Joining forces to Save Iran’s Drying Wetlands

The future security and wellbeing of humanity is being challenged by a number of things relating to the environment.

The concept of human security equates security with people rather than territory – with development rather than arms. In this sense, our security to have access to food and water, to breathe clean air as well as our security to have jobs are all under threat.

This is simply because the environment is at risk.Here in Iran the story is no different from the rest of the world.From north to south, east to west Iran’s wetlands are drying up at an alarming rate and water scarcity is one of the biggest environmental challenges of the country.

As a result of over-consumption and using traditional agricultural methods, water is being wasted. This man-made problem has a man-made solution.For example, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly with the Government of Iran – at national and provincial level, the Department of Environment, Government of Japan, local communities and NGOs initiated a project in Lake Urmia to re-divert water back to the Lake.

The essence of the solution is to work with farmers to use better and modern techniques which consumes less water – and ultimately saves water. The saved water thus becomes available to refill the lake and increase the ground water levels in the basin. This will probably not restore the lake to the stage that it was in the 1990s. But it can be restored to some level of environmental viability.

To share the lessons learned from this initiative and to potentially expand this project to other parts of the country, a one-day workshop was organized by Iran’s Centre for Strategic Studies led by Dr. Hesamodin Ashna, Advisor to President Rouhani.  The event was attended by governor generals of different provinces and other government officials, NGOs working in the field, farmers, academia and the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Gary Lewis.

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