TEHRAN – The Department of Environment (DOE), as one of the pioneers of sustainable development in the country, has always tried to empower women and local communities to help protect wetlands. he said.

Arezoo Ashrafizadeh said that for many years, the DOE has been working to ensure the participation of women and to establish effective links with local communities to protect and revitalize natural reserves.

He noted that in this regard, Marine Environment and Wetland Affairs has set an example for people’s participation in the restoration of Lake Urmia in the form of Iran’s Wetlands Protection Plan.

An important part of these measures, which started in 2013, was focusing on sustainable livelihoods in rural and nomadic areas and “diversification of livelihoods suitable for wetland resources” in two categories: “agricultural activities” and “non-agricultural activities”. .

This project aims to create and develop wetland-friendly livelihoods, reduce pressure on natural resources, establish a sustainable agriculture program for wetlands, build capacity of regional stakeholder networks, engage local communities and manage sustainable agriculture.

In order to protect wetlands, it was planned to use the local capabilities, especially the capabilities of women in 54 villages of the four provinces of West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Fars and Khuzistan. It showed that women and local residents are the most cooperative in protecting the environment and wetlands.

Women and the environment are the beating hearts of countries, but unfortunately they have been neglected for many years, and perhaps now is the best opportunity to make up for the past, given the country’s environmental conditions.

Thus, investing in women’s empowerment is an indirect investment in environmental protection as well as in the education and training of the local population.

Ashrafizade assessed the participation of 76 percent of women in specialized training seminars and 66.5 percent in environmental information seminars held in pilot villages as achievements of the DOE.

The importance of wetlands

Wetlands are invaluable for the myriad benefits or “ecosystem services” they provide to humanity, from freshwater supplies, food and building materials, and biodiversity to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.

However, study after study shows that wetland area and quality continue to decline in most regions of the world. As a result, the ecosystem services that wetlands provide to humans are compromised.

Wetland management is a global issue and the Convention currently counts 172 countries as Contracting Parties and they recognize the value of having an international treaty dedicated to a single ecosystem.

The Ramsar Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. This includes all man-made areas such as lakes and rivers, aquifers, marshes and swamps, wetlands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas, tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs and fishponds, rice paddies. paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental agreement that provides a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

It was adopted in Ramsar, Iran in 1971 and entered into force in 1975. Since then, almost 90% of UN member states from all geographic regions of the world have joined to become “Contracting Parties”.

141 wetlands with an ecological value of more than 3 million hectares have been identified in Iran, of which 25 are wetlands of international importance covering an area of ​​more than 1.4 million hectares (registered under the Ramsar Convention), and four are biosphere reserves. .

About 43 percent of the country’s wetlands have the potential to become sources of sand and dust storms (SDS), DOE official Sedigeh Modarres said.


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