International Cooperation

The Islamic Republic of Iran is responsive to the international processes regarding the environmental issues and sustainable natural resources management. National legislations comply precisely with this concept and are supported by a great number of new enactments in the past two decades. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of environmental conventions, and a dozen of UN-related specialized organizations and regional mechanisms.

Convention on Biological Diversity

Iran became a member to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1994 and formulated and submitted its initial national biodiversity strategy and action plan (NBSAP1) with 4 strategies and 25 headline activities to CBD in 2006 after approval by the High Council of the Environment under the chairmanship of the President. These four national strategies are still valid and considered as the Principles of the second national biodiversity strategy and action plan (NBSAP2) submitted to CBD in 2016.

FRWO is a key partner to the High Council of Environment and plays a major role in conservation and development of natural terrestrial ecosystems. This council is the highest decision-making body on environmental matters at national level presided by the president and comprised of Head of DoE, Ministers of Agriculture; Industry, Mines and Commerce; Roads and Urban Development; Health and Medical Education; Head of Planning and Budget Organization; and four representatives recommended by the head of DoE.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Iran signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in June 1992, at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, along with more than 150 countries and ratified it in July 1996. Iran has adopted its national action program and so far has prepared three national communications to UNFCCC. FRWO is a member of national committee for climate change and has extensive responsibility in the field of adaptation and control of emissions through new plantation and afforestation programs. Iran’s national strategy for climate change includes mitigation and adaption that is in coherence and harmonized with the INDC for the time line of three five-year national development plans (2016 to 2030). 

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Iran is the third country that signed the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and adopted it in 1996. FRWO is a designated National Coordinating Body (NCB) and Focal Point to UNCCD, and also acts as the secretariat of the National Committee to Combat Desertification (NCCD) presided over by the Minister of Agriculture who chairs NCCD on behalf of the President.


Forest-related cooperation

FRWO works with many international agencies namely UNDP, FAO, and UNEP and has extensive collaboration with them in many areas especially in the fields of forestry, natural resources management, land degradation control and developmental issues.

FRWO has also been active in forest-related processes under UN and since the adoption of the action plan on sustainable development by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro- Brazil in 1992, has contributed to the work of IPF, IFF and UNFF by voluntary reporting, hosting international and regional meetings and establishing Tehran Process Secretariat (TPS) as a country-led initiative to serve the purpose of dry land forests in line with the International Arrangement on Forests.

Success stories

The Islamic Republic of Iran gives a top priority to collaboration with the international and regional organizations through joint international projects. FRWO is the lead agency for international cooperation in natural resources sector and has carried out a dozens of international projects with the support of international partners of which some of them have been replicated as success stories as follows:

1. Rehabilitation of Forest Landscapes and Degraded Land Project (RFLDL)

Rehabilitation of Forest Landscapes and Degraded Land Project (RFLDL) is a collaborative effort of Iranian Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO), Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) which supports the efforts of the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran to mainstream environmentally sustainable development approaches through preparation and running community-based and integrated land and forest management (SLFM) initiatives. This Project, ongoing since mid Aug 2011 in two pilot sites of Rigan and Sarayan, has been designed towards restoration and enhancement of goods and services delivered by the ecosystems as improvement of capacity of degraded lands and forest landscapes in an arid and semi-arid area to be resulted in generation of sustainable livelihoods, further food security and biodiversity as well as desertification control. The unique specification of the Project is that it has simultaneously addressed national priorities and local needs. Thus, the project will demonstrate a mechanism by which ground realities are reflected in the national policies and the national policies be successfully observed at local level. In other words, local communities get deeply involved in measures and goods and services delivered from the ecosystem are used as a key tool to improve the livelihood of local communities.

2. Institutional Strengthening and Coherence for Integrated Natural Resources Management (MENARID)

The Middle East and North Africa Regional Program for Integrated Sustainable Development (MENARID) International project is being conducted in countries including Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen.

In Iran, the project started in September 2010 as a joint activity between Global Environmental Fund (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO) of Iran.

MENARID, a full size GEF project in Iran, is executed in four type of agro ecosystems (rang lands, rain-fed agriculture, irrigated agriculture and forest/woodlands) where cross-sectoral coordination is essential, located in five provinces, Sistan and Baluchestan, Kermanshah, Yazd, and also Semnan and Tehran which are pilot sites of Land and Water Recourses Sustainable Management( Hablehroud).

The goal of the project is to promote climate-resilient and gender sensitive integrated management of renewable natural resources, while maintaining the capacity of ecosystems to deliver the goods and services needed to support local livelihoods.

The project objective is to remove barriers to integrated Natural Resources Management by developing and strengthening institutional knowledge, capacity and coordination, and by demonstrating and up-scaling successful sustainable land and water management practices. The project is aligned with GEF policies and priorities in four focal areas: Land Degradation, International Waters, Climate Change Mitigation, and Biodiversity. The project has following institutional structure for sustainable natural resources management at national, provincial and local levels;

- National steering committee comprised of all representatives of from organizations involved in natural resources management.

- Provincial monitoring and planning committee under support and supervision of province governor is another MENARID steps in integration of the various responsible institutions in field of natural resources.

- Provincial technical committee with membership of professional and experienced experts is considered as a scientific arm for monitoring and planning committee in the provinces.

- Local development groups have been established in pilot villages to facilitate communications among local communities and project management teams at national, provincial levels.

3. Sustainable Management of Land & Water Recourses (SMLWR)

Phase I of Sustainable Management of Land and Water Resources (SMLWR) came into existence as a joint project by the Government of I.R. Iran and the UNDP in 1997. The Hablehroud Watershed with an area of 1.2 million ha was selected as a pilot. The main objective of the project was to develop appropriate models for planning, management, execution, operation, monitoring, and evaluation of land and water resources in a number of sub-basins in the watershed so that the results obtained could be generalized and extended into a national plan for the protection and conservation of natural resources through the rural community participation in the management of watersheds across the nation.

Upon completion of Phase I, it was decided to commence the Phase II of SMLWR Project as a high priority national project. The Phase II of the project formulated with emphasis upon poverty reduction and sustainable production by local farmers and rural producers in a manner to help obtain self-sufficiency goals of in producing basic commodities.

One of the main documents of SMLWR Project at the commencement of its phase II is the Watershed Land Use Plan. It has identified the socio-economic and ecological capacities throughout the watershed and has selected the best locations for various land usages.

4. Carbon Sequestration Project (CSP)

The Carbon Sequestration project (CSP) in the Desertified Rangelands of Hossein Abad- South Khorasan province, is a joint project of the Iranian Government and UNDP which aims at area-based development as well as community-based natural resources development that sustain eco-system services (including carbon reduction) and improve socio-economic status at the local level (including employment and income generation) to achieve three main objectives:

1. at global level: provide a model to demonstrate that carbon sequestration in arid lands can be done in an economical way

2. at national level: restore degraded natural resources

3. at local level: improve socio-economic status of local communities

Some of the accomplishments of CSP during the 2nd phase are as follows:

• Demonstrated that desertified rangelands can be cost-effectively reclaimed by and for the benefit of the local people as so far, the amount of carbon stocked in plant tissue and soil exceeded 1500 kg/ ha. 

• Improved the productivity of arid lands and combating desertification so that more than 15000 ha of lands were afforested with broad involvement of local communities. 

• Organized 269 training courses including vocational programs for local people. 

• Enhanced water access in villages as extensive water and watershed management measures including 44000 cubic meters of check dams and 22 ponds were undertaken. 

• Extension of new energies as well as voluntarily protection activities drastically 

• Decreased reliance on firewood collection. 

 • Strengthened capacities of villagers through social mobilization and formation of village   development groups and Al-Qadir rural development cooperative. To date 63 VDGs have been formed

• Set up micro-credit funds. So far, the total saving of VDGs is 1020 million RLs. In addition, more than 2000 loans have been paid to VDGs. 

• Set up sustainable business plans and marketing service in terms of handicrafts and rural products. 

• Empowered local people through holding more than 270 training courses to facilitate establishment of 450 employment and income opportunities. 

• Declined wind erosion in Hosseinabad hot spot and as a result wind erosion intensity decreased by 2 classes. 

• Increased vegetation cover from 12% to 34%. 

• Raised the HDI on an average of 2.5% per year. 

• Brought together a number of 32 government and non-government agencies towards participatory and integrated planning and implementation. 

• Developed a Model for community-based natural resources management. 

• The project is being replicated in 18 provinces. 

• Implemented 100 physical infrastructures. 

• Organized 265 national and international visits to CSP as well as several regional workshops on the project›s achievements and methodology. 

This project was initiated in South Khorasan province (Birjand) and is now being replicated in 18 other provinces.

5. Multiple-Use Forest Management to Conserve Biodiversity in the Caspian Forest

The Caspian Hyrcanian Mixed Forest Eco-region is located in northern Iran along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains. These ancient broadleaf and mixed lowland and mountains forests covering 1.95 million hectares form unique and diverse communities and house many endemic and threatened tree, mammal and bird species. The area is listed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as a Global 200 Eco-region, and by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). In addition to its key role in terms of biodiversity, the Caspian Hyrcanian Forests due to high precipitation, fertile soil, temperate climate and beautiful scenery support many important ecosystem services for the 7.3 million people who live in the region. These include watershed services and climate regulation, tourism and agricultural opportunities.

The project started in May 2013 as a joint activity between Global Environmental Fund (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO) of Iran.

The purpose of the project is to conserve biodiversity in key landscapes within the Caspian Hyrcanian forest ecosystems by a) strengthening the national and local policy framework governing land use in the Caspian Hyrcanian forests, b) enhancing the rights and roles of the local communities in their management, and c) demonstrating ways and means of improving management (including land use planning, zoning, compliance monitoring and enforcement) at three levels: (i) strategic policy and regulatory interventions targeted at 800,000ha across the whole 1.8 million ha forest; (ii) integrated management for multi-purpose forestry demonstrated in 4 pilot basins totaling to 120,000 ha; (iii) community-based management demonstrated in 30,000 ha within two of the pilot landscapes. Capacity building is the key theme at all three levels.

The project has achieved its goals at three levels: i) strategic policy and regulatory interventions targeted at 800,000ha across the whole Caspian forest; ii) integrated management for multi-purpose forestry demonstrated in 4 pilot basins totaling 120,000 ha; iii) community-based management demonstrated in 30,000 ha within two of the pilot landscapes. Capacity building will be a key theme at all three levels.


List of Projects

ý Flood and Debris Flow in the Caspian Coastal Area

General Project Information:

Project Title: The Study on Flood and Debris Flow in the Caspian Coastal Area focusing on the Flood-hit Region in Golestan province
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Golestan province
Counterpart Agency: JICA
Start Date; 2005
End Date: 2006

Project Output:

The project studied the Gorgan- Rud watershed basin for setting up a flood warning system.



ý Carbon Sequestration in the Desertified Rangelands of Hossein Abad (Phases 1)   

General Project Information:

Project No: IRA/01/G35
Project Title: Carbon Sequestration in the Desertified Rangelands of Hossein Abad
Project Status: Ongoing
Project Site: Hossein Abad-South Khorasan province
Counterpart Agency: UNDP/GEF
Start Date: April 2003
End Date: April 2009

Project Outputs:

*Community-based management arrangements;
* Establishment of Co-management plans;
* Implementation of Co-management plans/agreements;
* Social communication initiatives;
* Performance monitoring and assessment;


ý Ecosystem Conservation of the Anzali Wetland

General Project Information:

Project Title: Integrated Management for Ecosystem Conservation of the Anzali Wetland                               
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Gilan Province (Anzali wetland)
Counterpart Agency: Department of Environment and JICA
Start Date: May 2003
End Date: May 2005

Project Outputs:

* Wetland Ecological management plan    
* Watershed management plan
* Waste water treatment plan
* Solid waste management plan
* Environmental education plan
* Environmental monitoring and capacity development plans

ý Watershed Management in Karoun Watershed

 General Project Information:
Project Title: Watershed Management in Karoun Watershed
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Khuzestan, Esfahan, Chaharmahal & Bakhtiyari and Kohkilouyeh & Boyerahmad Provinces
Counterpart Agency: JICA
Start Date: 1999
End Date: 2000

Project Outputs:
Preparation of study plan and identification of 5 pilot areas for performing the practical studies in these sites

ý Sustainable Management of Land &Water Resources (SMLWR)

General Project Information:      

Project No: IRA/97/004/A/01/99
Project Title: Sustainable Management of Land &Water Resources (SMLWR)
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Hableh- Rud – Tehran and Semnan Provinces 
Counterpart Agency: FAO
Start Date: November 1997
End Date: November 2000

Project Outputs:

The pilot project, implemented under the umbrella of the National Action Program of Sustainable Management of Land and Water Resources, involved the preparation of a National Action Program to combat desertification in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The project also aims at the rehabilitation of a highly degraded ecosystem in Hableh Rud basin through desertification control and other suitable measures.


ý Caspian Tree Seed Production and Improvement Center

General Project Information:      

Project No: IR/89/015/13/01/12
Project Title: Caspian Tree Seed Production and Improvement Centre
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Mahmoudabad - Mazandaran province
Counterpart Agency: FAO
Start Date: September 1991
End Date: September 1993

Project Components and Outputs:

* Practical guidance in seed source selection and subsequent management and finalization of catalogue of the selected stands and their prescribed management;

* Modern seed harvesting equipment purchased and local staff trained on its proper use, thereby minimizing risks to climbers and improving efficiency;
* Efficiency of the seed processing plant improved through appropriate instructions and investments in cold stores will have been optimized through dissemination of knowledge on correct storing conditions for various species;

* Seed laboratory equipment put into the disposal of the project and a manual on seed testing prepared;

* Development of seed certification system;

* Development of a long-term breeding strategy for Beech, Oak, Maple and Alnus as well as a practical guide for plus tree selection and establishment of progeny trials.

ý Caspian Model Forest Management Plan

General Project Information:

Project No: IRA/89/014/B/01/12
Project Title: Caspian Model Forest Management Plan
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Lirehsar, Tonekabon,- Mazandaran province
Counterpart Agency: FAO
Start Date: January 1991
End Date: January 1996

Project Outputs:

The project prepared a well designed forest management plan based on currently practical planning techniques and silvicultural practice. The plan incorporate the socio – economic realities of the people are either resident within, on migratory through, the forest area. The objective of the socio- economic aspects of the project is to devise alternative employment for these people in an effort to induce them away from forest based subsistence.


ý  Integrated Range Improvement Program 

General Project Information:      

Project No: IRA/89/016/A
Project Title: Implementation of an Integrated Range Improvement Program
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Zarand –Saveh, Markazi provinces
Counterpart Agency: FAO
Start Date: March 1990
End Date: March 1995

Project Outputs:

* Development and implementation of a demonstration range program;

* Technological planning for management gaps;


ý In-service Training in Watershed Management

General Project Information:      

Project No: IRA/86/004
Project Title: In-service Training in Watershed Management
Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Tehran & Zanjan provinces
Counterpart Agency: UNDP
End Date: 1992

Project Outputs:

Training of senior expert, technician and rural people


ý South Khorasan Rangeland Rehabilitation

General Project Information:      

Project Title: South Khorasan Rangeland Rehabilitation and Refugee Income
Generation Project

Project Status: Completed
Project Site: Qaen – South Khorasan province
Counterpart Agency: IFAD/UNHCR
Start Date: June1989
End Date: June 1996

Project Outputs:

* Create employment and income for refugees and local inhabitants through the application of labor- incentive in the sub-project and generate employment opportunities for women in create-wearing;
* Arrest land degradation and desertification through afforestation, rangeland management, sand-dune stabilization, and construction of erosion control and water-harvesting structures;
* Develop desirable economic assets in the project area through reclamation of lands for grazing, improved feeding and health programs for livestock, efficient use of available irrigation resources;
* Improve technical skills through intensive on-the-job training in construction and protection works, livestock management and carpet-wearing.

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