Iran’s geography – its climate – its low rate of precipitation (about 240 mm per year, or one-third of the global average) – and its high rate of evaporation have made water resources management perhaps the critical development challenge.
On the occasion of international year of water cooperation and based on the a common initiative between Geneva state and UNDP Iran, on 30 September, a joint workshop was organized by the Iranian Ministry of Energy (MoE) and UNDP.
The aim was to present the achievements of Geneva Canton on integrated water resources management with emphasis on rivers re-naturation and aquatic ecosystem rehabilitation.
Mr. Meibodi, Director General of the MoE, in his opening remarks, stated that he was delighted to participate at the workshop. He provided a short presentation on Iran’s river re-engineering experiences and the costs of various approaches tried and tested by the MoE. He added that the sharing of global best practices could lay the foundation for future partnership between UNDP and the MoE. In this regard, he expressed hope for a more expansive exchange of experiences and transfer of technical knowledge and lessons learned in the area of water resources management.
Dr. B. Murali, UNDP Deputy Representative also spoke at the event. “Many of key environmental functions and services from which we are benefiting are mainly dependent on water resources. So, it would be crucial that we include environmental concerns while trying to address water management issues. Otherwise result of our management in long-term will not add so much to human welfare and security,” he said. Dr. Murali emphasized the need for “smart” water resources management in order to overcome some of the future challenges.
The presentations by Ms. Sepideh Nayemi, working for the River Renaturation Unit of water bureau, Department of Interior, Mobility and Environment, Geneva Canton, set the stage for a lively exchange throughout the workshop. Ms. Nayemi touched upon the concept of "River Renaturation", including tools, cost-effectiveness, funding mechanisms and case studies. She then presented the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) at the Watershed level as well as the highly participatory approaches required to make IWRM a success.
The Geneva Canton’s efforts to engage the civil society and various interest groups, the Swiss Federal government as well as engagement of French authorities in trans-boundary water management was cited as a successful partnership model.
Finally, Ms. Nayemi concluded with a presentation on “Communication and Public Relations” angel. A lively Questions and Answers session ensued in the afternoon, further underlining the high value added of the event.
Also attending the event were representatives from Department of Environment, the Forest, Rangelands and Watershed Organisation as well as, Office of River and Coastal engineering and other representatives of MoE’s water establishments.