People, Environment

International Coop. Crucial to Protect Gwadar Ecosystem

International Coop. Crucial to Protect Gwadar EcosystemInternational Coop. Crucial to Protect Gwadar Ecosystem

A proposal for Iran’s cooperation with Pakistan and the regional office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature to protect the ecosystem of Gwadar Bay will soon be finalized.

The plan, which must be reviewed and approved by both Iranian and Pakistani officials, will be implemented as soon as funds from national and international sources are allocated.

It outlines measures to protect the region’s endangered species and improve management of local fisheries to prevent overfishing. Empowering local communities and improving their livelihood are also outlined in the draft.

The plan also aims to help local communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

Located on the maritime border of Iran and Pakistan in the Sea of Oman, half of Gwadar Bay is in Iran while the rest is in Pakistani territory.

The ecosystem, however, “transcends political borders”, said Mohsen Soleymani Rouzbehani, director of the Iranian Wetlands Conservation Project.

“It is not possible to conduct conservation projects in one part of the bay only,” he added, noting that the resources of both countries have to be used to protect Gwadar Bay and its rich ecosystem.

Unsustainable fishing and marine pollution are the main threats to the biodiversity of the Iranian section of Gwadar Bay, which is called Gwatar in Persian.

Also, large areas of mangrove forests are located within Iran’s borders, which are at serious risk due to the lack of water inflow.

The Hara (mangrove) forests of Gwadar Bay are a part of Gando Marine Protected Area and are protected as part of the conservation area.

“Nevertheless, trans-regional cooperation is essential to protecting these valuable plant species,” said Rouzbehani.

Ramsar Convention will also help assist the efforts. Also referred to as the Convention on Wetlands, Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and judicious use of wetlands and their resources.

It is named after the picturesque resort city of Ramsar in northern Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971.