Ghani, Ebtekar Discuss Hamouns

Ghani, Ebtekar Discuss HamounsGhani, Ebtekar Discuss Hamouns

Head of Department of Environment (DoE) Masoumeh Ebtekar met Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani on April 19, the DoE public relations office announced in a statement, according to IRNA.

Ebtekar and Ghani discussed environmental issues and development of mutual cooperation between the two nations. Ebtekar spoke about dust storms and particulate pollution, which have been challenging regional countries including Iran and Afghanistan. “Iran is ready to cooperate in any capacity to curb the impacts of dust storms,” Ebtekar said.

Signing of memorandums of understanding would enable Iran to assist Afghanistan in environmental affairs; including climate change, preservation of forests and biodiversity, waste management, pesticide management, and protection of water and soil resources.

 Floods, a Major Challenge for Afghanistan

President Ghani announced his country’s readiness to create a general cooperation framework for protection of regional environment. “Considering the toll climate change is taking in Afghanistan, my country is willing to collaborate with Iran to protect and revitalize wetlands.”

Floods and other devastating effects of climate change are among Afghanistan’s major challenges, inflicting damage totaling $1.5 billion. Afghanistan is enthusiastic about starting a study on the phenomenon to find a way to restore the Hamouns, he said, and urged counseling with international organizations and NGOs with experience in the area.

An expert team of representatives from both countries should urgently devise a plan to prevent further destruction of the Hamouns and outline measures that must be taken by each country to revive the water body, Ahmadzai asserted.

Ghani also sought Iran’s help in preservation and revitalization of natural habitats of Herat Province where unsustainable agriculture has caused extensive damage.