World Wetlands Day 1999 in Islamic Republic of Iran
Activities reported for World Wetlands Day 1999
The message of Mrs. Dr. Ebtekar
Deputy of the President and Director of the Department of the Environment
for the World Wetland Day
With congratulation for the blessed "Ten Days of Victory" and the 20th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, which with no doubt illustrates the stability of a system established with the aim of exaltation of humanity, certainty of social justice and development in the frame of Islam.
Thanking God for all his gifts and blessings, I feel it necessary to point out that the quality of human life can not be truly improved without improvements in his surrounding environment and conservation of nature and natural resources. In other words, achieving a better quality of life in order to create a proper basis for human growth and progress is closely related to the conservation of nature and natural resources of the environment. As emphasized in the 50th article of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the conservation of environment, and any activity degrading it is forbidden. Forests, rangelands, Seas, Rivers as well as Wetlands are among the necessities for human life on earth. But among these necessities, the importance of wetlands maybe the least recognized, and the World Wetland Day presents a good opportunity to introduce it.
Wetland ecosystems have a strong link with human life for various reasons such as securing human livelihood through maintenance of protein, water and energy supply, as preventing sedimentation and wind erosion, and as tourist attractions, use in scientific, ecological and biological studies and conservation of Biodiversity, have special importance particularly from an economic point of view.
Each of these issues emphasize the importance of conservation and protection of wetlands, and they have resulted in the adoption of Ramsar convention and international activities for protection and wise use of wetlands. For this reason, on 20th of February 1971, an international convention with the aim of conservation and protection, study and wise use of natural resources of wetlands was signed at the city of Ramsar which later became famous as the Ramsar convention. Nowadays, with respect to increasing understanding of the importance of wetlands, 113 countries more than half of the countries of the world have become members of this convention. This process is still growing, and it is anticipated that with understanding its importance, even more countries will join the Ramsar convention.
Islamic Republic of Iran has been one of the pioneers in this convention and from the beginning, 18 wetlands of the country with a total area of 1.2 million hectares are registered in the list of wetlands of international importance under the convention, and recently preliminary action to register two other important wetlands - Gomishan and Gouater bay - has also been taken.
With the efforts of the Department of the environment, proclamation of all wetlands as protected areas or wildlife reserves and national parks, and their management according to scientific principles, and adoption of a comprehensive management plan, are included in the third national five year plan for economic, social and cultural development. Preparation of a comprehensive management plan for the Urumieh national park is one of the first steps in this respect, and it is currently in its final approval stage. The ecological studies plan and exploitation of the wetlands registered in the framework of Ramsar convention is currently being done.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to give special importance to drawing up of the national plans for conservation and wise use of wetlands among other plans of environmental concern, and we hope to be able to carry out responsibilities towards the people of Iran and Global society, thanks to national, regional and international cooperation on conservation of wetlands. Without doubt, due to the climatic variations and economic and social conditions of Asia and Middle East, the wetlands need serious regional attention and Islamic Republic of Iran proclaims its readiness for taking the role of a regional base for training and evaluation of wetlands status.
There is hope to protect wetlands more and more with proper understanding of their importance in human life and parts of Biosphere reserves.