Friday, September 26, 2014

President Rouhani and New Era of Environmental Diplomacy

The world is now, much earlier than initial predictions, experiencing the damages incurred by global warming. Storms, floods ,drought , increase of temperature and much more; all described as "extreme weather events" are now being reported in many parts of the world. Island countries and coastal zones have been affected by rising sea levels.We are experiencing drought in Iran marked by shortage of rainfall and snow, increase in temperature ranging between .5-1.5 degrees celsius, thus leading to  more evaporation and loss of vegetation, biodiversity, wetlands and many other damages to our agriculture and economy. The drying up of Lake Urumia is one evident example of this trend which has been exacerbated by over use of aquifier reserves, dams and inefficient irrigation methods in that area.
Energy efficiency in Iran is also low and this has led to air pollution as well as economic loss.
However, Iran has been an active partner of the decades long international processes to combat climate change. I took part not only in the Kyoto Protocol deliberations in 1997 but also in most related events during my first term as the Vice President of Iran( Government of President Khatami). Our role as head of the Group of 77 during those years, in bringing about a consensus with the EU was applauded by the international community as a victory for multilateralism in 2002.
Now, again we are playing our proactive role in the ongoing negotiations for the "new deal", which I believe must be fair and just, if it is to be implemented and followed by all nations.  Iran has now undertaken serious measures for energy efficiency and thus mitigation of greenhouse gases. We are also taking action on different levels to build a resilient economy and to protect our nature in face of these challenges.
 The active presence of Dr. Rouhani in the Climate Change Summit this year in New York and his inspiring speech on this matter marks a new era of environmental diplomacy for the Islamic Republic of Iran . I invite you to read the speech below.

Full text of the president's speech delivered on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly session follows:

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Mr. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, 


Distinguished delegates, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

At the outset, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Your Excellency, Secretary General of the United Nations for this timely initiative. This Summit provides a unique opportunity for addressing climate change as one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century. 

The rise in the temperature and its negative impact on rain precipitation in the Middle East, the chronic drought and water scarcity has led to an increase in poverty and the occurrence of instability and tensions in the border areas. Unfortunately, the continuation of political disputes and war in the neighboring countries has become an obstacle in achieving a durable and practical agreement on the resolution of regional environmental problems.

Addressing such issues requires regional cooperation in the form of multilateral conventions, for which Iran is ready to engage constructively.

Historical experience has shown that introduction and utilization of economic mechanisms are the most effective source of inspiration for humanitarian activities across the globe. This helps to develop international mechanisms for containing Carbon Dioxide and emission of other green-house gases. A ‘system of warning and advice’ cannot by itself be considered as an effective factor in addressing such problem. A comprehensive agreement based on economic mechanisms; one which would take into account the developmental requirements of each and every country, is required more than ever. 

During the past year, focusing on low-carbon economy was high on the development agenda of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Accordingly, we have introduced and are implementing the following binding national targets: 

• Decreasing energy intensity, 

• Reducing energy subsidies, 

• Limiting major atmospheric pollutants, 

• Promoting energy efficiency, 

• improving the quality of fuels, despite imposed economic sanctions,

• Increasing the share of renewable, modern and alternative sources of energy 

• as well as utilizing and disseminating other environmentally sound technologies.

Mr. President, 

if we truly believe global warming is a global problem, we should then accept that addressing it also requires genuine global cooperation. Any step, under any pretext, that may impede such international cooperation cannot but be considered detrimental to the international community as a whole. 

Nowadays it has become difficult for some countries to gain access to the experience and knowhow of other countries in the fields of combating drought and water scarcity as well as environmental crises, especially urban pollution. Endangering the environment and health of an entire population by imposing illegal economic sanctions against them is never justified, if we were to view it from a humanitarian and health-based perspective. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to engage actively and constructively in the negotiation processes for the development of a new post 2020 agreement. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes the opportunity to promote cooperation with relevant public and private sectors at the national, regional and international levels, in order to strengthen its national measures in combating climate change, and is determined to facilitate such partnership and cooperation through, inter-alia, establishing joint ventures between Iranian and foreign companies.

I wish that with all efforts put in by the UN and the effective participation of all states, this Summit becomes a turning point in taking common but differentiated measures to save this green planet. 

Thank you, Mr. President

Monday, September 1, 2014

National Asiatic Cheetah Day

To mark the occasion of National Asiatic Cheetah Day the Department of Environment and UNDP jointly organized a ceremony to celebrate outstanding Iranian Game Guards and activists from the Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah Project


Day and night, our planet and its beautiful natural resources are guarded by individuals who give new meaning to the words sacrifice, courage and compassion.  Game Guards are the dedicated watchers of the environment and the primary guardians of our Iranian biodiversity.

To mark the occasion of National Asiatic Cheetah Day the Department of Environment and the UNDP jointly organized a ceremony to celebrate outstanding Iranian Game Guards and activists from the Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah Project.  The objective was to recognize the remarkable contribution of these individuals in safeguarding our environment.

In Tehran government officials along with representatives from the diplomatic community, NGOs, Academia, members of the private sector, media and UN representatives came together to applaud the dedication of these men and women whose mission in life is defined by their sense of duty to our shared global heritage – the environment.


31Aug2014-Irans Game Guards are heroes says UN head in Iran 2Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment, H.E. Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar.

In his remarks the UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP ResidentRepresentative, Mr. Gary Lewis said:“Today, we know of the Mazandaran Tiger and the Persian Lion only from the windswept statues or faded photographs that bear their images. All have been killed or forced into extinction.  They are gone forever.  But it is not too late to save the Asiatic Cheetah.
”He added: “We believe that the decline in the number of these beautiful – emblematic animals may have stopped.  Now their numbers may be on the increase once again.  The main reason for this recovery – for the possible turnaround in numbers – is simple.  It is because there are few people – a very few people – in our society, who strive – day in and day out – to keep the Asiatic Cheetah from harm.”
“Some – like our academic partners – do this through the written word.  Some – like our friends in the NGO community – do it through the spoken word.  Some – like our corporate sponsors – give us the resources to host awareness-raising events like the one we are having here this morning.  And we thank you – and we recognize you all” said Mr. Lewis.

31Aug2014-Irans Game Guards are heroes says UN head in Iran 4Mr. Gary Lewis (Left) along with Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar presented awards to the Game Guards, NGOs, Academia and corporate sponsors of the ceremony


He then highlighted the remarkable contribution of the Game Guards by stating: “Many – like Iran’s Game Guards – our Mohit Bans – do it through their actions.  Actions which often place these doer-of-deeds in great personal peril.  Peril of being shot at by poachers.  This is no idle threat.  Some Game Guards have been shot at – and wounded – in the line of duty […] Ladies and Gentlemen, Iran’s Game Guards are heroes. They are local heroes.  And they are global heroes.  Through their actions which directly save our biodiversity, these heroes are paving the way for a future which is sustainable.  Through their actions we have come to recognize that all species deserve to co-exist and share our beautiful, endangered, planet.”


Also speaking at the event was Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment, H.E. Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar.  “Environmental issues and the protection of species at a local level is considered as a global issue today.  That is an important achievement for humanity – the fact that we realize today that our actions at a local level have global implications.  Therefore, our responsibilities extend beyond our geographical boarders. We have global responsibilities.”


She then emphasized on the protection of the Asiatic Cheetah as also being a global issue.  She added: “To reverse the destiny of the Asiatic Cheetah, we need a careful and efficient plan which includes the involvement of the local communities as well as the efforts of the highest national and international level officials and organizations.”


31Aug2014-Irans Game Guards are heroes says UN head in Iran 1Game Guards are the dedicated watchers of the environment and the primary guardians of our Iranian biodiversity.



“Today, I stand next to you, delighted and honoured to represent and acknowledge the efforts of our Game Guards from all parts of Iran.  We owe a great share of our success in preserving our environment to the dedication of Game Guards who serve in the remote areas.  They believe that protecting the environment and its species guarantees nature sustainability for the future and that is why they have devoted their life to this high-risk path.  It is the duty of each and every citizen to join the Game Guards and others who follow their path to conserve the environment and its biodiversity for today and the future.”

She was then joined by Mr. Lewis on stage to present awards to the Game Guards, NGOs, Academia and sponsors of the ceremony – Eghtesad Novin Bank, Bidar Trading Company and Vijeh School of Visual Communication.