United Nations Iran
سازمان ملل متحد در ایران
در آغاز متن طومار "من دریاچه ارومیه هستم" خطاب به دبیرکل سازمان ملل متحد، آقای بان کی مون آمده: "خشکسالی های دوره ای، نا آگاهی عمومی، عدم هماهنگی کشورهای منطقه و سیاست گذاری های غلط باعث شده اند تا بخش های بزرگ و وسیعی از منطقه و به خصوص ایران دچار کم آبی شده اند."
این طومار توسط یک میلیون و 700 هزار شهروند ایرانی که نگران وضعیت دریاچه ارومیه هستند، امضا شده است.
این نهضت در اواخرتابستان امسال شکل گرفت و هدف اصلی آن اطلاع رسانی در مورد شرایط بحرانی دریاچه ارومیه و همراه ساختن یک میلیون حامی با این حرکت اجتماعی بود. این نهضت همچنین از سازمان ملل متحد درخواست می کند تا اقدامات جدی تری را برای احیای دریاچه ارومیه که در شمال غرب کشور قرار دارد، را پیش بگیرد.
متاسفانه 90 درصد از سطح دریاچه ارومیه در خلال 10 سال گذشته کاهش یافته است.
امروز در نشست خبری که در سازمان ملل متحد برگزار شده بود، آقای رضا کیانیان هنرمند سرشناس کشور به همراه تعدادی از جوانانی که در حاشیه دریاچه ارومیه زندگی می کنند به دفتر سازمان ملل متحد آمده و این طومار و امضاهای آن را به آقای گری لوییس، هماهنگ کننده مقیم سازمان ملل، اهدا کردند.
آقای لوییس در این مراسم از کمبود آب در منطقه که سلامت و معیشت مردم را تحت تاثیر قرار می دهد ابراز نگرانی کرد.
آقای لوییس همچنین در مورد پروژه های در حال اجرای سازمان ملل متحد در این منطقه، صحبت کرد و افزود: "فرصت را مغتنم شمرده و می خواهم با شما در مورد فعالیت هایی که دولت جمهوری اسلامی ایران از طریق سازمان حفاظت محیط زیست به کمک دولت ژاپن، مقامات آذربایجان شرقی و غربی، جوامع محلی و سازمان ملل متحد انجام می دهند با شما صحبت کنم."
آقای لوییس در ادامه گفت: "دو کارگزاری سازمان ملل متحد در دریاچه ارومیه فعالیت می کنند؛ یکی برنامه توسعه ملل متحد و دیگری سازمان خواروبار و کشاورزی ملل متحد. ما با جوامع محلی در بستر دریاچه برای مدیریت پایدار کشاورزی و محصول فعالیت می کنیم."
هماهنگ کننده مقیم سازمان ملل متحد ادامه داد: "ما بیشتر باید روی راه حل ها تمرکز کنیم تا مشکلات. راه حل وجود دارد و ما هم در منطقه حضور داریم. آیا ما باید بیشتر و سریع تر کار کنیم؟ بله. یکی از مهمترین زوایای این کار آگاهی افزایی بین مردم خصوصا جوانانی است که در آینده مدیران این کشور زیبا خواهد شد."
این طومار به دفتر مرکزی سازمان ملل متحد در نیویورک فرستاده خواهد شد.
“Periodic droughts, lack of awareness, lack of coordination and cooperation among countries of the region and wrong policies have resulted in shortage of water in the region including Iran” states the introduction of the “I am Lake Urmia” signed by over 1.7 million Iranians addressed to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
“I am Lake Urmia” campaign was launched at the end of August 2016 and quickly amassed a huge level of popular support.
The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness about the critical condition of Lake Urmia and to gain one million supporters and signatures in order to urge the United Nations to discuss ways, and to come up with plans to revive the salt lake which is located at the north-west of the country and has shrunk by a shocking 95 percent during the last decade.
Today, at a press-conference organized at the United Nations Common Premises, the petition was delivered to the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis by a group of young Iranians from the Lake Urmia area and the well-known Iranian actor, Mr. Reza Kianian.
Mr. Kianian was one of the first supporters of the campaign. He has called upon Iranians – using his Instagram account – to unite and support the campaign. The campaign and its hashtag (#I_am_Lake_Urmia) has gained rapid momentum in a mere 2 months during which the 1.7 million signatures were collected.
While receiving the petition, Mr. Lewis expressed concern over the shortage of water in the region as a result of which not only the livelihoods of people are under threat, but also their health and their economic future.
Mr. Lewis took the opportunity to speak about what the UN has been doing – ever since 2005 – to help save Lake Urmia in collaboration with national and international partners.
“I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what the Government of Iran through the Department of Environment together with the Government of Japan, the provincial Government of East and West Azerbaijan, the local community and the United Nations are doing together.”
Mr. Lewis continued: “The United Nations has two agencies that are working in Lake Urmia – one is UN Development Programme and the other is the Food and Agriculture Organization. We are working with the local communities in the lake basin to develop a sustainable agricultural crop management.”
He went on to outline some of the work in the past two years where, by introducing new cultivation techniques in 10 per cent of the agricultural area, the farming communities consumed one-third less water. Water which, he said, could be allowed to flow back into the lake, and help to replenish it. The need of the hour, he stated, was to upscale the techniques which can help release more water into the lake. He also noted that the government was undertaking engineering works to achieve the same goal. He said it is too early to tell whether the combination of these efforts is what has contributed to the recent increase in the level of the lake by a few centimetres.
Mr. Lewis said Iranians should focus more on finding solutions and not so much on re-stating the problem. “There are solutions and we are working on them with our partners. Do we need to work harder and faster? Yes. One really important aspect of this work is raising awareness among the public – especially young people who will grow up and become the managers of this beautiful country.”
The petition will be sent to the UN Headquarters in New York for Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
FAO has signed an agreement today (Tuesday 6 September 2016) with the Urmia Lake Restoration Commission (ULRC) in Tehran at Sharif University of Technology to lend substantive technical assistance for the execution of an integrated programme that aims ultimately to secure sustainable water resources management in the Urmia Lake basin.
At the ceremony, Mr. Serge Nakouzi, the FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran and to the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) , and Dr. Issa Kalantari, Adviser to the Iranian President on Water, Agriculture and Environment and Secretary of Urmia Lake Restoration Commission (ULRC) signed the agreement and the project documents in the presence of His Excellency Hiroyasu Kobayashi, Ambassador of Japan to Iran.
“The project will accelerate halting and inverting the lake’s drying-up process by targeting reduction of water consumption within the Urmia Lake basin” the FAO Representative said.
Mr. Nakouzi underscored that through the implementation of the Programme, the concerned stakeholders will be empowered with tools and methodologies to monitor water consumption, agricultural water productivity and drought, while enhancing their capacity to disseminate Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in agricultural water management.
The joint FAO – ULRC Programme that entitled “the Integrated Programme for Sustainable Water Resources Management in the Lake Urmia Basin” also comprises a socio-economic component that seeks to promote sustainable alternative income-generating solutions.
The Programme which funded by the Government of Japan with 436 million Japanese Yen (approx. 3.8 million USD), will be implemented by the Government of Iran with the support of the FAO technical and operational team, fully integrated within the existing governance of the Urmia Lake Restoration Programme (ULRP) and in close cooperation with different partners, selected on the basis of multidisciplinary requirements.
The area and volume of Urmia Lake is the resulting net balance of the amount of inflowing and outflowing water. For hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, the Urmia Lake was in balance with its water supply from the watershed, but recent increases in agricultural, industrial and municipal water withdrawals have disturbed the balance and the Urmia Lake is drying up. Consequently, the most urgent need is to restore the water inflow to the Urmia Lake.
Following an official communication from the ULRC to the FAO Representation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressing concerns for the extreme water depletion/degradation of the Urmia Lake and requesting Organization’s assistance in finding possible solutions to the problem, a multidisciplinary mission was organized in February 2015 to respond to this request.
A rapid assessment on the status and prospects of the Urmia Lake was conducted by a team of FAO experts within the framework of the FAO Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity, as Islamic Republic of Iran became one of the recent focus countries of the Regional Initiative.
The findings of such a rapid assessment reaffirmed that the restoration of Urmia Lake is firmly anchored to the whole-basin water balance (inflow-outflow), particularly through addressing the dual core challenges of firstly, reducing water consumption of development activities upstream the lake; and secondly, managing drought, climate variability, and related risks for reduced precipitations.
Inter-basin water transfer would represent an additional variable of the water-balance equation, provided proper impact assessment is carefully considered. Water quality deserves due attention as well.
The ultimate beneficiaries of the project will be the Urmia Lake basin communities, who will benefit from information and decision support systems to target interventions reducing water consumption while restoring the Urmia Lake and its wetlands.
Throughout implementation of the project, 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 the pre-determined target of water consumption reduction.
One of the initiatives that is helping the restorative efforts of the site, is supported by the Government of Japan who has generously contributed US$ 3 million through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) over the past three years. The Japanese funding comes on top of the funding provided by the Department of Environment (DOE) and UNDP to support Lake Urmia restoration efforts by a range of partners counting also 29 agriculture, local cooperatives as well as more than 10 local NGOs.
As witnessed by visit of interested parties to the region on 20 and 21st June, this funding has enabled the development of a strong community engagement in the restoration efforts with a particular focus on more sustainable agricultural practices. Through these efforts, water and costly input such as artificial fertilizer and pesticides have been saved, yields have improved and the livelihoods of farmers are being sustained and even improved.
“I am extremely happy to see such a high level of engagement of the local community with this project. To overcome environmental challenges, each citizen should feel responsible and take action towards protecting and safeguarding the environment. This is something that we are witnessing in the villages I visited today.” the Ambassador of Japan to the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Hiroyasu Kobayashi said speaking to the press.
Mr. Kobayashi added: “I am also pleased to see the involvement and partnership between different sectors in order to achieve the common goals which we have set for this project. Based on President Rouhani’s commitment to restore Lake Urmia and protect the environment, we – as the Government of Japan – decided to contribute and support UNDP’s efforts. This partnership has now lasted for three years and we will continue to support this initiative as long as we can, because overcoming environmental challenges is very important for us.”
While visiting one of the pilot sites in Bonab, Mr. Kobayashi interacted with local farmers. When he asked one of the farmers why he decided to join the sustainable agriculture plan, the man said: “I had a piece of land which was dried-out and I wanted to sell it. But then I was introduced to this project and suddenly I had hope again. I decided to be a part of this initiative as opposed to running away from the problem. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to consume less water so that the Lake can be restored in the long run. Now, my farm is green and beautiful. There are many crops and I am thankful for having my livelihood back, but at the same time I feel good because I have been trained and I am using less water in the process of growing my crops.”
At the end of the day, the delegation visited Lake Urmia. Local officials informed the visiting delegation that the water level in the lake had improved compared to last year, despite lower rainfall.
The efforts to contribute to the restoration of Lake Urmia is part of UNDP’s collaboration with DOE to upscale integrated wetlands management, initiated in the first phase of the Conservation of the Iranian Wetlands Project into 12 Iranian wetlands.