Environmental diplomacy to help secure water rights

February 15, 2023 - 18:46

TEHRAN – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started environmental diplomacy with neighboring countries in a bid to secure water rights for the country’s wetlands.

With the direct order of President Ebrahim Raisi to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the demand for the water rights of the wetlands with catchment areas from the border rivers with the neighboring countries is being followed up.

In the past years, the neighboring countries have not provided the water rights of the wetlands in the south-east and north-west of the country, and this issue has created problems, Mojtaba Zoljoudi, an official with the Department of Environment, has said.

Referring to the dust storms emerging from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait to the west of Iran, he said: “Agreement with the neighbors and solving this problem is the first priority of the country's environmental diplomacy, which started this year and continues with more strength than before.”

He went on to say that 12 neighboring countries are members of the Ramsar Convention, and efforts are being made to form a good cooperation in this format to solve the environmental problems of the region, he added, IRIB reported.

Next week, the meeting of the executive committee of the Regional Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Areas, known as ROPME) will be held, he noted.

“Iran will use this opportunity to hold good negotiations with the officials of the Persian Gulf countries regarding the control of oil pollution and desalination effluents.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran, as the secretariat, is supposed to take the center stage in negotiations about the status of wetlands in the region and dust pollution in this area.

There are 3.5 million hectares of wetlands in the country, of which 1.5 million have dried up to a large extent due to the droughts of the last 2 years and have paved the way for dust storms.

“Although the amount of rainfall has been good this year, it is still not in a favorable situation and to improve the conditions, we hope for continued rains and then the action of the Ministry of Energy in securing the water rights of the wetlands,” he highlighted.

According to the law, after the supply of drinking water to the people, the provision of water rights for wetlands and rivers is a priority, while in the past years, following the occurrence of drought, less than 30 percent of the water rights have been provided, and this amount in some provinces is less than 10 percent.

This year, the Ministry of Energy has cooperated more in this field and until now, the water rights of Bakhtegan Wetland and satellite wetlands of Lake Urmia have been secured to some extent, Zoljoudi said.

There are more than 2,000 wetlands in the country, 226 of which have been approved by the administration to be allocated water rights, and 36 wetlands in Iran have been registered in the Ramsar Convention.

The upcoming meeting of the five countries of the Caspian Sea that are members of the Tehran Convention, is scheduled to be held in Iran.

“We are developing a plan with the cooperation of these countries to create a suitable environment around the Caspian Sea, both in terms of pollution control and watershed management.”


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