Environment – much progress since 2015, but is it enough?Feb 22, 2016
Iran and Iranians are coming to recognize the important of putting the environment at the centre of development planning. The question is whether is happening fast enough.
This was one of the main discussion points today at the 21st National and Regional Conference of the Iranian Society of Environmentalists held at Azad University in Tehran.
Speaking at the event, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis pointed to a number of positive changes in the global and Iranian policy environment since the same event last year.
• At the international level, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015 had agreed a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
• The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including those aimed at tackling climate change by the year 2030 had been put in place.
• In December, the 2015 Paris Agreement committed the governments of the world to reduce emissions and keep global warming "to well below 2 degrees C".
• At the national level, environmental issues are now at the heart of development discussions.
• The proclamation of the Overall Environmental Policies in November last year provided the basis for more environmentally-conscious planning.
• And President Rouhani has called for a low-carbon economy in Iran.
• The UN’s Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) (approved in November 2015) prioritized the environment as one of four pillars.
However, much remains to be done. According to Mr. Lewis: “The community of environmental professionals has a heavy responsibility to take and I am pleased to assure you that the UN stands ready to assist you in this regard.”
Each year, Azad University organizes its “National and Regional Conference of the Iranian Society of Environmentalists”.
This year was the 21st occasion. The event took place today in the presence of government officials, academia, university students, private-sector representatives.
Head of the Environment Department at Azad University, Dr. Majid Abaspour as well as UN officials including Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, UNESCO Representative also participated.
In her remarks, Ms. Laroche noted: “No society can afford to leave anyone aside. Green societies must allow both women and men to contribute to leading and building a more sustainable future. All of us have an important role to play in achieving the sustainable development goals, and NGOs and civil society can play a significant role in raising awareness amongst the general public, promoting good practices, and monitoring the implementation of commitments made by our governments and holding them accountable.”
Following the conference, a center dedicated to UNESCO Tehran on clean and renewable energy was inaugurated at Azad University.