The Designation of the Dena Biosphere Reserve

Jul 7, 2011

Your Excellency Mr. Mohammadizadeh,
Your Excellency Mr. Akbar Nikzad,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m pleased to be here to celebrate with you the registration of Dena area as the 10th Biosphere Reserve of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I would like to congratulate the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly the local authorities and stakeholders, as well as my colleagues at UNESCO for this major achievement.

Today’s event has taken us to another milestone towards the conservation and sustainable use of the environment and biodiversity resources in Central Zagros; an area that is important, not only from a national and global environmental point of view, but also because of its prime role in I. R. Iran’s national development, and an area that, at the same time, is highly fragile to the natural and man-made risks that are threatening its sustainable development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today’s celebration is not just to give a new name given to a new place. With the designation of this place as a MAB site come new responsibilities for all stakeholders who are indeed committing themselves to harmonized development of this area, and in a sense, the whole Zagros region around the central theme of Environment.

This designation attracts further international attention to the region and provides a legal basis for the much needed paradigm shift to collaborative management and sustainable use of ecosystems and biodiversity: an approach that ensure full participation of all partners, first and foremost the local peoples and communities, the management and monitoring of environmental resources in the area. I am glad to note that this MAB area falls within the project site of “the Conservation of Biodiversity in Central Zagros” project, a joint initiative of the Government of Iran, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility aiming towards the “mainstreaming” of biodiversity into development sectors and landscapes in Central Zagros. I am confident that the plan of action for the management of this MAB site will benefit from, and add to the efforts of the aforesaid project that has been ongoing with ebb and flow since 2006.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In a rapidly changing world with a steady increase in the demand for resources, sustainable management of the environment  is an  absolutely essential, but extremely challenging task to undertake. In this sense, “sustainability” means to help the current generation meet its needs without compromising those of the future generation as charted in the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.

The progress towards MDGs, particularly in the area of the environment, has been challenging and uneven.  The global and local threats to the environment and natural resources are real and the shift to sustainable development is now more urgent than ever before. I am glad to note that the national development planning system, as reflected in the 5th National Development Plan 2011-2015, gives due attention to this need. However, there is a long way from charting good plans to translating the plans into action on the ground.This is where the concerted efforts of all parties is required and where the whole UN system in Iran stands ready to cooperate.

Within the context of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and in line with the Country Programmes of individual UN agencies, the UN system in the I. R. Iran will continue to support the nationally driven development efforts in the field of environment. This cooperation spans over a wide range of projects being implemented by the Department of Environment and other national partner organizations and institutions. With the design of the new UNDAF 2012-2016, I am confident that this cooperation will grow wider in its scope and extent.

Before I conclude, I would like to thank the organizers of this event for having me here and wish you all a happy gathering in the beautiful Dena.

Thank you

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