Recommendations for saving Iranian wetlands

May 5, 2014

  From left to right: Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President and Head of Iran's Department of Environment and Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

Iran’s Department of Environment (DoE) and UNDP jointly launched an expert Report today containing solutions for Iran’s drying wetlands.

In March of this year, and at the request of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran the UNDP Iran Country Office invited a number of eminent international and national experts to share their experiences and solutions to help formulate a set of specific practical recommendations for Lake Urmia and the Hamoun wetlands in Iran.  These solutions were presented today.

The Report which is entitled Towards a solution for Iran’s drying wetlands – conclusions and recommendations offers recommendations for how Iran should manage its wetlands – and associated basin water resources – in the coming decades.  These are years which climate science predicts will be hotter and drier for much of the Middle East, including Iran.

    Iran’s DoE and UNDP jointly published an expert Report containing solutions for Iran’s drying wetlands

The Report analyzes the causes of the drying of these two specific wetlands and urges action to address them.  The Report refers to lessons learnt from other countries in restoring drying wetlands.  Taking into account the known policy, logistical, institutional and budgetary limitations, the Report recommends series of steps to the Government, which can be shaped for quick implementation – in both the short and medium terms.

Speaking at the event today, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Gary Lewis started his remarks by recognizing the powerful partnership that exists between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Nations on a number of development priorities – including environmental conservation.

Referring to the Report itself, he said: “We have prepared a number of responses – some of for the Hamoun wetlands, some for Lake Urmia and some general which are applicable to Iran.  They number 31 in total.  And they include the need to implement a national awareness campaign and develop plans to conserve water.  Alongside this there are recommendations to reform the management of agriculture in Iran as well as build capacity for ecosystem-based management and the wise use of wetlands,” said Mr. Lewis. 

Vice-President and Head of the Department of Environment, Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar also spoke at the event.  “I am extremely pleased about the launch of this report.  This report is the result of a fruitful cooperation between DoE and UNDP.  I believe there is a need for “revolution” and a new approach in dealing with the situation of these drying wetlands.  The recommendations presented in this report guide the responsible authorities towards taking concrete steps to bringing life back to the Hamoun wetlands and Lake Urmia.”

She added: “I must add that local communities have a huge role to play.  Everywhere we have witnessed success, it has been due to the involvement of the local community.  I have no doubt that effective community engagement will result in significant changes in the situation of these wetlands, so I call on people to get involved and play their role.”

At the event, the DoE and the United Nations committed to implementing these recommendations – to the extent that their resources permit – in order to contribute to resolving the problems of Iran’s drying wetlands.  In addition, they jointly urged all relevant national partners – government and non-governmental – as well as the international community and global specialists to join them in this endeavor. 

The report is available in both Farsi and English.


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