November 22, 2017

TEHRAN — Iran and European Union have started rounds of consultative meetings on air pollution, industrial emissions, sand and dust storms, water and marine related issues, and circular economy.

The 6-day meetings commenced here on November 21.

The sessions are the outgrowth of the Joint Statement by the High Representative of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, made on April, 16, 2016.

In light of this joint statement the Directorate General for the Environment of the European Commission and the Department of Environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran intend to establish a technical cooperation on environment.

Parvin Farshchi, deputy head of the department of environment for marine affairs, explained that the consultative meetings are aiming to establish bilateral technical cooperation to address environmental issues, exchange experience, and working out a roadmap for future joint activities with the European Union.

 As Farshchi has put it the first two days of the meetings have focused on industrial emissions, air quality, and sand and dust storms. The next two days falling on Tuesday and Friday is dedicated to water and marine related issues and the last two days of the series of the meetings will be discussing circular economy and waste management.

The EU delegation comprising 26 world leading experts along with the Iranian officials will hopefully draw up a five-year plan including short-term and medium-term policies to tackle environmental challenges Iran is facing, Farshchi suggested.

“Since environmental challenges do not confine to one nation enhancing technical cooperation and leading joint projects with the European Union would certainly produce positive outcomes both for Iran and the region,” she stated.

She further noted that it is yet to be decided whether EU is funding the environmental projects or not, however, their support can “act as a catalyst for raising funds from other international entities.”

As per a document setting the ‘framework for technical cooperation on the environment’ published on EU official website in recognition of the importance of protecting and conserving the environment, of the role of resource efficiency in achieving green growth, and in acknowledgement of Iran’s pressing environmental challenges, the two sides intend to:

Establish bilateral technical cooperation to address issues of air, soil and water pollution, water resources management, conservation and sustainable use of nature, biodiversity, desertification, waste disposal management, climate change mitigation and adaptation in sectoral responses, exchange experience with a view to identifying appropriate responses, including projects to tackle cross-border environmental challenges, and pollution, and exchange experience on marine environment, integrated coastal management and issues related to marine litter.