After successful completion of the Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project (CIWP) as a joint initiative between the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran (led by the Department of Environment), Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2013, a scale-up phase started by DoE and UNDP to sustain the achievements of CIWP throughout the country, ensuring that its outcomes are systematically up-scaled both vertically and horizontally throughout the country.
Shortly after this fresh start, and with the financial contribution from the Government of Japan, a new component for “Modelling Local Community Participation in Restoration of Lake Urmia through Establishment of Sustainable Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation” was added to CIWP in 2014.
At national level, CIWP supports development and implementation of Wetlands Integrated Management Plans through inter-sectoral coordination structures for more than 20 Iranian wetlands and has put in place a strong wetlands ecosystem management legislative platform and inter-sectoral administrative structures, supporting the implementation of the ‘’Ecosystem Approach’’, development of Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness Raising (CEPA) Plans for the first pilot site in the country and sharing the CIWP and other wetlands initiatives, knowledge and lessons learnt with the regions of South and Central Asia, as well as promoting local community participation in Lake Urmia restoration through establishment of sustainable agriculture practices and biodiversity conservation at Lake Urmia level. In this special component, there has been a strong focus on capacity building and training as the main tools of development projects with participatory approach. This occurs through different small projects and activities on various areas which strengthen people’s participation and involvement including alternative and sustainable livelihood, micro-credit funds, and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES).
Since its’ start, the project has managed and secured more than USD 6.6 million of investment from international resources and USD 11 million from the Government for the conservation of Iranian wetlands. The project has successfully introduced integrated and participatory ecosystem-based approaches for conservation of Iran’s wetlands while have raised the capacity of more than 500 experts in the Department of Environment and other stakeholder organizations.
Key achievements to date:
- Successfully introduced participatory ecosystem-based approaches for the conservation of Iran’s wetlands now being rolled out in 14 provinces.
- Initial integrated wetland management in three wetlands of international importance has been replicated to 22 new wetlands (totally 25) including Lake Urmia, Lake Parishan, Shadegan, Hamoun, Mighan, Helle, Harraye Minab, Choghakhor, Alagol, Zarivar, Solduz, Gavkhouni, Gharagheshlagh, Ghourigol, Bakhtegan, Nowrouzloo, Kanibarazan, Gwater Bay, Gandoman, Jazmoorian were developed and their implementation started.
- Establishment of online monitoring stations for 4 wetlands in the country (Choghakhor, Kanibarazan, Solduz and Noroozloo) (www.woms.doe.ir).
- Vulnerability Assessment analysis for 24 Ramsar sites
- New tools and mechanisms including ICT, PES, community-led microcredit fund (Mic-Fund), Local Water management Networks (LWMN), Alternative Livelihood (AL), CEPA planning are introduced as complementary elements to conserve and wise use of wetlands in the country
- Modelling the local communities' participation in wetlands restoration through sustainable agriculture in 130 pilot villages aiming at saving water consumption and provision of LU water right which resulted in 30% water saving and 40% saving of chemical inputs (chemical pesticides and herbicides).
Empowerment: Supported the livelihoods and resilience of local communities in wetland areas by promoting sustainable wetland management and introduction of alternative livelihood models as well as training and capacity building of more than 500 individuals from DoE and MoJA staff and 4,000 individuals from related organizations at national, provincial and local level.
Education: Disseminated a large number of technical tools, guidelines and publications to provide technical support for establishment of wetlands conservation and management systems.
Legislation: Prepared Parliament Act on "Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable use of Wetlands Based on the Ecosystem Approach and National Wetland Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (NWCSAP).
Increased awareness: Raised awareness of the need to conserve wetlands. This has been achieved through more than 3,000 newspaper, magazine and website articles, 300 television broadcasts, holding several festivals, workshops and other activities.