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Marking 10 years of combating desertification by Carbon Sequestration Project

TEHRAN, 05 May 2013- Today the Carbon Sequestration Project (CSP) led by Bureau of Desert Affairs, in the Forest, Range and Watershed Organization (FRWO) and supported by UNDP celebrated 10 years of progress in combatting desertification in Iran.

10 years ago, in April 2003, the first phase of the project -funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) began in Hossein Abad, South Khorasan province with the aim to demonstrate that desertified rangelands can be cost effectively reclaimed by and for the benefit of the local community.

Upon the successful implementation of the first phase, the second phase started in 2010 for a period of five years in 40 villages and across 225 thousand hectares, to ensure that people are fully involved in sustainable management of natural resources. For this reason the existing Village Development Groups (VDGs) were strengthened and new ones were created and legally identified to represent the needs and interest of villagers.

In April 2012, the project was expanded to include sites in the provinces of Kerman (Shahdad) and Tehran (Mallard).

Following the successful outcomes of the project, both UNDP and the FRWO agreed to further replicate the methods and mechanisms of the project in four other provinces (Alborz, Bushehr, Markazi, and Semnan). This agreement was signed during this ceremony, as an addendum to the project.

"The impressive results and achievements of this successful project in terms of financial, social and participatory revival of the destroyed natural resources have gone beyond the Southern Khorasan province and, today, it is nationally renowned as a successful experience in the comprehensive and sustainable development of villages" said Mr. Alireza Owrangi, Deputy Minister of Jihad Agriculture and Head of FRWO in his opening remarks.

He added that this success "is the product of close partnership and effort between the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United Nations Development Programme and – most importantly – the participation and endless and most sincere empathy of villagers."

United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Gary Lewis, appreciated the partnership and efforts of the implementing parties, especially the representatives of the local community, who were among the participants. He stated that "during the past few years, the FRWO has been undertaking a significant effort – through many projects – to raise the rate of Iran’s carbon sequestration. The Carbon Sequestration Project is one of these initiatives. Through this work we have built feasible working models. And this is what the new phase of the project is meant to reproduce." UNDP’s supporting role in the Addendum will help up-scale participatory approaches to rangeland rehabilitation and desertification, help institutional strengthening and improve linkages between environmental rehabilitation and poverty reduction.

UNDP has also agreed to provide technical support through international consultancy missions and South-South Cooperation initiatives, and enable further contribution by Iran to implement the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

According to the addendum signed during this ceremony of the 10th anniversary of CSP, in 5 years the project will cover a total area of 684,800 Ha in Iran:


Province Area (Ha)
South Khorasan 225,000
Tehran 80,000
Alborz 80,000
Semnan 50,000
Markazi 50,000
Bushehr 61,800
Kerman 138,000
Total 684,800

The Carbon Sequestration Project activities focus on MDGs 1 , 3, and 7.

1st time to calculate Human Development Index (HDI)
at provincial level


The latest results of monitoring and evaluation of the project in South Khorasan province show that during the first phase, the Human Development Index (HDI) has changed from 0.441 in the first year to 0.517 in the fourth year.

This is the first time that the HDI is calculated for project at provincial level.

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