Towards a solution for Iran’s drying wetlands

02 Mar 2014

 


Boats strewn around the dry empty bed of Hamoun Wetlands

Across the arid and semi-arid areas of Iran and West and Central Asia there is unsustainable demand for water (particularly for agriculture).  The management of this demand, combined with the impact of climate change, is creating an environmental crisis in Iran.

The current situations in two wetland systems with international dimensions are of great concern: Lake Uromiyeh and the Hamoun wetlands in Sistan-va-Baluchistan.  These precious sites have already lost their ecosystem functioning with catastrophic implications for biodiversity and economic and social wellbeing for their inhabitants.  Restoration is proving to be extremely challenging.

Under its mandate of Environment and Sustainable Development, UNDP has an ongoing project with Iran’s Department of Environment entitled Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project.


Bleak and austere: a boat lies rusting and stranded in its waterless mooring on the salty flats of Lake Uromiyeh. Shallow water and high salinity may accelerate the death of the lake even sooner than expected.

In line with this an international technical wetlands roundtable has been jointly organized which will take place between 16-18 March in Tehran with the following objectives:

  1. To review the drivers causing the drying of the two specific wetlands and the actions that have so far been undertaken to address these.
  2. To share experience and international best practice approaches for the restoration of two mentioned wetlands.
  3. To recommend a series of steps to the Government of Iran – taking into account known logistical institutional and budgetary limitations, as well as ongoing efforts to reverse wetland destruction – which can then be shaped for implementation.

Among the invitees are national and international experts in the field to help bring back life to Lake Uromiyeh and Hamoun Wetlands.