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The European Union (EU) provided EUR 10 million to support the restoration of the transboundary Hamoun wetlands at the Iran-Afghanistan border. The new five-year initiative will be implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in close cooperation with Iran’s Department of Environment.
A look at Iran’s map shows the extent of desert areas and the scarcity of water. The wetlands have always been a unique ecosystem of critical local, national and international importance with ecological and socio-economic values. However, due to acceleration of climate change, mismanagement of water resources, use of traditional irrigation systems by local farmers, and lack of a formal agreement between Iran and Afghanistan, the once fertile wetlands have dried up drastically in the past two decades.
Years of natural and man-made disasters have severely impacted the nature and the livelihoods across the Hamoun wetlands. Many local businesses stopped their activities, leaving people without jobs. Crops have been compromised due to lack of rain and water, increasing the level of food insecurity. Sandstorms last longer causing a higher rate of respiratory and heart diseases. People leave their homes in search for areas which can provide for better livelihoods. This project will promote integrated natural resource management for the restoration of the wetland ecosystems and support alternative livelihoods development for the local communities in the Hamoun wetlands through:
- Enhancing capacities and coordination among local entities for improved management of Hamoun Wetlands
- Sustainable land and water management
- Climate-smart agriculture and alternative livelihoods