The signing ceremony of the multilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration on developing an innovative and integrated platform for sustainable development of Sistan was held on July 28th, 2021, at the Department of Environment (DoE). This MoU is an agreement between and among Deputy of Marine Environment and Wetlands of the DoE, deputy of planning and economic affairs of the Ministry of Jihad Agriculture, General Governor of Sistan and Baluchestan province and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The primary purpose of the MoU is to enhance the participation and collaboration of the parties mentioned above on the development of an innovative and integrated platform for sustainable development in Sistan as well as support the less water-intensive livelihoods in the area to boost their adaptation to climate change and drought. This MoU is in line with the objectives of the “Integrated Natural Resource Management and Socio-Economic Development of Sistan” project.
Ahmadreza Lahijanzadeh, Deputy of Marine Environment and Wetlands of the DoE, pointed out that Sistan Project has tried to bolster and guarantee the inter-sectoral cooperation and interaction between project key stakeholders through various actions, namely prepare and sign efficient and feasible MoUs, support quick-win projects, and utilize existing opportunities and potentials in the region. He also stressed that given the numerous efforts that have been made to enhance the local community livelihood in the Sistan region, this project would also try in this regard through this MOU and applying innovative and creative ideas to exert less pressure on natural resources, especially water resources.
Mandana Zanganeh, Deputy of Economic and Planning Affairs of General Governor of Sistan and Baluchestan Province, expressed her gratitude for DoE and UNDP effective and proper endeavor being applied in the region and the efforts being made to prepare the MoU, stated her contentment for signing this MoU and the willingness of provincial government to facilitate the coordination between local government authorities and Sistan project.
Vahid Poormandan, Head of Sistan and Baluchestan Department of Environment, expressed his satisfaction with activities being done to develop Sistan, such as supporting handicrafts, pottery, production of textiles, and branding. He emphasized that creating awareness of the project’s perspectives will help in the effective execution of the project.
Mazen Gharzeddine, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Iran, mentioned the importance of cooperation in the Sistan project, declared that “the more people feel responsible and ownership over their land and water of homelands, the higher hope emerges for the success of such projects.”
Falsafi, Acting National Project Manager of Sistan project, presented a summary of project progress and plans for the coming year and acknowledged Sistan province authorities’ cooperation and full support of the Deputy of Marine Environment and Wetlands of the DoE.
In the end, the MoU for collaboration on developing an innovative and integrated platform for sustainable development of Sistan was signed by all parties.
The project “Enhancing integrated natural resource management for the restoration of wetland ecosystems and support to alternative livelihoods development of local communities,” abbreviated as the Sistan Project, is a joint project, which is launched in 2020 with specific objectives for the following five years between the Iranian Department of Environment (DoE) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which is funded by the European Union (EU). This MoU will hopefully provide an opportunity to create comprehensive and efficient development mechanisms through the collaboration of the Ministry of Jihad Agriculture, the vital governance role of the General Governor of Sistan and Baluchestan province, and UNDP as a link to EU, which will convey the novel ideas and technologies at an international scale.