Organized jointly by Iran’s Department of Environment (DoE) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the main objectives of the round table will be: to review the drivers causing the drying of the two specific wetlands and the actions that have so far been undertaken to address these, to share experience and international best practice approaches for the restoration of drying wetlands and to recommend a series of steps to the government – taking into account known policy, logistical, institutional and budgetary limitations – which can then be shaped for quick implementation.
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 potentially causing an environmental crisis in Iran, a press release issued by the UN Information Center (UNIC) said on Saturday.
The fate of the Aral Sea is well documented. Similar crises now affect wetlands across the region including in Iran. Two wetland systems with international dimensions are of greatest current concern: Lake Orumiyeh and the Hamoun wetlands in Sistan and Baluchestan. These precious sites have already lost their ecosystem functioning with catastrophic implications for biodiversity and economic and social wellbeing. Restoration is proving to be extremely challenging.
National, regional and global attention to this crisis needs to be intensified greatly – and solutions need to be identified and then implemented. Despite many efforts nationally, there is an urgent need to also share experiences and solutions from the region and beyond. The objective must be to secure an evidence-based set of recommendations, place these before decision-makers as the viable steps for solution and then scale-up national implementation to bolster ongoing efforts. The objective will involve the need for international advocacy, and the harnessing of the support of the global community.
UNDP Iran country office at the request of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has invited eminent international and national experts to share their experiences and solutions, and to help formulate a set of specific practical recommendations for these two drying wetlands in Iran.This could well serve as a basis to addressing the larger issue of conserving other welands in the country.