The Province of Sistan and Baluchestan is located in southeast Iran, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east, and the Gulf of Oman in the south. The province is Iran’s poorest and most underdeveloped and has for years been struggling with a high rate of unemployment and criminality, in addition to poor living conditions because of this.
The geographical location and climatic condition of the province provide excellent opportunities to promote aquaculture as a field of economic growth. Sustainable production of fish and shrimp is expected to significantly contribute to poverty reduction and human development in the province.
The “Aquaculture in Sistan and Baluchestan” project document was signed in 2004. It was implemented by UNDP through the generous support of the Government of the Republic of Italy to develop the Aquaculture sub-sector with poverty reduction in mind.
Among the attendees were UNDP and Shilat representatives as well as aquaculture experts from other Iranian institutions. The event was facilitated and hosted by Shilat’s Deputy for Aquaculture and the National Project Director, Mr. Mehdi Shakouri.
Speaking at the event, Dr. B. Murali cited poverty reduction, both globally and in Iran, as UNDP’s overarching goal. He stated that “Poverty reduction is at the core of our work to support transformational change- the sort of change that would bring about real improvements in people’s lives. UNDP invests nearly US$1 billion every year in fighting poverty and advancing progress towards the MDGs.”
With reference to the Human Poverty Index (HPI), Dr. Murali underlined the difficult position that the Sistan and Baluchestan province finds itself in – the HPI for the province is twice the national average. On the upside, he highlighted the enormous potential in the south of the province for transformational and “market-led” development of the aquaculture sector, in particular shrimp culture.
Dr. Murali concluded his remarks by advocating for a globally competitive shrimp culture industry through paying attention to individual components of the industry’s value chain and business models that go well beyond technical and technology-related capacity building.
Also speaking at the event, Dr. Andrea Barbaria, the First Secretary of the Italian Embassy in Tehran expressed satisfaction with Italy’s past development partnership with the Islamic Republic of Iran, resulting in achievements in various fields such as agriculture, rural development, emergency relief and cultural heritage. “We would like to commend UNDP, SHILAT and CIRSPE for their work and we would like to underline that UNDP will remain among our privileged interlocutors at UN level also in the coming years” said Mr. Barbaria.
The representative of the main Italian contractor, the CIRSPE SA, Mr. Roberto Ugolini, then presented the salient features of a provisional Aquaculture Sector Strategy Report for the province, following which a lively Q&A session ensued.
It was agreed for all comments to be consolidated and shared with CIRSPE, to enable CIRSPE to finalise the Sector Strategy Report within the next few weeks. It is hoped that the Strategy Report will provide the basis for a road map and pave the way to develop the sector in the short, medium and longer-terms within the province.