People, Environment

EU, DOE Discuss Multilateral Cooperation

EU, DOE Discuss Multilateral Cooperation  EU, DOE Discuss Multilateral Cooperation

The European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella met with Masoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Department of Environment, in Tehran at the weekend to discuss multilateral cooperation.

Ebtekar said Iran is interested in using Europe’s experience “to develop a green economy” and help put the country on a path to sustainability. For his part, Vella said the EU is “willing to share their plans” to help Iran meet its sustainable development goals, IRNA reported.

The commissioner said in light of opportunities that have emerged following the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and the six major world powers last July, “Iran and the EU can establish multilateral ties with focus on management of protected areas, protection of plant and animal biodiversity, waste management and air, water and soil pollution control.”  

Pointing to the transboundary nature of environmental issues, Ebtekar called on the international community, especially the European Union, to join forces and help find a practical and effective solution to the dust storms.

“Large swaths of the Middle East and North Africa, and even parts of Europe grapple with dust and sand storms, which have dire environmental, social and economic impact,” she said.  

“The EU is committed to implementing solutions to environmental problems across the world, regardless of geographical and political obstacles,” Vella noted.

Ebtekar, who doubles as a vice president, said the EU can help Iran combat domestic and regional environmental problems through the Basel, Stockholm and Ramsar conventions, all of which have representatives in Iran.

“Through the National Environment Fund, we’re helping NGOs and private firms address environmental concerns, and financial support from the international community will no doubt help the fund play a more efficient role in solving problems,” she said.

The fund resumed operation last September after a 10-year hiatus, and it aims to bolster international ties to help Iran tackle its environmental challenges, such as severe water shortage and drought, air pollution, and deforestation as well as dust and sand storms.

Also attending the meeting was Parvin Farshchi, deputy for marine environment at the DOE, who stressed that collaboration must also include protection of the seas and marine life by managing industrial wastewater discharge.