thanking the local communities for their active participation in the project © Pasha Tabrizian

“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.


A number of local villagers gathered to celebrate World Day to Combat Desertification along with government and UN officials © Pasha Tabrizian

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.


An elderly lady representing the local community expresses local concerns and opinions

After the site visit, an official ceremony – was held by FRWO in the city of Karaj. Click here to read more