To value Hamoun International Wetland and increase awareness and attention to this biosphere reserve, a ceremony was held on World Wetlands Day at the Hamoun International Wetland Visitor Center near Khajeh Mountain on Tuesday February 10, 2010.
In this ceremony, which was organized by the General Department of Environment of Sistan and Baluchestan Province in cooperation with the Sistan Project, provincial officials, the governor’s office, the environment, and some residents spoke.
Modarres Khiabani, the governor of Sistan and Baluchestan, regretted the desertification of Hamoun, the destruction of agriculture, and other sources of income from the wetland and pointed out the governor’s action toward this issue. These measures included transferring water from wells in the first to third Chah-Nimeh to wells in the fourth to supply drinking water to Zabul and Zahedan, digging wells in different parts of the province, digging wells in Harmak area to supply water to Zahedan, and mobile water supply to 1300 villages in Sistan region, the beginning of the wetland and groundwater project from the beginning of 1401, the overhaul of the Oman Sea water transfer project to Zahedan and the delivery of water to Zahedan until 1404, the formation of a national committee to rehabilitate Hamoun wetland in coordination with the government and governorate and relevant bodies. Advancing the goals of the Sistan project with the support of the United Nations Development Program and with the financial support of the European Union, the revival of border markets and the operation of the Milk and Gomshad borders and emphasizing the efforts and use of all possible capacities to realize the water rights of Hamoun Wetland.
Hamoun Governor Jamshid Rakhshani was one of the speakers at the event, who talked about plans based on Sistan without water, determined the status of the free zone, and presented a report on the follow-up to the water dispute the Foreign Ministry’s negotiations with the Afghan side.
In addition, Davood Mirshekar, head of the General Department of Environmental Protection in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, emphasized the use of indigenous knowledge, the experience of local people, and the employment of motivated and elite youth.
The Director-General of the Office of Conservation and Rehabilitation of Wetlands of the Deputy Minister of Marine Environment and Wetlands of the Environmental Protection Organization, while referring to 20 years of studies on Hamoon Wetland, emphasized the comprehensive efforts of the government and the system and using the potential of floods to rehabilitate Hamoon Wetland. Arezoo Ashrafizadeh also considered the diversion of water by the Afghan government inside its borders illegal and said that solving the dust problem and finding a solution for the sustainable development of the Hamoon Wetland ecosystem depends on the efforts of both countries.
Neda Asad Falsafizadeh, Sistan Project Manager, aims to “promote comprehensive natural resource management to revitalize wetland ecosystems and support alternative livelihoods of local communities” Including agriculture compatible with the climate and alternative livelihoods, he noted that in addition to focusing on the protection of natural resources and biodiversity of Hamoon Wetlands, the project also focuses on designing an integrated development model to achieve better living conditions and well-being for residents.
The head of the Sistan project stated that the axes of regional development are renewable energy, capacity building in the direction of smart agriculture to climate, tourism and handicrafts, cross-border exchanges, and small-scale businesses, and expressed hope that we can revitalize our wetland with proper management and public planning. And strengthen friendships.
Some locals then expressed their demands and expectations and called on the authorities to follow up on regional issues.
The ceremony continued with a visit to the photo exhibition of Hamoun Wetland, and the winners of the Hamoun Photo Contest received awards and a plaque of appreciation.
On the sidelines of the ceremony, the unveiling of Hamoun’s video documentary was held. This book, which was commissioned by the Sistan project and published with photographs by Ali Mohajeran and Hamed Gholami, is a visual narrative of the natural and human appearance of Hamoun Wetland over time.