UN Assistant Secretary-General and the UNDP Director of the RBAP wraps up four-day visit to Iran
June 27, 2023
27 June 2023, Tehran – Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP) visited the I.R. of Iran last week.
During her four-day visit, Ms. Wignaraja met with national and international counterparts including officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Environment, members of the diplomatic corps and the private sector to discuss potential areas of partnership.
She also had the opportunity to interact with some of the small, medium size enterprises project representatives such as women entrepreneurs. UNDP Iran, through its initiatives has been supporting the economic empowerment of women by introducing alternative livelihoods and generating green jobs in different provinces of Iran. UNDP Iran has also supported the rural producers to connect to urban and digital marketplaces. “When women have more income, the nutrition in the household goes up, education goes up, health goes up. This is the story we need to share,” said Ms. Wignaraja during this meeting.
Ms. Wignaraja visited Salehiyeh Wetland, considered as one of the hotspots for sand and dust storms in the country. Last year, UNDP facilitated a technical session during the Inter-Governmental Ministerial Meeting on “Environmental Cooperation for a Better Future” which resulted in a cross-border project on sand and dust storms management and adaptation.
While visiting the wetland, she said: “Globally, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is a very important convention. In the last few years, we have seen the rate of desertification rapidly increase. Addressing issues around water and reforestation are going to be an integral part of the solution. The convention also relates matters of climate change, and on biodiversity, which are also very important. To tackle this environmental challenge, the primary resources must come from the Government of Iran since Iran is considered as a middle-income country with a smaller share of grant funding. Like most developed and developing countries, local resources such as public investment and private sector are the most meaningful component of the development finance architecture.”
This was Ms. Wignaraja’s first visit to Iran, and she deeply appreciated the hospitality and the rich culture and history of the country.