Country Profiles

Iran (Islamic Republic of) - Main Details

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Most of Iran is located in the Palaearctic realm and is considered the center of origin of many genetic resources of the world, including many of the original strains of commercially valuable plant species, such as wheat and medicinal/aromatic species. The southwest has some Afro-tropical features, while the southeast has some species from the Indo-Malayan subtropical realm. Iranian habitats support some 8,200 species of plants, of which 1,900 species are endemic. Woodlands cover 12.4 million hectares and Avicenna mangroves cover around 10,000 hectares along the Persian Gulf. Studies indicate that there are over 500 species of birds, 160 species of mammals, 1,035 species of fishes (including 750 species in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, of which 9 are endemic), 100 species belonging to the Caspian Sea (10 endemics) and 185 species living in inland and fresh waters (15 endemics).

Ecosystem services arising from biodiversity in the country are particularly important for maintaining agricultural genetic diversity, however also important for soil and water quality regulation, fisheries (especially regarding sturgeon), reducing the rate of desertification and in regard to possibilities for developing ecotourism in the future.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Iran’s environment is under a lot of pressure and faces many threats, such as: desertification, soil erosion, overgrazing, loss of traditional knowledge, lack of awareness, population pressure, unsustainable consumption/production levels and over-exploitation. Coastal habitats and water resources are being polluted by oil, and industrial and agricultural activities. Overfishing is also a major threat for many fish species. Many projects have been put forward to halt the degradation of ecosystems, such as integrated fertilizer management, irrigation and inland water management, afforestation, as well as initiatives related to mountains.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Iran’s NBSAP (2003) is based on the outcomes of many workshops and studies that attempted to link together research results, uses and policies. Reports addressing the following five topics of biodiversity served as the basis for analysis: a) the intersection of social, political and economic issues in biodiversity assessment; b) land use in agriculture, forestry and fisheries; c) biodiversity status at ecosystem, species and genetic levels; d) links between cultural (traditional knowledge and religious beliefs) and biodiversity; and e) the study of sensitive ecosystems. This resulted in the development of 4 strategies on: a) the promotion of public awareness and participation; b) the formation of biodiversity information systems; c) the sustainable use of biodiversity resources; and d) the integrated conservation of biodiversity.

Iran has initiated a process for updating and revising its NBSAP.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The following activities contained in Iran’s current Biodiversity Action Plan have contributed (and continue to contribute) to the achievement of the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets:

• Development of principles, guidelines, policies and procedures for formal education curricula and informal education modules in biodiversity conservation;

• Awareness-raising among specialists and other human resource groups about the different aspects of biodiversity;

• Plan for the use of social institutions in biodiversity conservation, promoting awareness and strengthening public participation, particularly in regard to local stakeholders and communities;

• Comprehensive program for protecting traditional knowledge, innovations and practices related to biodiversity conservation;

• Strengthening of research infrastructure related to biodiversity conservation;

• Development and establishment of means for national biodiversity assessment, monitoring and reporting;

• Compilation of principles, strategies, policies and regulations for biotechnology development;

• Development and strengthening of international and regional cooperation in biodiversity conservation matters;

• Development and implementation of strategies in development sectors;

• Strengthening of national legal and jurisdictional procedures for biodiversity conservation;

• Strengthening of economic and environmental considerations in national management systems for biodiversity resources;

• Strengthening of land use planning in the country;

• Development of principles, policies and regulations for the application of environmental rules;

• Development of cleaner industrial production procedures;

• Development of sustainability indicators and a plan for their application in biodiversity-related activities;

• Development and implementation of a comprehensive plan for ecotourism;

• Development and implementation of an integrated plan for agrobiodiversity conservation;

• Establishment of a proper structure for coordinating biodiversity-related activities of governmental organizations;

• Organization of forest and rangeland rehabilitation activities;

• Support for in situ and ex situ biodiversity, emphasizing endangered plant and animal species;

• Strengthening of the protected areas network; confronting biodiversity loss;

• Conservation of aquatic biomes; and

• Conservation of endangered species.

As previously mentioned, actions have also been initiated in regard to revising and updating the first NBSAP which will incorporate: biodiversity indicators, targets and specific strategies for implementing CBD priority objectives; means for improving public awareness on conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity resources; field studies on selected species and ecosystems for a better understanding of biodiversity status and trends, and implementation of conservation and rehabilitation measures for threatened endemic species; implementing and further supporting conservation projects encouraging a community-based approach to natural resource management, sustainable use and biodiversity conservation; further increasing protected areas, including the establishment of new protected areas, the extension of existing ones, completion of all management plans for protected areas, including improving management effectiveness and facilitating financial sustainability; establishment of a national biosafety system and completion and implementation of national biosafety regulations; improvement in law enforcement, including the strengthening of controls on the use of illegal resources.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

One of the most important pieces of legislation for supporting the implementation of the Convention is Article 50 of the Constitution, which declares that the current generation has a public duty to safeguard the environment for the benefit of future generations. Nevertheless, environmental conservation is still considered a barrier to large-scale national development projects and, as a result, the Department of the Environment has faced numerous difficulties in mainstreaming the NBSAP.

Notably, the Fourth National Development Plan (2005-2009) devoted an entire chapter to environmental protection and strongly emphasizes the Government’s commitment to implementing the NBSAP.

A significant impact of the NBSAP has been its influence in bringing all relevant stakeholders together to discuss the difficult issues facing biodiversity conservation.

A biodiversity data management mechanism has been introduced by the College of Environment and through dissemination activities, including capacity-building, a number of provincial offices of the Department of the Environment and other organizations have considerably improved their know-how on preparing policy statements, developing strategies and concrete action plans. It is necessary to point out that the proposed strategies emphasize developing a strong systematic link between national biodiversity management and planning bodies in the country. A biodiversity sub-committee established under the National Sustainable Development Committee consists of representatives from related ministries and organizations and continues to work to update some parts of the action plans according to developments at national and regional levels.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

It is hoped that the NBSAP project will be followed up in the Fifth National Development Plan. However, a clear and accurate assessment of progress will not be possible without a suite of indicators and a transparent monitoring mechanism which currently do not exist.