Statement at the national Tree planting ceremony


7 March 2016
Tehran, Iran

Serge Nakouzi
UN Resident Coordinator a.i.

Dr Qalibaf, Mayor of Tehran,
Distinguished Representatives,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives immense pleasure to be here this morning  to extend, on behalf of the United Nations family in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is well-represented by my esteemed colleagues present  at this  event,  our profound recognition and appreciation to the Municipality of Tehran for having  organized this tree planting ceremony.
In participating in the symbolic ritual of bestowing  trees back to nature, we are afforded an occasion to reflect upon the significance of the role of trees and forests in our lives, in promoting sustainable development and, by doing so, in safeguarding the future of the planet upon which we live for the generations to come.   
The impacts of the world population growth, urbanization, consumption patterns and climate change are manifest in the widespread degradation of land and natural resources and also in ever-increasing poverty. Trees can help solve these problems because of their ability to restore degraded ecosystems, produce food and medicine, and provide environmental and economic benefits.
Trees and Forests have a significant role in reducing the risk of natural disasters, including floods, droughts, landslides and other extreme events. At global level, forests mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air and protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.
Investing in forests and forestry represent an investment in people and their livelihoods, especially the rural poor, youth and women. Around 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures - depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.
Trees outside forests (TOFs) will have an increasing role in reducing degradation and poverty and will assist in sustainable development.
Experts estimate that some 200 million hectares of new trees must be planted during the next ten years if developing countries are to meet their people's needs for tree products.  Much of the work must be done by the rural people themselves. Social forestry which involves the local people in growing trees for their own use, is a critical factor in the lives of most rural people today.  
To address these challenges, we have to strive to ensure the successful implementation of sustainable programmes for the development of communities, trees and the environment in which people live.
Therefore, the future of forests and forestry in sustainable development at all levels was at the core of the XIV World Forestry, hosted in Durban from 7 to 11 September 2015. The Durban Declaration called for new partnerships among forest, agriculture, finance, energy, water and other sectors, as well the engagement with indigenous people and local community.
The importance of investing in world’s forests and of taking “political commitment at the highest levels, smart policies, effective law enforcement, innovative partnerships and funding” was also recalled by the UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon in his Message on the occasion of the 2015 International Day of Forests.
In light of these reasons, and more, saving trees and forests are an integral part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which came in to effect 1st of January 2016.  Sustainable Development Goal 15 aims to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”.
This global goal will assist UN member states, including Iran, in guiding  decisions  regarding this invaluable natural resource  over the next fifteen years  and to retain our focus on the environment and the need to think and act “green”.
This tree planting ceremony portrays the effort and the commitment  of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in recognizing the need to be green and in safeguarding the country’s biodiversity as well as the natural resources of its environment.
The timing of this event – in my opinion – could not have been more perfect.  I am referring to Nowruz being just around the corner.  
Celebrating Nowruz means the affirmation of life in harmony with nature, awareness of the inseparable link between constructive labour and natural cycles of renewal and a solicitous and respectful attitude towards natural sources of life.  
I would like to thank once again the organizers and also wish to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you – on behalf of the United Nations – joy, peace, prosperity, friendship and harmony with nature.
Har roozetan Nowruz – Nowruzetan Pirooz!   Thank you.


Statement at the 29th International Khwarizmi Award

29th International Khwarizmi Awardfao logo125
March 2016

Statement by Mr Serge Nakouzi
FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran
and to the Economic Cooperation Organization

Tehran, 7 March 2016

It is a great pleasure for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to be present and address the 29th International Award organized by the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran. The significance of this award which is bestowed every year in memory of Abu Jafar Mohammad Ibn Mousa Khwarizmi, the great Iranian Mathematician and Astronomer (770-840 C.E) should not be under-estimated particularly in raising awareness of the outstanding achievements being attained by Iran and Iranians in the field of Science and Technology.
During the past 50 years, ideas about how to achieve “sustainable development” have matured from concepts to reality. Today, in the field of agriculture and rural development we have at our disposal advanced methodologies and technologies, that aims to secure intensive  as well as highly productive and efficient agriculture, in practice and on real farms whilst concurrently enhance ecosystem services without “tradeoffs” or  unavoidable damages”.
The application of these approaches unfolds opportunities for farmers to receive payments not only for their produce, but also for rendering ecosystem services, which safeguard natural resources and could comprise for example, the sequestration of carbon in the soils or the provision of clean water, or the use of  healthy and biologically active soils as a medium for strengthening ecosystem functions.
At present the production of bioenergy and its usage has demonstrated impact on the local environment as well as human health and quality of life. The current patterns of biomass use prevailing in many households in the world are the cause of human drudgery in the process of collection of wood, and of a large incidence of lung illnesses due to the smoke, especially in children and women. Therefore the "upgrading" of the forms of production and use of these resources is an urgent matter. Fuel saving stoves, biogas digesters and other decentralized systems offer excellent opportunities in this respect.
At the global level, the production of biomass-derived energy has the potential to have both positive and negative effects on all of the three major environmental issues being faced today, namely, land degradation, climate change and loss of biodiversity. The extensive and increasing areas of degraded lands provide an opportunity for woody biomass species to be used economically for their rehabilitation. Whilst some of this land may have initially been degraded through the mining of indigenous wood resources often to supply urban charcoal markets, the establishment of multi-purpose bioenergy plantations can be a sustainable means of returning this land to productive use. Management strategies and policies required to provide the incentives for rehabilitation require resources to ensure future modes of land use are sustainable.
It is now the eighth consequent year that the Khwarizmi Award receives support and endorsement from FAO. This esteemed cooperation will continue since the concept of bringing together the wills and passions of individual research workers from the world and the sharing of science and innovation conforms FAO’s principal mandates of information and knowledge sharing in the quest of bridging gaps and embedding sustainable development.  
Whilst extending our congratulations to the winners of the Award, on behalf of FAO and on my own behalf, I would like to also take this opportunity to thank the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology for their endeavours to organize this event, and raise awareness of the significant accomplishments being attained by the Islamic Republic of Iran and by individual Iranians in the field of Science and Technology.


Statement at National Water Day

National Water Day

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA)

Statement by Mr Serge Nakouzi
FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran
and to the Economic Cooperation Organization

Tehran, 2 March 2016

Mr President,
Distinguished colleagues and guests,
Ladies, and Gentlemen,

Today, on the occasion of the first commemoration of the National Water Day leading up to the International Water Day to be commemorated on 22 March, it gives me great pleasure to be addressing this assembly at the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

FAO and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran have a longstanding collaboration that spans over several decades aimed at ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources in the country. Whilst there are many success stories of such cooperation, the existing collaboration is progressively being strengthened to address in a more effective and sustainable manner the ecological challenges being faced in safeguarding the diminishing natural resources in the light of the increasingly complex environmental issues that are confronting only the nation but also the region as a whole.  

At the very heart of these challenges is the issue of water scarcity and the need for enhanced approaches to optimise water resources management and governance. Demographic growth, the drive towards increasing food self-sufficiency, urbanization, socio-economic development, compounded by the adverse impacts of climate change and the considerable degradation of water quality are among the major drivers behind the ongoing water scarcity in the Middle East region. Based on the projections published by the “World Resources Institute”, half of the countries in the region are expected to face extremely high water stress by 2040.

In this context, it is noteworthy to recall that currently agriculture uses about 70% of all fresh water withdrawals globally and up to 95% in several developing countries. Particularly in the Near East and North Africa Region (NENA), which is already naturally exposed to chronic shortage of water, countries need to cope with one of their most striking challenges: the pursuit of food and water security for sustainable social and economic development, under an unprecedented severe escalation of water scarcity. An alarming trend observed over the last decades shows that the NENA Region is experiencing more frequent, intense and long droughts. Productivity of agricultural systems is threatened along with increase of land degradation and desertification, augmented severity of sand storms and overall decline of livelihood. Drought impact might be disruptive without putting in place timely and proper mitigation measures at local, national and regional scales.

It is therefore of paramount relevance that countries strategically plan their water resources allocation and review their water, food-security and energy policies to account for the impact of climate change (particularly its extreme events) and to ensure their alignment with the imperative of making the best use of each single drop of water. Moreover, risk reduction of drought and other climate-related hazards need to be addressed and ‘Drought Management’ measures need to be incorporated at policy and institutional levels.

As we all are aware, Iran itself has been experiencing major water challenges that have turned water security into a national priority at the moment. Population growth, climate change, increasing demand, and declining supply are among the factors increasingly adding pressure on water resources in the country. Water scarcity is not a new phenomenon in Iran. With an average annual precipitation of 257 mm (namely less than one-third of the average annual precipitation at the global level) and temperatures in the arid and semi-arid region within which the country is located averaging 17 ˚C, Iran is considered as being "water stressed" since the amount of available annual Renewable Water /Resources (RWR) per person (i.e. the measurement used by experts to determine water availability) has dropped to one third of the world’s average in the past 15 years.  

To address this challenges, FAO, as a Specialized technical agency, launched in 2013 the “Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity” (WSI), providing as a first output the Regional Collaborative Strategy on Sustainable Agricultural Water Management in the Near East and North Africa Region. The Regional Collaborative Strategy represents a framework to assist countries in identifying and streamlining policies, governance, investments and practices that can sustainably improve agricultural productivity and food security in the region.  I am pleased to announce that as of 2016, Iran has become one of the focus countries of the Regional Initiative.

In order to implement the Regional Collaborative Strategy and to accelerate the adoption of Agricultural Water Management solutions in the NENA Region, FAO developed a Regional Collaborative Platform which leverages on other existing Regional and International initiatives (such as DWFI Global Yield Gap Atlas, UNESCO-IHE Water Accounting), projects and partnerships (for example, with ICBA, AWC, ICARDA, National Centers of Excellence) to accelerate delivery of results.

Strategic partnerships provide vital means to complement FAO’s technical capabilities in gathering and developing of state-of the-art information and data to provide the evidence-base supporting water resources management, policy-making and decision-making processes. This is considered a major advance in the NENA Region for quantitative benchmarking, monitoring and targets setting of pertinent output and outcome indicators (including those related to the Sustainable Development Goals).

Another significant dimension of the strategic partnership in addressing the fundamental challenge of water scarcity is mobilising a broad spectrum of key stakeholders. We all recognise that water is a key element of life for everyone.  But the necessity of water is not merely a social or environmental issue or even solely one of human survival, it is also an economic issue. Investment in effective water resources management is critical for further enhancing agricultural and rural as well as the empowerment of local communities. The optimal utilisation of natural resources is crucial in reinforcing local and national economies. It is from this perspective that the Public-Private Sector partnership is advocated as central pillar to the strategic partnership with the broader spectrum of stakeholders. By having governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector work together, we would be able to devise participatory and innovative policy, governance and management options for the sustainable use of water scarce resources.

Our vision here in Iran is to transform our role to be able to assist the government to achieve sustainable food security and realize enhanced agricultural productivity whilst effectively tackling the water scarcity challenges and safeguarding the country’s natural resources.  We aim to do this through the implementation of a national integrated strategic programme for sustainable water governance in Iran which advocates inter-linkages between water, food- energy, and climate sectors through a nexus approach. The private sector has a key role to play in this endeavour. I trust that the Iran Chamber of Commerce and FAO can continue to forge a closer collaboration to attain this goal.

Thank you.


Statement at Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance

Opening Remarks  fao logo125

Mr. Serge Nakouzi
FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran and
to the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO),

Technical Workshop
Awareness Raising on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests
in the Context of National Food Security

Sunday 21 February 2016  

Tehran, Iran

Respected ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations I am delighted to welcome you to the first national workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security in Iran.
For billions of people in the world, their food security depends on secure and predictable access to resources such as land, forests and fisheries. Without secure access to land and other natural resources, people can be forced to live a life of hunger and poverty. In contrast, secure tenure rights may help vulnerable families to produce food for their consumption, and to increase their income by producing a surplus for sale in markets, and they act as a valuable safety net in times of hardship. However, tenure security often depends on the governance of tenure.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
All around the world pressure on these resources is increasing as areas are sought for cultivation, are occupied by urban expansion and as people abandon areas because of degradation, climate change and conflicts.
Improved governance of tenure is essential for food security and poverty eradication, responsible investment and environmental sustainability.
It is against this backdrop that the international community saw the need to develop a global consensus on universally applicable standards for the recognition and protection of tenure rights. Guidelines that can serve as a reference to all stakeholders. Guidelines that provide a framework that can be used when developing strategies, policies, legislation and programmes within countries. Guidelines that allow citizens to judge whether proposed actions constitute acceptable practices.
When these Guidelines were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in May, 2012 after a period of 2 years of consultation and 2 years of intergovernmental negotiations, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization called it a historic moment. Since then, their implementation has been encouraged by the UN General Assembly, Rio+20 Declaration, G8, G20, and the l’Assemblee Parlemantaire de la Francophonie.  
Implementation of the Guidelines is one of FAO’s priority areas and as such FAO’s global programme includes extensive global awareness and capacity building elements and, so far, response to 26 country requests for support. FAO provides a neutral platform for all stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the Guidelines, collectively identifying entry points supporting implementation, and monitoring progress. The Organization is supporting various technical activities in 11 countries ranging from empowering communities and citizens to identify and document their rights using open source software (Uganda and Cambodia) to mediating between forestry companies and indigenous communities in Chile and supporting IT systems in land administration in Russia. FAO also develops and provides VGGT technical guides, e-learning and targeted learning programmes.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been very active in the drafting and negotiations on the VGGT and ensured that the VGGT are applicable to religious governing systems in order to make them a useful tool for Iran. Emphasizing its commitment to implement the VGGT, Iran was party also to the 5th Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit which in a communiqué calls on parties to confirm their intention to implement the “VGGT” in accordance with national priorities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The VGGT can contribute to achieving all priority areas of the 5th Five-Year National Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan (FYNDP) of Iran and all 3 FAO Near East regional initiatives. They particularly contribute to strategic priority area (3) “strengthened governance and enhanced knowledge management of agricultural and rural development, food security and food safety” as defined in the Country Programming Framework 2012-2016 signed by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and FAO.
In concrete terms, the Guidelines can support to address key issues in this country. Just to name a few:
-    The given international standard to address the whole breadth of relevant tenure issues and particularly how to give importance to their links.
-    An invaluable reference document to develop a comprehensive registration and cadaster system;
-    A basis to monitor activities to improve governance of tenure.

This workshop is a first step in using the Guidelines in Iran. We are delighted to bring together a critical mass of informed stakeholders. We are delighted to follow discussions on ways in which the Guidelines might be implemented in Iran and we are delighted to follow the process of increasing capacities of all stakeholders to understand, administer, secure and transfer tenure rights, in accordance with the principles contained in the Guidelines.
I therefore wish you a very successful meeting and ensure you FAO will support you on the way forward in implementing the Guidelines in Iran.

Thank you


Statement at National Goat Day

National Goat Dayfao logo125

Animal Science Research Institute on Iran (AS

Karaj – Iran

Statement by Mr Serge Nakouzi
FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran
and to the Economic Cooperation Organization

Tehran, 27 January  2016

The commemoration of National Goat Day on 27 January will seek to raise awareness of the importance of goats as small ruminant species in the Islamic Republic of Iran and ensure that the country’s food security is safeguarded through enhanced agricultural productivity and livestock diversity.

The goat was the first animal to be domesticated by humankind and the current global goat population stands at 921 million, of which over 90 percent are found in developing countries. It is often the small-scale farmers that keep small ruminants for both subsistence and economic reasons and, in either role, they generally improve household livelihoods. But they have the capability to do much more. Small ruminants contribute to landless, rural farming, peri-urban and increasingly to urban households by providing food, heat, income, socio-cultural wealth and clothing.
Their small size means they require less space than larger animals and they are less likely to damage and compact soils. They are easier to work with than large ruminants and are cheaper to buy and maintain. Moreover, lately, due to the emerging challenges of climate change and increasing pressure on natural resources and the high value of goat meat and milk across a number of Asian countries, the potential of goats with their high adaptability to a wide array of environmental conditions and “low quality” feed resources is being increasingly appreciated.
As noted in the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) Statistical Yearbook for 2014, the region of Near East and North Africa accounts for the smallest share of global livestock and meat production of any of FAO’s regions. However, within the region, Iran stands out as the leading country with the largest meat production that measures for more than 800 thousand tonnes annually. As the commonest livestock in the country, Iran stands as the region’s third largest producer of sheep and goat.
Agricultural sector accounts for one-third of the Iranian GDP and one-fourth of the country workforce; livestock covers over 40 percent of the country’s agricultural activities. Though livestock plays an imperative role in the Iranian economy, as in the economy of Near East and North Africa, sheep and goat production has seen little growth; in fact, over the last decade, Iran has registered its largest negative annual growth of -5.5 percent.  
A number of constraints, including climatic and environmental conditions, urbanization, industrialization, and low income, as well as poor access to markets and insecurity can seriously impede the development of the sector. Furthermore, devastating animal diseases such as the Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also known as sheep and goat plague, can have a regressive effect on the growth of the production system.
Challenging diseases and difficult problems can be tackled for the benefit of many if we apply the right policies that support the required action, innovation and investment. For example, in the case of climate change, FAO’s assessment work on livestock’s contribution to climate change shows that the livestock supply chains are a definitive factor in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
According to a report released by FAO in 2011 on ‘Tackling Climate Change through Livestock’, the livestock sector can make an significant contribution by offsetting some of the sector’s emission increases, which are expected as demand for livestock products is projected to grow by 70 percent by 2050. As the outcome from Paris Climate Change Summer in December 2015 admitted, the world needs to urgently reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avert catastrophic climate change and secure the future for the subsequent generations.
Goats can be of a greater help in this combat than we can imagine; about 90 percent of all of the region’s breeds are bred and kept in the drylands, constituting a valuable yet untapped resource for future adaptation to climate change. For example, the Adani dairy goat is one of the most important breeds in the southern Iran, and despite the high temperature, humidity and lack of good pasture, the breed adapts well to the severe conditions and has been regarded as an excellent for export market. Likewise, Yazd province is one of the driest areas in the central part of Iran with less than 100 mm of rain annually, and yet the local breeds – the Nodoshani and Rabati goats – adapt to the environment and climate conditions whilst retaining their dual purpose: producing high-value milk and cashmere wool.
Additionally, goats are important in development because of their ability to convert forages and crops and household residues into meat, fibre, skins and milk. In terms of detailed output, sheep and goat products are the most important in developing countries where 45 percent of all sheep meat, 54 percent of all sheep milk, 93 percent of all goat meat, and 73 percent of all goat milk are produced.
FAO’s commitment to practice improvements and sector sustainability has led the Organization to become involved in the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, a global multi-stakeholder partnership dedicated to improving livestock practices for a more efficient use of natural resources, while including poverty reduction and public health protection. What is more, FAO is actively involved in the Livestock Environment Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership, a cross-sectoral effort to develop common metrics to define and measure environmental performance of livestock supply chains.
FAO has facilitated sustainable development of the livestock to contribute to food security, while reducing its environmental footprint and resource use, and has actively strived to develop the sector. However, as the natural resources that sustain agriculture and livestock, such as land and water, are becoming scarcer and are increasingly threatened by degradation and climate change, much more work needs to be done.
To increase sheep and goat activity in Iran, FAO is seeking to assist the Government through research and development (R&D), capacity-building, policy advice, technology transfer and technical support and assistance. It is important to know that, with the right level of integration, we could ensure sustained productivity and stability in the various ecosystems and livestock production. Furthermore, since livestock is closely linked to the social and cultural lives of several million resource-poor farmers, protecting small ruminant species, principally goats, could ensure varying degrees of sustainable farming and economic stability.


Subscribe to this RSS feed

News and Stories


UN Offices Stories

UN Offices Stories

About Us

Follow Us


Sign up to keep in touch!

Be the first to hear about our new stories and job vacancies from UN in Iran and our partners.

Check out our Privacy Policy & Terms of use
You can unsubscribe from email list at any time