Intl. environmental co-op must be fair, not hampered by sanctions, politicization

December 10, 2017

TEHRAN — We strongly believe in the fact that environmental problems are trans-boundary and trans-generational, and need to be solved through effective international cooperation mechanisms that are fair and not hampered by economic sanctions and politicization, Iranian environment official Kaveh Madani has said.

Madani, deputy environment chief for international affairs, innovation and socio-cultural engagement of the Department of Environment (DOE), made the remarks over the 3rd UN Environment Assembly gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, from December 4-6, 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution.

“I like to acknowledge the initiative of the UN Environment for orientation of this meeting towards a Pollution-Free Planet. This theme is, indeed, in line with the national environmental priorities set by our Supreme Leader and President Rouhani’s environmental roadmap that is focused on four pollution-related topics, namely air quality, sand and dust storms, wetlands, and waste,” Madani who was also appointed as vice president for UNEA on behalf of Asia-Pacific group, said.

About seven million people around the world are losing their lives annually due to air pollution that not only affects human health but also impacts economy and productivity, he added. 

Sand and dust storms, as one of the most significant but overlooked environmental problems of the 21st century, is imposing harmful effects on health, livelihood, food security, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and is causing migration and relocation of people.

At the same time, Madani noted, sand and dust storms, as one of the most significant but overlooked environmental problems of the 21st century, is imposing harmful effects on health, livelihood, food security, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and is causing migration and relocation of people.

The Iranian scientist went on to say that drying wetlands, lakes and water bodies as a result of shortsighted development plans and aggressive water withdrawals is a serious challenge of many developing countries and one of the major causes of the increasing sand and dust storms around the globe.

Waste in various forms is now damaging our health, ecosystem, and oceans, Madani highlighted. “In addition to plastic, the issues of e-waste is another major pollution problem with unknown long-term impacts that requires our immediate attention.”

“These issues constitute the four current environmental priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and we welcome international and regional cooperation to tackle them,” he said. 

“Earlier this year and in close collaboration with the UN Environment, we hosted the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran to address its challenges and implications on biodiversity and the human livelihood,” Madani said, stating, “I would like to emphasize on a need for a global response to the issue of sand and dust storms through an international and UN system-wide action to address this major environmental challenge of the 21st century, which we are not yet prepared to properly cope with.”

He further added that in this context, Iran recommends the implementation of Paragraph 4 of the Resolution on Combating Sand and Dust Storms (A/C.2/72/L.49), which has been approved by the second Committee of the General Assembly in its 72nd Session.

“We highly appreciate the efforts of the 3rd UN Environment Assembly to recognize and identify the means to tackle pollution challenges. Nevertheless, let’s not forget that the real challenge is in the effective implementation of the recognized solutions. We need to bridge the huge gap between science and policy, and develop effective solution mechanisms that are financially and socially sustainable and involve the private businesses as well as civil societies.”

“With no doubt, my government remains committed to providing full support for the successful implementation of the outputs of this meeting towards the global peace, security and sustainability,” Madani concluded. 

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