Project to support ecotourism, local communities in Gwadar Bay

December 23, 2020 - 19:42

TEHRAN – A new initiative seeks to expand ecotourism and consequently to empower local communities across Gwadar Bay, which is home to wetlands and pristine natural landscapes.

“A community-based ecotourism project is ready to be implemented across Gwadar Bay to empower local communities in a way they enjoy the economic benefits generated from tourism activities,” Ali Arvahi, the director of the Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project, said on Tuesday.

“The community-oriented nature tourism from one hand, and making the best use of wetland tourism potentials, from the other, are expected to lead to more clever exploitation [of the wetlands], and to expand participatory conservation [of them],” the official noted.

Gwadar Bay, Persian Khalij-e Gavater, is an inlet of the Arabian Sea indenting the sandy Makran coast at the Iran–Pakistan border. It is about 32 km long and 16 km wide.

Valuable wetlands

Wetlands play a major role in protecting the land against floods and the impacts of storms. They provide food and diverse habitats which support genetic, species, and ecosystem biodiversity. Wetlands play a key role in the life cycles of many species and annual migration patterns.

Unfortunately, wetlands are being degraded and lost due to pollution, overexploitation, climate change, and human population growth. In recognition of these challenges, the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty, was adopted in 1971.

In Iran, 141 wetlands with ecological value with an area of over 3 million hectares have been identified, of which 25 wetlands are designated as wetlands of international importance (registered in the Ramsar Convention) covering more than 1.4 million hectares and four sites are biosphere reserves.

Of Iran’s 25 Ramsar sites about one-third are under pressure or in critical condition.

Chief of the Department of Environment, Issa Kalantari, has said to restore wetlands in the country a budget of 600 trillion rials (nearly $14 billion) is required.

AFM/

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