Iran, China to develop co-op on combating desertification

October 12, 2021 - 17:55

TEHRAN – Iran and China discussed ways on Monday to enhance cooperation on combating desertification, ISNA reported.

The Forests, Rangelands, and Watershed Management Organization (FRWMO) and the Xinjiang Institute of Geography and Ecology of China held a virtual meeting on Monday with the aim of sharing knowledge and experiences from measures and developing cooperation in combating desertification and wind erosion.

Vahid Jafarian, director of the FRWMO for desert affairs, said that desert ecosystems in Iran and China have created common challenges such as sand and dust storms, drought, and land degradation.

To overcome the existing challenges, we need capacity building, training, and transfer of experiences as strategic plans of the FRWMO desert affairs, he added.

Iran’s deserts are affected not only by climate change and geographical location but inefficient management of natural resources. The joint strategic document and projects of Iran and China to combat desertification include the use of environmentally friendly economic capacities such as nature tourism development, use of renewable energy, and development of medicinal plants through scientific meetings, education, and expert, he explained.

Some 60 percent of Iran’s lands are exposed to the desert, according to the FRWMO. The progress of desertification in Iran’s soil occurs in a situation where the desert per capita in Iran is more than twice the global average.

Desertification and wind erosion in natural resources is a dynamic phenomenon that changes with drought and rainfall conditions, Iran is located in an arid and ultra-arid climate and 88 percent of the country is covered by this type of climate.

This year, a total of about 3 trillion rials (around $71 million) has been proposed for fighting desertification, but due to the drought, more funds should be spent on desertification compared to the previous years, Jafarian said in July.

Iran’s deserts are affected not only by climate change and geographical location but inefficient management of natural resources. However, desertification is no longer just the cause of drought, but the decline in soil fertility and increased migration are new consequences of desertification.

On the other hand, Iran’s groundwater resources are running out, as it consumes more than 85 percent of its freshwater resources annually, while global statistics show that more than 60 percent of water consumption is a sign of crisis and water stress.