On the Occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity

Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 09:59

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

The welfare and prosperity of people now and in the future, depends on a “rich variety of life on earth” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his message for the International Day for Biological Diversity, UN News reports.

“Achieving these objectives is integral to meet our goals for sustainable development,” Mr. Guterres stressed, underscoring the importance of protecting, restoring and ensuring access to ecosystems to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger: Goals 1 and 2 of what are known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To mitigate climate change, he notes that deforestation and land degradation must be reduced while at the same time, enhancing carbon stocks in forests, drylands, rangelands and croplands.

He said it was also critical to protect the biodiversity of forests and watersheds to support clean and plentiful water supplies. Yet, despite these and other benefits, biodiversity continues to decline globally.

“The answer is to intensify efforts and build on successes,” stated Mr. Gutteres. He explained that in 2018, Parties to the Convention will begin work on a new action plan to ensure that, by 2050, biodiversity is preserved to the best of our abilities.

“The entire world needs to join this effort,” he emphasized: “I urge governments, businesses and people everywhere to act to protect the nature that sustains us. Our collective future depends on it,” concluded the Secretary-General.

According to Iran’s Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity published on its website, Iran is located in West Asia and borders the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Gulf of Oman. The mountains enclose several broad basins, or plateaus, on which major agricultural and urban settlements are located. With an area of 1,648,000 square kilometers, Iran ranks eighteenth in size among the countries of the world.

Despite the fact that much of Iran is dry, the wetlands of Iran are globally significant; large populations of migratory birds winter at these wetlands or use them on their way. The complex and varied climates, topography, geological formations and anthropological management of natural resources have led to a varied and unique biological diversity in the country.

In the Iranian ecosystems approximately 8,000 species of plants, 197 species of mammals, 535 species of birds, 227 species of reptiles, 21 species of amphibians, 160 species of freshwater fishes and 710 species of marine fishes have been recorded. Iran is one of the most significant countries in the Middle East and Western Asia for conservation of biological diversity. Habitat diversity in the country allows for a wide range of animals to inhibit in Iran.

Regarding the ecosystem diversity of marine and coastal zones in the North and South of the country, it consists of 25 ecological types and units, in which the most important are coral reefs, bays and small islands.

However, water scarcity, land degradation and pollution are three main threats to Iran biodiversity .Iran faces serious water shortage caused by inadequate natural water supply resources and development of water infrastructures such as dams.

Soil loss is another threat to biodiversity brought about by salination, sedimentation, erosion, desertification, deforestation, inadequate land-use planning, and overgrazing.

In rapidly urbanized areas, air pollution originating from vehicle emissions and industrial effluents has become a serious environmental and public health hazard concern. The sand and dust storms in recent years has taken on new dimensions in Iran and has changed from a local problem to a national issue. The primary source of the dust storms that are regularly and negatively impacting Iran’s air quality lies in the neighboring countries as well as dried up wetlands inside the country.

The biodiversity is important for water resources, agricultural and aquaculture productivity and as a result the food security, human health, climate, and economy. Livelihoods of millions of people in Iran are completely dependent on biodiversity of their surroundings.

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