Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran

23/04/1998

Almost like a pilgrimage

The Convention’s Secretary General, Mr Delmar Blasco, visited the Islamic Republic of Iran on 10-18 April 1998 at the invitation of Her Excellency Dr. M. Ebtecar, Vice President of the Republic and Head of the Department of the Environment. The purpose of the visit was to review Iran's implementation of the Convention, and towards this end, the Secretary General held two rounds of discussion with Dr. Ebtecar and her aides and a series of separate meetings with officials of the Department of the Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Discussions also included the UNDP office in Teheran concerning the preparation of a GEF project on Iranian wetlands. The SG also visited Gilan and Ifhasan Provinces, where he discussed the situation of Ramsar sites with the provincial officers of the Department of the Environment. In addition, the SG paid a courtesy visit to the city of Ramsar, where the Convention was signed in 1971.

And here are the trophy pix . . . . . .

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The Secretary General (left) held discussions about future conservation actions concerning wetlands in Iran with Her Excellency Dr. M. Ebtecar, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Head of the Department of the Environment.

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Gilan Province. The Secretary General visited Ramsar sites and other wetlands in Gilan Province, on the Caspian Sea. The sign in the picture says: "President's Office - Department of the Environment - Protected Area of Siah-Keshim - Hunting and fishing are illegal". To the left of the SG is Dr. Nezami, Head of Environmental Affairs of Gilan Province.

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Azola infestation. The brown patches on the surface of the water are a carpet of Azola, a water weed that is invading the Ramsar site of Anzali and other wetlands in Gilan Province. It constitutes a serious threat because the weed creates a thick carpet on the surface of the water that prevents the passage of light, leading to the disappearance of other forms of aquatic life. Researchers are working against the clock to find ways to combat the infestation.

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Ifhasan Province. The Head of Environmental Affairs of Ifhasan Province briefed the Secretary General on the environmental problems of the Province and in particular about the situation of the only Ramsar site there, the Gavkhouni wetlands. They form a unique site in the middle of the desert, of great importance for migratory birds. The site is fed by the Zaindherun, the river that constitutes the life blood of the city of Ifhasan and the agriculture of the region, and that ends up in the Gavkhouni wetlands. The more the river waters are used on their way through the Province, the less water reaches the wetland, especially in years of low rainfall.

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Pilgrimage: The Secretary General arrives in the city of Ramsar, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, where the Convention was signed in 1971. There he met with the Governor of the district and invited him to make more active use of the significance acquired by the city because of the Convention, in particular in terms of tourist development.

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THE VERY PLACE ITSELF

The hotel in Ramsar, Iran, where the Convention on Wetlands was adopted on 2 and 3 February 1971 at the conclusion of the International Conference on the Conservation of Wetlands and Waterfowl.

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Shopping Day. At the market of Ramsar city, one of the officers responsible for the Convention at the Department of the Environment, Mr. Raizi (second from right), who's well known to Ramsar staff from his visits to the Bureau; the Head of Environmental Affairs of the Province (far left); the officer responsible for environmental issues in the city of Ramsar (far right); and a passing shopper seeking bargains (second from left).

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