UNESCO Tehran Cluster Countries celebrated the 50th Anniversary of UNESCO-MAB and the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove

On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of UNESCO's Man & the Biosphere Programme and of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, in close cooperation with UNESCO Offices in Islamabad and New Delhi, the Municipality of Bandar Khamir of Iran, the Iranian and the Turkmenistan National Commissions for UNESCO and the Department of Environment of Iran, organized an event, which took place virtually on 26 July 2021.

Mr Cvetan Cvetkovski, the Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, warmly welcomed the participants in the event. Dr. Cvetkovski stressed that the fact that more than 200 million people live in designated Biosphere Reserves means that UNESCO MAB is a programme for the people, and that people are the main part of the nature. One of the main tasks of Biosphere Reserves is to show that nature and humans can live in balance.

He emphasized that "in order to promote mangrove conservation, restoration, and sustainable use, UNESCO Tehran Office supported the municipality of Bandar-Khamir in Iran to conduct a science based project on environmental-friendly water management in Hara Biosphere Reserve, with focus on the sustainable livelihood and that this event is part of the project”.

The second speaker, Mr. Javad Mahmoodi, the mayor of Bandar Khamir, highlighted that when local people benefit from ecosystem services, they will be more motivated to protect it and we started the sustainable tourism in participatory manner to achieve this goal.

Ms. Patricia McPhillips, Director, UNESCO Islamabad Office and Country Representative to Pakistan emphasized the importance of youth’s, girls’ and women’s engagements, as change-makers to lead ecosystem restoration initiatives.

Dr. Hojatollah Ayoubi, Secretary General of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, talked about the role of awareness raising and the media in protecting the natural resources. This is a common concern of all and human beings should use it wisely and preserve it for future generations.

Mrs. Chinar Rustamova, Executive Secretary of the Turkmenistan National Commission for UNESCO, focused on the activities carried out in Turkmenistan in the field of biodiversity conservation. She stressed that “the cooperation with UNESCO in the field of environmental protection and the activation of Turkmenistan's involvement in the implementation of the projects under the “Man and the Biosphere” program, are becoming a priority in the foreign policy of our country”.

The webinar continued with a technical session and four presentations, presented from India by Dr. Pradeep Vyas, Senior Forest Officer on “Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, India, Management & Mangrove Conservation”, followed by Dr. Ali Bali from Iran, Deputy, Natural Environment and Biodiversity Division, Department of Environment of Iran on “Biosphere Reserves in Iran”.

The presentation from Pakistan, delivered by Dr. Bilquees Gul, Professor and Director of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization (ISHU), University of Karachi on “Mangrove Ecosystem Rehabilitation”, followed by the representative of Turkmenistan, Mr. Serdar Eyeberenov, Deputy Head of Department on Environmental Protection and Hydrometeorology, who  delivered his presentation on” Biological diversity of Turkmenistan”.

By answering the questions asked by the participants, the event concluded by closing remarks from Dr. Cvetan Cvetkovski. He expressed his sincere gratitude to the participants, mentioning that such a gathering and dialogues gives the kind of great encouragement that we as the countries and the international community need to work together towards achieving our  common goals in preservation of the biosphere in general and the conservation of the mangrove ecosystems in particular.