FAO acknowledges contract with JAICA to revitalize Lake Orumiyeh Environment
Tehran, March 9, IRNA – FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran and to the Economic Cooperation Organization Serge Nakouzi on Wednesday acknowledged a contract with Japan International Cooperation Agency to revitalize Lake Orumiyeh.
The plan will be implemented in the context of the Integrated Program for Sustainable Water Resources Management in the Lake Orumiyeh Basin.
Talking to IRNA on the sidelines of a a ceremony to sign the contract, Nakouzi said FAO is already involved in a Technical Cooperation Program project with Iran to address the decline in forests in the Zagros and Caspian regions of the country.
He highlighted the significance of the project for a robust program to deal effectively with the outbreaks of the Oak Dieback and Boxwood Blight diseases that have contributed to the depletion of the forests in the two regions as well as promoting the sustainable management of forests in the country.
He added that FAO has also launched projects in South Khorassan Province and southern part of Kerman Province.
Referring to adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly in New York, Nakouzi underscored that the sustainable management of forests is central to the achievement of a number of SDGs.
According to a press release by the FAO Representation in Iran, the TCP project entitled 'Assistance to Strengthening the Resilience of Zagros Forests to Oak Decline and Caspian Forests to Boxwood Blight and Development of National Forest Monitoring System in the Islamic Republic of Iran' will be implemented from 2016-17.
The project will focus primarily on establishing a proactive national forest monitoring system in order to sustainably manage the Zagros and Caspian forest ecosystems and to contain the outbreaks of the Oak dieback and Boxwood blight.
Oak dieback was reported in Zagros for the first time in 2009, subsequently escalating across the natural oak forests to cover an area of about 1.4 million hectares.
In 2012, Boxwood Blight (or Buxus dieback) was detected in the Caspian forests and, since then, it has substantially spread across the North-West and North-East of Iran.
According to FAO, the infection will leave most of the areas with zero rate of regeneration. A team of specialists fielded by FAO are to recognize the primary causes of the dieback and prescribe remedial treatment accordingly.
FAO looks forward to forging a fruitful collaboration with Japan, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Orumiyeh Lake Restoration Program and national stakeholders to strive towards making tangible strides in rehabilitating the Lake Orumiyeh basin,' Nakouzi told
Nakouzi said, 'It gives me great pleasure to be present this morning at the Embassy of Japan here in Tehran for the signing of the Exchange of Notes between Japan and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in support of the “Integrated Program for Sustainable Water Resources Management in the Lake Orumiyeh Basin'”.
He went on to say that for several decades, Japan has been amongst FAO’s foremost partners in sustainable development programs aimed at securing a world free from hunger and caring for the earth.
The FAO envoy said Japan’s support has been unwavering to the advancement of FAO’s work across the globe, both as one of the major contributors to the Organization’s regular program and extra-budgetary funds as well as a source of valuable expertise in, amongst other fields, sustainable agriculture, fisheries, forestry, water resources management, adaptation to climate change and the conservation of biodiversity.
The Government of Japan’s commitment and engagement in the Organization’s activities addressing the complex challenges of food security and the safeguarding and sustainable management of environmental natural resources and ecosystems, has not only been instrumental but it has also reflected the profound values Japan retains in pursuing an active role to assist nations in protecting the earth’s environment and their respective natural resources, according to FAO representative.
'Today’s event is quite auspicious. It ushers the beginning of a strengthened partnership between Japan, FAO and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in addressing some of these pressing challenges that are presently facing the historic lands of Iran. It marks a concrete step in transforming the existing and longstanding global cooperation between FAO and the Government of Japan on environment protection and sustainable development to a tangible framework of engagement here at the country level in support of Iran and to assist the country in rehabilitating one of the most symbolic natural landmarks - Lake Urmia.'
In another development, Nakouzi said through its generous contribution, Japan will enable FAO to lend its technical expertise, as a multidisciplinary specialized international technical agency, to partner with the Lake Orumiyeh Restoration Program and national stakeholders on an integrated and comprehensive program for the rehabilitation of the lake basin.
'This lake basin has an enormous environmental value and harbors a most unique ecosystem biodiversity and services. It was in view of this that it was registered in 1977 as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Site and was designated as a National Park by the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran. The significance of the lake basin is also in the livelihood of local communities, the over 5 million people that inhabit the area, the contribution that they make to both the local and national economy.'
Nakouzi said given the degradation to which the lands surrounding the basin and the lake itself have succumbed to over the past several years and which have rendered the situation quite critical, the launching of the “Integrated Program” to be funded by Japan is quite timely.
He announced that in the light of the findings of the rapid assessment conducted by FAO experts in February 2015, the “integrated program for Sustainable Water Resources Management in the Lake Orumiyeh Basin” will apply methodologically comprehensive, empirically sound and socio-economically viable measures that are founded on a participatory approach of local communities.
'We are of the firm conviction that to redress the predicament faced in the management of the natural resources of the Orumiyeh Lake area, a more holistic approach would be needed, guided by the requisite technical expertise that define a sustainable solution deriving from a comprehensive intervention on the different dimensions of the this problem.'
He added that FAO for its part will lend its broad and extensive technical expertise in assessing water supply management, quantifying the related demand advising on the management and optimization of the allocation of water resources.
The Organization retains a unique comparative advantage in addressing issues pertaining to the sustainable management of water resources, particularly in this region where the water resources of countries are predominantly used in agriculture, said Nakouzi.
Together with the Orumiyeh Lake Restoration Program and national stakeholders, we shall strive within the framework of the four-year integrated program lifecycle to implement a series of immediate measures needed to address the primary causes of water depletion in the lake itself and in its surrounding basin, said Nakouzi, adding that the activities under this project will commence in April 2016 and will create a unique platform for stakeholder collaboration toward more precise water accounting, enhanced agriculture productivity, more sustainable livelihoods, drought monitoring and warning and capacity building.
He said special emphasis will be given to the inclusion of valuable alternative income-generation scenarios and employment options, cropping system revisions, and value chain improvement for farmers, rural population, and other socio-economic entities, to achieve pre-determine target of water consumption reduction.
'Whilst reiterating our gratitude to the Government of Japan, Ambassador Kobayashi and his team here at the Embassy of Japan, for all their support in making this possible, FAO looks forward to forging a fruitful collaboration with Japan, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Orumiyeh Lake Restoration Program and national stakeholders to strive towards making tangible strides in rehabilitating the Lake Orumiyeh basin, endowing healthier ecosystems and supporting the welfare of the local communities, to secure a brighter future for the basin,' concluded the FAO envoy.