Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project Terminal Evaluation Report

Iran contains over 1’000 wetland sites, 24 of which are reflecting Ramsar sites and approximately 90
reflecting important wetlands under any kind of protection (either national or international). Like
many other countries, as Iran has developed, increasing pressure has been placed on its
environment and natural resources, including the wetlands. This culminated in the Ramsar
Convention was enacted in 1975. The CIWP is a joint initiative of the Government of the Islamic
Republic of Iran (GOIRI), GEF and UNDP to strengthen protection of the country’s important wetland
sites, principally by introducing improved systems of wetland management, incorporating human
activities bearing an influence on the biodiversity. The project has selected Lake Uromiyeh, Lake
Parishan and the Shadegan Wetland (the latter was added after the 2009 MTE) as demonstration
sites while the project has been trying to systematically address the following threats: (1) changes to
the water regime due to climatic and anthropocentric drivers, (2) environmental pollutions e.g.
aquatic pollution, (3) unsustainable exploitation of wetland resources, (4) conversion of wetland
habitats, land degradation in watersheds, (5) transport infrastructure, and (6) environmental and
ecological changes such as introduction of invasive species.
2. The goal of the project is to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of Iran’s system of wetland
protected areas as a tool for conserving globally significant biodiversity. The purpose is to
systematically remove or substantially mitigate threats facing globally significant biodiversity and
sustainability at two WPA demonstration sites and to scale up lessons learned within the wetlands
management system throughout Iran. The outcomes were threefold:
(1) Local WPA management structures (e.g., National Park offices, DoE Provincial offices) possess
and use enhanced capacities to effectively manage WPA sites, including dealing with most
‘internally arising’ threats to globally significant biodiversity,
(2) Inter-sectoral co-ordination structures, established at provincial and basin level, enhance the
sustainability of the WPA system by, inter alia, helping to address threats arising at ecosystem
level and,
(3) National-level WPA management and inter-sectoral co-ordination structures possess and utilise
enhanced capacities to strengthen WPA management, inter alia, by supporting the exchange of
knowledge and lessons learned through Outcomes 1&2 above.