Friday, June 26, 2015

Peacemaking in Oslo

Iran and Norway decided to work together in the field of the environment since 1999. The Norwegian Minster of Environment repaid my visit in 2001 and we signed minutes of the meeting to work together in different areas. Last week I was invited to attend the Oslo Forum, entitled this year: Peacemaking in in times of global disorder. There were many sessions dealing with crisis situations in different regions.Peacemaking is quite valuable when we attempt to understand the root causes, to take effective prevention measures and to transform conflicts into opportunities for develoment and peace.We also had many bilateral meetings as well.

 I spoke at a session devoted to Iran this morning and made note of the fact that peacemaking is an example of enjoing what is good and forbidding what is evil, which is a basic precept of Islamic ethics and also prescribed by Abrahamic religions. I spoke about the internal policies of Dr. Rouhani in different areas including the environment and also referred to the various international overtures we have had in promoting diplomatic relations with our neighbors but also in engaging for a just settlement in the Nuclear talks with the 5+ 1. I took questions from the audience some of which were quite challenging.
I also met with the Minister of Environment of Norway, and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Parliament. We had a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We disscussed many issues including environmental cooperation but also regional issues and ways to confront the rise of extremism. Norwegian politicans were very concerned about the rising insecurity in many regions but also the spread of DAESH.
I hope this visit would help to promote more understanding between our two nations.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Iraqi President in Tehran

Fouad Massoum the President of Iraq visited Iran last week accompanied by Ministers of Trade and Environment. In addition to the significant  political implications of this visit, in which Iran reiterated its will to stand alongside the people  and government of Iraq against terror and DAESH, this visit also had important environmental dimensions.
For the first time high level bilateral talks included environmental cooperation and the final communique delivered at the end of this visit clearly stated the will of both countries to improve the state of the environment. During bilateral talks we had we decided to work together for exchange of information, training of Iraqi experts and joint research. Areas included protection of wetlands , prevention of desertification and dust storms and creating transboundary peace parks on the border. 
We have provided technical and training assistance on environmental issues to Iraqi brothers before and we decided to continue. While it is well understood that peace and security are the prerequisite for any improvement of environmental conditions, both Presidents stressed that  Iran will continue to play an instrumental role in confronting terror and insecurity in Iraq along with the Iraqi people. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Restoration of Anzali Wetland ,Caspian Sea

The five littoral states of the Caspian Sea are bound by only one modern international legal instrument,ie the Tehran Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment. This convention which was signed in 2004 in Tehran provides mechanisms for cooperation to protect biodiversity, coastal zone management, waste and pollution control. 

Last week President Rouhani visited Gilan Province on the coast of the Caspian Sea. During this visit I delivered a report on the Anzali Wetland on the coastal zones of the sea.The wetland  which extends over 19000 hectares and plays an important role in the ecosystem and livelihoods of millions has faced many challenges during recent decades.  The government of Dr. Rouhani has laid much emphasis on the restoration programs for this wetland particularly in conjunction and support of the Government of Japan. In my report I noted that the restoration plan for Anzali is now prepared and will be underway this year. Prevention of soil erosion in the larger water basin including protection of forests, waste management,  sewerage treatment and sustainable agriculture practices are all very important. Anzali and the Gilan province is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of the world. The President emphasised on the importance of protecting the wetland and promoting environmental standards in Gilan.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Clean Air for Iranian Cities

The government of Dr. Rouhani has launched a major campaign for better air quality for our large cities. The program adopted last year by the cabinet undertakes several dimensions and cuts across many different sectors.The DOE has undertaken the management of this mega project in national dimensions. The improvement of fuel quality despite continuing sanctions in these areas resulted in the distribution of euro 4 quality petroleum and diesel in many areas leading to a decrease in aromatic and sulfur content. The automotive industry also began implementing euro4 standards under our continuous inspection processes. Power plants were controlled in terms of the heavy fuels they were accustomed to using before. 300000 obsolete cars were outphased for recycling and replaced by new cars under a  new incentive promoted by the government. All these measures and many more led to a gradual but significant improvement of air quality in our mega cities. Tehran had 44 days of better air quality as comparedto the previous year. This indicates we are on a correct track but that we also need to continue and ensure the efficient implementation of this vital project. After Nowrooz we have had very clean air in Tehran and many cities here are some pictures I have taken from Tehran yesterday.

International Environmental Award in Tehran

The fourteenth round of the Dr.Taghi Ebtekar Award was held a few days ago in Tehran. The Center for Peace and Environment as an NGO, convenes this ceremony on an annual basis to appreciate the efforts of researchers and activists in the field of the environment. The managing board decided this year, to award an international figure who has a lifetime achievement for the environment, in addition to the national awardees. Candidates were all selected after a public announcement from among those who applied for the prize, by a jury chosen from amog prominent scholars and activists.The 2015 international prize was awarded to Dr. Klaus Topfer, the former German Minister of Environment and former head of UNEP for 8 years. He championed the cause of the environment at the global level andsucceeded  in taking the issue to the highest levels of the international agenda. He now heads the Institute for Advanced Sustainabiliy Studies in Potsdam. Dr. Topfer who arrived in Tehran for the award ceremony spoke on the importance of cross cultural dialogues for the protection of the environment. He also pointed to the importance of climate change effects in coutries like Iran and stressed on the need for 
a serious collective effort to change current lifestyles and consumption patterns at the global level. He thanked the CPE for the award and hoped that collaboration on matters of joint interest for Iran would continue. Dr. Topfer visited Lake Urumia next day and met with the teams involved in educating and training local farmers for more sustainable agricultural practices.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Talks in Paris

I was invited by the Executive Director of UNESCO to attend a session on the appraisal of achievement s of the Beijing World Conference on Women twenty years later. I spoke on the advances but also obstacles women face worldwide. I mentioned the consumerist and materialistic approach that plagues our world today and results in the erosion of both ethics and the nature we rely on for existence. Six women were invited to speak about their views, three of us had attended the fourth world conference in 1995. I also met separately with Irina Bokova and spoke about joint activities.
I had a speech at the Diplomatic Club in Paris where I spoke on the moderation policies of the Government of Dr.Rouhani. The program was ensued by a lengthy question and answer session dealing with all aspects of social and political affairs.
Medef International is a French corporate sector alliance which also held a session where I spoke frankly about business opportunities in the field of environment for about 70 business leaders.
I had a working lunch session with several media directors including Le Monde and Figaro and others. Again I responded to many questions not only on internal politics but also the nuclear deal and prospects for improving relations with the west.
I also spoke with a group of Parliamentarians from the French Congress and Senate over dinner .We exchanged  views on issues like ways to combat  climate change and extremism. 
My meeting with Laurin Fabius, the French Foreign Minister recieved alot of media attention. Fabius is leading the negotiations on climate change which will finalize later this year in Paris. We discussed many issues of mutual interest.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fourteenth environment exhibition of Tehran

On the occasion of the fourteenth International Environment Exhibition, we had three high level international guests. The Environment Ministers of Lebanon, Russia and the Vice Minister of Japan arrived for the inaugural session. I had bilateral sessions and we discussed areas of practical cooperation. With Japan we had a policy dialogue session to follow the MOC that we had previously adopted. The Russian Minster signed the Biodiversity Protocol of the Tehran Convention for the Protection of the Caspian Sea Environment and our directors signed an action plan on joint collaboration. 
The year's exhibiton was convened under the theme of Green Economy ,Resilient Economy. In the opening ceremony, the First Vice President of Iran Dr Jahangiri, spoke on the importance the government of Dr. Rouhani attaches to the environment and the green economy.In addition, the minsters of Russia, Japan and Lebanon also spoke on the need for regional and international efforts to protect planet earth. I then visited the different booths and met both private sector and NGO s active in this field. 290 different business and economic sectors had participated . In addition, over 80 NGOs and firms from 14 countries had taken part, it was an important event since we need to make the connection between economic activity and advances in the protection ot our global environment.
Many new innovations in fields of renewable energies, recycling, waste management, water purification and  treatment systems, air filtration technologies,energy efficiency methods biodiversity protection and many more new technologies were presented at the fair . This creates opportunities for trade, exchange of views and know how in areas pertaining to environment protection.