‘Hamoun wetland revival will proceed even without UNDP co-op’

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TEHRAN – The head of the Department of Environment (DOE), Ali Salajeqeh, has said the restoration of Hamoun International Wetland will go on even without the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) cooperation.

Salajeqeh made the remarks on the sidelines of a trip to Sistan-Baluchestan Province as he visited the wetland on Tuesday, IRIB reported.

The Hamouns are transboundary wetlands on the Iran-Afghan border made up of three lakes: Hamoun-e Helmand, which is entirely in Iran, Hamoun-e Sabari on the border, and Hamoun-e Puzak, almost entirely inside Afghanistan. The three lakes are linked and fed by water from the Helmand River which starts in the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan.

Hamoun International Wetland, stretching to 570,000 hectares, is considered one of the most important habitats of aquatic and terrestrial migratory birds and has been a shelter for many rare and endangered species for years.

Visiting the wetland, Salajeqeh said, “Hamoun wetland rehabilitation joint project was agreed to be carried out by the Department of Environment and the United Nations Development Program.

However, they refrained from supporting the project due to the sanctions and the project came to a halt. Fortunately, the government is following up on this project seriously now.”

Hamoun wetland

In the last two decades, once fertile wetlands have drastically dried up. The Taliban government closed the sluices to the Kajaki Dam on the Helmand until 2002, which aggravated the impact of the worst drought the region has experienced in many decades, brought about partially by climate change and warming temperatures.

The wetland was home to broad plant and animal diversity and was the main source of the region’s economic viability. However, they have nearly dried up due to climate change, dam construction, and other poor water management practices. This has led to large population migrations and a high unemployment rate.

MOU to revive Hamoun Wetland

In 2020, the DOE and UNDP signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to carry out a joint project for the revival of Hamoun wetland, director of Iran’s wetlands protection project said.

The project was called “Improving the comprehensive management of natural resources for the rehabilitation of the wetland ecosystem and supporting alternative living in local communities in the Hamoun wetlands”.

It aimed to focus on the role and connection of people’s lives on Hamoun wetlands as well as Hamoun’s life on people’s lives and at the same time be able to work on the protection of this wetland along with improving the living standards of the people around it, IRNA quoted Ali Arvahi as saying.

Stating that the project was set to run for five years with European Union financial support, he said that “the project might be an opportunity to pilot new ideas or living patterns in the area, and if the government succeeds, it will be able to expand these pilots on a larger scale.”

The project emphasized that the pressure on Hamoun Wetland’s resources, and in particular on the water resources of these wetlands, should be minimized and at the same time help strengthen the cross-border connection of Hamoun Wetland with Afghanistan to allocate water rights of the wetland, he explained.

MT/MG
 

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