Friday, 24 June, 2016

Iran celebrates designation of Hamoun as a UNESCO biosphere reserve


In March 2016, the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme added 20 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves during its meeting in Lima, Peru. Among those sites was Hamoun, located in the southeast of Iran.

On 14 May 2016, Iran celebrated the designation of Hamoun as a UNESCO biosphere reserve with a festive ceremony in Zabol University. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Ebtekar, Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Head of the Iranian Department of Environment (DOE); Ms. Hashemi, Governor General of Sistan and Baluchistan Province; Dr. Mahmoudi, Director General of DOE in Sistan and Baluchistan Province; Ms. Kuisch-Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office; Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Iran; representatives from the embassies of Afghanistan and Germany in Tehran; as well as local communities, NGOs and civil society representatives.

During her keynote speech, Ms. Kuisch–Laroche talked about UNESCO’s MAB Programme and the importance of the designation of Hamoun as a biosphere reserve: “Through UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, we are able to demonstrate and promote site-specific examples of how humans can live with nature in a sustainable way. Biosphere reserves demonstrate ways to safeguard natural ecosystems and biodiversity through science, education and participatory approaches.”

The UNESCO representative highlighted the important links between biodiversity and climate change and said that sustainability required profound changes in the way we live, produce and consume: “This is what biosphere reserves are all about. It’s about communities, government authorities and the private sector all coming together and agreeing on a new way forward. We are delighted that this process has now started in Hamoun biosphere reserve.”

After the opening ceremony in Zabol University, the delegation traveled to Hamoun to see the lake and unveil the UNESCO plaque at the site.


Photo Credit: UNESCO/Ali Mohajeran, Hamoun - Iran

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