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سازمان ملل متحد در ایران
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24 Dec 2017 - Happy New Year from the UN family in Iran

  • Published in Other

A fresh new year is once again upon us. It’s the time to be thankful for the blessings of the past year and to take stock of all our achievements. At the same time, New Year 2018 is a brand new year to start afresh and strong.

We at the UN Iran family in Iran wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come. 





Remarks at the opening ceremony of GARD workshop at Mehrabad International Airport

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Salam vasobhbekheir,

Khanoom-ha vaaghayan,

Hamantorkeshayadmidanid, esme man Gary Lewis hast va man darsazman-e melaldar Iran karmikonam.

Dar in rooz-e khaas, man kheilikhosh-halamazinjaamadanvaazdidar-e shoma.

Hala, baozrkhaheeshoma, man mikhahamchandkalam-e bashomasohbatkonam, be Englisi.

Kheili mamnoon.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to start this morning – as I have done in every single speech I have made in the past almost two weeks – by extending sincere condolences – tasliyatarzmikonim – on behalf of the United Nations for those who have lost family members in the tragedy that struck us two weeks ago in the west of this country.

I would like to also wish a speedy recovery to those who are injured and are recovering from their wounds.

And I would like to praise the work of the first responders – both on the ground in Kermanshah and those who came from elsewhere in the country to help.

We – in the United Nations – pledge our continued commitment to support in the recovery phase that is needed at this time.

Now, I have indicated that I am very happy to be here this morning, and I would like to share a few thoughts with you at seeing so many other leaders of this country, and of this city, here with us today.

I would like to welcome, Mr. Najjar, who is a very good partner with the United Nations.  He is Deputy Minister of Interior and the Head of the National Disaster Management Organization.

I would like to say how pleased I am to see Dr. Kashan here with us, Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development.

Mr. Mahabadi, the Head of Iran Airports, who led us off this morning with reflections on how we can make ourselves resilient to earthquakes.

I would also like to recognize Ms. Sharafbafi who is the CEO of Iran Air Company and is also the first female CEO of Iran Air.

I recognize Dr. Darabi of DHL who explained to us how private-sector and the corporate and Government world can work together.

General Mehri, General Hashemi from the security services, who are important role-players in responding to natural disasters, we welcome you as well.

Just under two-weeks ago, I was sitting in our home in Tehran with my wife and I heard something fall over.  I wondered what it was, and I thought someone was trying to enter our house without permission.  I got up and I lookedaround.  I saw that some objects had fallen over.  I also saw some curtains moving.  I still did not understand it as there was no one in our house besides my wife and me. 

Two minutes later I received a call from a member of my team explaining that there had been a large earthquake that had hit Iran.

Two minutes later I received another call.  More information.  People in Kermanshah and nearby had been affected by a massive earthquake.

As time passed, we would come to learn more and more horrific details. 

In Sarpol-e Zahaband Salas-e Babajani regions of Kermanshah the news started to come in about this 7.3 magnitude earthquake.

Eventually we would learn that there are over 450 people killed and 9,000 injured.  2,000 cities, villages, towns have been affected in some way.  90,000 people needing shelter.

We have all seen this on television and on social media. 

And yesterday, I saw it for myself with the team that went from the United Nations in Tehran to help with the recovery phase of the emergency.

Six hours ago, I landed here in Mehrabad Airport.  I was returning from that disaster zone.  For those of you who have not been in the affected areas, I can tell you that it was a very moving experience.  And, I would like to extend, again, my personal admiration and respect for those Iranians who went to help.

Many people have been praised, but I would like to add my voice to recognize the role of Artesh (Iranian Army), the Helal Ahmar (the Iranian Red Crescent Society), the Sepah (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), as well as the National Disaster Management Organization for responding.

But, I would like to point specifically to the words of Mr. Kashan who spoke about the role of the people of Iran in responding – without even being requested to do so by any authority.  There were convoys of cars bringing food, clothing, blankets and other support. 

I have worked in the United Nations for over 30-years and in many countries.  I can tell you that this sort of response by the Iranian people is not something that you see everyday.  And I think you should take great pride, as a nation, in how your citizens responded as well as your Government to this crisis.

So, now we are the stage where we are trying to recover.  And, the voice of the UN and what modest things we can provide as support will be placed at your disposal.

But, the purpose of today’s gathering – at which I am so happy to see so many of you – is different. 

We are here to talk about what happened between now and the 13 days that proceeded us.  Because that is the emergency phase.  And that is when we need three things to be effective:

  1. The first is leadership.
  2. The second is communications.
  3. The third is logistical efficiency.

All of those things are brought together if we have an effective airport system.  I was listening very carefully to Mr. Seidi’s story a few moments ago about what happened 14 years ago in Bam.  And, I was pleased when I was in Kermanshah, yesterday, to meet many people who had been engaged in the Bam earthquake relief operation and who said that we have learnt so much as a country in those 14 years that we could apply it more effectively to the Kermanshah earthquake. 

Especially, regarding how we manage our airports. 

Yesterday, during my conversation with the Governor of Kermanshah, Mr. Bazvand, I learned the following things.  I learned that in the 13 days since the earthquake struck, there have been:

  • 907 flights into Kermanshah Airport. One of them – I should use the opportunity to say – was from the United Nations where we brought in 40 metric tons of surgical supplies and trauma kits, at the request of the national authorities.  But, those 40 tons where a small part of the massive 1,300 tons of equipment and supplies that came in through that airport.
  • The effective management of that airport was also responsible for the fact that within the first 24 hours, 200 citizens of the region that needed to be medevac to Tehran were carried out effectively.

These facts that I am sharing with you should make it quite clear that management of airports is absolutely central to an emergency response.

And believe me ladies and gentlemen, we need it because here in Iran, we are one of the countries that are most greatly exposed to natural disasters of any country on the planet.

We know about the damage of earthquakes.  But, as a result of climate change we will see increasing incidences of droughts and floods as well as drought.  And that is why we need to be more prepared.

Now, this initiative which, in English, is called GARD which stands for Get Airports Ready for Disasters, is something that has a very interesting story behind it which I will come back to shortly. 

But, it is essentially the result a partnership between Deutsche Post DHL Group, the UNDP and UN-OCHA, and here in Iran with Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company.

I would like to at this point in the meeting to ask you to join me in welcoming to the Islamic Republic of Iran, three DHL support team members who will do the training this week, and they will be joined by another gentleman tomorrow.

I would like to take this opportunity to also thank my team from UNDP and OCHA for making this event possible. 

I would also like to thank three gentlemen from Mehrabad Airport who were essential in making this happen in Iran:

  • Golich
  • Ejtehadi
  • Rostami

The combination of all of this talent is going to make this event a major success, I am sure.  So, please join me in welcoming and thanking these colleagues who did the work to get this all together.


I would like to conclude by saying the following things.

In a very strange way, GARD is coming home.  As of today, GARD has been delivered and has provided training in over 20 counties and in over 43 airports.  About 1,000 people have received this training.  But, not many people know that the actual content of the training was derived from lessons learned in Bam, 14 years ago, here in Iran.  And that is the reason I said earlier that GARD is actually coming home for the very first time, today.

There is a second thing.  Many of you may not know, but the two of the most important people who were involved in managing the airlift into Kermanshah, over the past two weeks, were also involved in the Bam earthquake and were responsible for managing the airports in Kerman and Bam, 14 years ago.  These are Mr. Bayati and Mr. Shorafaie, and I understand that they are actually with us in the audience today.  Please stand up and be recognized.


The third point I want to make, connecting GARD to Kermanshah is this.  Last night, at 9 o’clock when I was saying goodbye to the Deputy Governor, Mr. Nik Kerdar in Kermanshah, we said that we were coming back today to Tehran to open the GARD workshop.  He immediately realized how important this type of event was.  And, he said that for the refresher course that needs to take place in Iran next year, Kermanshah Airport will volunteer to be the location for that refresher course.  This is great news and we look forward to not only to this year’s training, but also to next year’s in Kermanshah.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to conclude my remarks today by recalling some of the most of the beautiful lines written by Mr. Ferdowsi in the Shahnameh. 

We can have all the strength in the world that we may possess, but unless we have knowledge, we will not be able to maximize the impact of that strength. 

So, I would like to end by trying – in my poor Farsi – to share with you, a couple of lines that reflects the essence of what we are trying to do today.

توانا بود هر که دانا بود

That means, for our foreign visitors that knowledge will make you stronger.  But, it ends with another line which says that knowledge also makes you younger and makes you think like someone that is a little bit more energetic.

ز دانش دل پير برنا بود

Let us be guided by this timeless knowledge as we search to protect ourselves from disasters that may yet befall us.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.



آبان 96 - پیام هماهنگ کننده مقیم سازمان ملل متحد در ایران برای زلزله شب گذشته

سلام و تسلیت عرض می کنم به مردم ایران

اسم من گری لوییس است و من به عنوان هماهنگ کننده مقیم سازمان ملل متحد در جمهوری اسلامی ایران فعالیت می کنم. 

از دیشب و زمانی که زلزله در مرزهای غربی ایران اتفاق افتاد، با قلبی پُر اندوه، تعداد کشته شدگان و زخمی ها را دنبال می کنیم.

هدف از این پیام، عرض تسلیت از طرف خانواده سازمان ملل متحد به دولت و مردم ایران، خصوصا خانواده های داغ دیده است.

برای زخمی ها آرزوی بهبود هر‌چه سریع تر‌ را داریم.

همچنین می خواهیم از امدادرسانان شجاع، متعهد و پر توان تشکر کنیم.

من به مقامات دولتی هم اعلام کردم که در صورت نیاز سازمان ملل آماده هرگونه همکاری است.

با آرزوی بهترین ها برای همه.




Remarks on the occasion of UN 72 anniversary

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 Your Excellency, Dr. Araghchi, Deputy Foreign Minister,

Distinguished Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Our partners from across Iran in development and humanitarian work,

Friends of the United Nations,

Colleagues in the United Nations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to join my colleague Ms. Neda Mobara in welcoming you all here – very warmly – to our special UN Day celebration.

This is the fifth UN Day that I have had the privilege of celebrating here in Iran with our friends and partners.  And I am always delighted to see how many of you have made the effort to come to share our special day with us.

It will be my pleasure to do two main things today. 

The first is to share with you – as I always do – the reflections of our Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres on UN Day which – though officially held on 24 October – we have decided, together with our partners in MFA, to celebrate today.

Here is his message for this year.


And now, to my second task this morning. 

Which is – with your permission – to spend a few minutes reflecting on the work of the UN family here in Iran.

Reversing the natural order, I will first focus on the present and future. 

And then I will share a few thoughts on the past.

Regarding the present and future, as you may know, the UN has been tasked – by all its Member States – to assist the Governments of the world – to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Here in Iran, in order to support this objective, the UN’s top priority – in the area of development – is to support the Government to successfully implement the National Development Plan which has been approved by the Majlis and is already well-underway through thousands of different actions all across this broad and dynamic land.

We believe that if the National Development Plan is effectively implemented, this will inevitably translate into:

  • Eradicating poverty,
  • Improving public health,
  • Fighting inequality,
  • Building an inclusive and resilient society, and
  • Helping Iran to contribute to protecting our planet’s environment and thus the well-being of future generations – both within Iran and abroad.

And so, in this way, Iran will make its own contribution to attaining the SDGs.

The framework through which our UN development work operates is our – jointly agreed – UN Development Assistance Framework – or UNDAF. 

Our UNDAF for the current period 2017-2021 was signed into life, in the presence of Dr. Araghchi. 

It is has already recorded almost one full year of work.

And, looking ahead, for the 5-year period between 2017 and 2021, we will focus – as agreed with the national authorities – on four pillars.  These are:

  1. The Environment
  2. Health
  3. A Resilient Economy, and
  4. Drug Control

But UN Day also allows us an opportunity to thank our partners – many of whom are here in this room today – the Government, our development partners, our civil society and private sector partners, and of course our friends in the media – for the close and enduring collaboration we enjoy.

This partnership extends beyond the realm of development work and also embraces the UN’s humanitarian work in Iran. 

And I would like to recognize the work of our partners who help us to render support to the many refugees who have sought protection within the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran – and provide them with health, education, livelihood – and the hope of a better future.


So, the future of our partnership looks solid.  

It looks effective.   

In the year 2017 – we started our new UNDAF. 

But, while we look to the future, let us also seek to recognize the accomplishments of the past and learn the important lessons they offer.

In a sense, therefore, before we turn the page, let us read it first.

So it now gives me great pleasure to share with you a tribute to the many development collaborations we forged – during the years 2012-2016. 

This morning I would like you to join me in a visual tour of all our development work during that 5-year period.

Following this, I would then like to invite my distinguished colleague – and my friend – Dr. Abbas Araghchi, to help us launch the UN’s End-of-Cycle UNDAF report covering this period of time.

I would then like to ask you to allow me to conclude with a few remarks of my own. 

Gentlemen, please play the film.



So, I hope you now have a better sense of both what the UN in Iran has done. 

And what the UN in Iran will continue to do in support of our Member State. 

Now please let me say a few words about the wonderful team which makes all of this happen.

I am speaking of the over-400 staff and personnel of the UN in Iran.  These colleagues work – day in and day out – to help contribute to a situation where Iranians live safer, healthier, and more empowered lives.

Many of these colleagues are here with us in the hall this morning.

These hard-working women and men – 90 per cent of whom are Iranians – joined the United Nations with a vision to make the world a better place.

And they are living this dream.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would ask that before you leave our event today, please take a little time to engage with our UN team members in conversation. 

Ask us about what we do – about our thoughts and dreams.  We will have plenty tell you.

To my UN colleagues, I say this.

Thank you – most sincerely – for your dedication, and your commitment, to our noble goals of:

  • peace,
  • justice,
  • human rights and
  • development

As I have done every year since coming to Iran, I would also like to extend – through you – to your family members and loved ones – my sincerest appreciation.

Please thank them:

  • For understanding the long hours of work which you put in.

And please thank them:

  • For forgiving us the family occasions we miss through our dedication to making our operations successful.

Our families are also very much part of the extended UN family in Iran. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me now in giving a round of applause to our UN colleagues – and their family members – here in Iran.


And now, I would like to end on a personal note. 

I started my remarks this morning by saying that this is the fifth time I have had the privilege to preside – on the UN side – over this august gathering of partners, friends and well-wishers of the UN.

Sadly, this year will also be my last.

In a few short weeks, my full 5-year term as UN Resident Coordinator and head of UNDP, having started in mid-February 2013, will come to an end.

These coming weeks will permit me to make preparations for the inevitable transition for a successor to take my place. 

So, it is perhaps a little early for goodbyes. 

But this day – UN Day – fills my heart with pride at seeing so many of you who have come to share our special day with us.

As so many of you have faithfully done in years past. 

And, with you all present, I would like to thank you – with all my heart – for your support.

More than this, I would like you to know that serving the UN in the Islamic Republic of Iran has – to date – been the richest professional experience of my life. 

It will certainly be difficult to exceed this experience. 

But I will try. 

My future with the UN is likely to involve an effort to place all that I have learnt – over 3 decades – and across all continents of this planet – at the disposal of my organization to secure a goal towards which I have long aspired.

  • Contributing to the UN’s effort to help protect our fragile, endangered planet.

But, wherever I go, Iran – Persia – will always stay with me.

Please allow me to share with you but a handful of the vivid, intoxicating images which will forever stay with me.

  • The cool of the evening in the desert town of Kashan, with the sound of the azan rising as the sun sets.
  • The reassuring sight of the powerful, jagged twin rows of sandstone desert mountains guarding me on either side as I mark my progress home on the road from Kerman.
  • The seductive sound of the sitar, one warm evening, mingling with the breeze as we listen to Hafez with the wind blowing playfully in the curtains.
  • Becoming respectfully lost in the still, Friday-morning silence at Behesht-e Zahra as mothers and daughters move about, lamenting the death of men – my age – who were lost, a generation-and-a-half earlier, in an imposed conflict which came to define this nation.
  • Listening to the pleas for help from those who dwell, in peril, from a lack of water – in both Urmia and the Hamouns – and later, with the support of many others, trying to find solutions for their plight.
  • Watching the dawn of another day slowly bring its torrid energy down upon the ancient city of Shiraz, only to see the inhabitants absorb and then adapt this energy to their own civilized pace for living.
  • Contemplating, at the foot of the Nakhsh-e Rostam – one of my favourite places in all of Iran – the far-off days when those who ruled in Persepolis commanded the affairs of vast swathes across the known world.
  • Reflecting upon what the first of these Achaemenid rulers – your great leader Kourosh – has given to the world in terms of code to live by. A code which was just, civilized and tolerant.  An inspiration for others to try to follow.
  • Getting to know friends at the Tehran Peace Museum who opened their warm hearts to my wife and me. These men and women let us see both the despair of daily life for chemical weapons survivors, and the exalting ability of these very same individuals to smile and tolerate the shallow preoccupations and complaints of we who will never experience a fraction of their grief.
  • And, finally, reflecting, with Khanume Elizabeth, the lady who has accompanied me on a sojourn of 35 years, on the meaning of it all, as we enjoyed countless orange sunsets reflect off the silent and majestic Alborz Mountains – across five deep winters – from our home in Tehran.

So, friends, I end these reflections – and hope you will indulge me – as I recite a few words – in my poor Farsi – which will stay with me whenever I think of the five years Elizabeth and I have spent as welcomed guests in your rich, enchanting land.

از جان طمع بریدن آسان بود لیکن 

از دوستان جانی مشکل توان بردین

My friends, thank you all – so much – for coming, this morning, to support us.

Sepass gozarim.


7 Nov 2017 - UN Iran releases a video clip on UN-Iran partnership

  • Published in Other

Click here to watch the full clip on Aparat.

On the occasion of the United Nations 72nd anniversary and the launch of the UN Development Assistance Framework End-of-Cycle Progress Report (2012-2016), UN Iran released a video clip on the United Nations and the Government of Iran’s partnership.

Click here to watch the full clip on Aparat.



7 Oct 2017 - UN Iran releases UNDAF Progress Report 2012-2016

  • Published in Other

Click here to download the UNDAF Progress Report 2012-2016 in English.

Click here to download the UNDAF Progress Report 2012-2016 in Farsi.

The UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) End-of-Cycle Progress Report 2012-2016 was launched today on the occasion of UN Day 2017.

The event was commemorated in Tehran at the National Library in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Seyed Abbas Araghchi, government counterparts, members of the diplomatic corps, the media, members of the UN family in Iran including UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis.

The UNDAF is a strategic, medium term results framework that describes the collective vision and response of the UN system to national development priorities and results on the basis of normative programming principles. 

Click here to download the UNDAF Progress Report 2012-2016 in English.

Click here to download the UNDAF Progress Report 2012-2016 in Farsi.



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