People, Environment

Conditions of Wetlands Unsatisfactory

Conditions of Wetlands UnsatisfactoryConditions of Wetlands Unsatisfactory

Wetlands are the most endangered ecosystems, with the global extent of destruction and degradation estimated to be $20 trillion.

This is seven times Iran’s annual budget. However, the figure is thought to be an underestimate and the real cost is most probably higher. In many cases, the cost the society incurs due to wetland loss is very difficult and even impossible to monetize.

Wetlands in Iran have not been immune to this destruction.  Iran possesses over 1,000 wetlands, 24 of which are Ramsar sites and approximately 90 are important wetlands under some kind of protection (either national or international), Mehr News Agency reported.

A Ramsar site is a wetland site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.  The convention is an intergovernmental treaty, enacted in 1975, that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Over the past few decades, given the critical status of wetlands worldwide, including Iran, there have been many restoration and conservation initiatives.

As for Iran, one such initiative has been “Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project”. This important project started in 2005 with the objective of promoting the sustainable use of wetlands to ensure the effectiveness of Iran’s system of wetland and biodiversity conservation.

This was a joint initiative between Iranian government, Global Environment Facility Project and United Nation Development Program.

The first stage of this project, carried out for Lake Urmia, Parishan Lake and Shadegan Wetland, was so successful that the second phase of the Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project has been expanded to all wetlands across Iran.

Fortunately, the second phase has also been hailed as a success with several important achievements, including the introduction of participatory ecosystem-based approaches for the conservation of Iran’s wetlands across 11 provinces, expansion of integrated management to 12 new wetlands, supporting the livelihoods and resilience of local communities by promoting sustainable wetland management.

The preparation of a pre-final parliament act on “Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of Wetlands Based on the Ecosystem Approach”, dissemination of technical tools, guidelines and publications, and promotion of awareness regarding the importance of wetland conservation through more than 2,000 newspaper, magazine and website articles, 200 television broadcasts, festivals and other activities are among other related efforts.

Despite all these accomplishments within a decade, the conditions of wetlands across Iran are far from satisfactory. The conservation efforts must be pursued with better coordination among the public and parties involved.


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