On the 6th of June, UNESCO celebrated World Environment Day with the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Department of Environment.
The event took place in Niavaran Cultural and Historical Complex under the theme of “Environment, Youth and Social Participation”, and brought together a wide range of participants, including high-ranking Government officials, NGOs, artists, sport federations, academics, and youth.
“Today’s meeting is trying to take an interdisciplinary look at the issue of the environment and calls upon different social groups to engage in environmental protection, conservation and development”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office.
The global theme of the 2016 World Environment Day is “Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade”.
Ms. Kuisch Laroche spoke about the importance of protecting wildlife as an essential component of sustainable development.“Here in the Islamic Republic of Iran, important efforts have been made to protect the Asiatic Cheetah, a critically endangered cheetah subspecies, surviving today only in Iran. The commitment of the Department of Environment to save these majestic animals from extinction is an example of the kind of determination and political will, which is required to conserve our wildlife. However, it will take more than just legislation to preserve our wildlife and biodiversity. In order to be successful, we need greater awareness-raising amongst the general public, and we need NGOs, UN agencies, civil society, youth, the private sector and local authorities to all work together towards this goal.”
H.E. Dr. Ebtekar, Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Head of the Department of Environment spoke of the successful collaboration between the Department of Environment and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in this regard. She mentioned that the national football team had decided to put a picture of the Asiatic Cheetah on their shirts, which had helped to raise awareness and had started an important social movement to protect Iranian wildlife.
H.E. Dr. Goudarzi, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports also talked about the significant role that sports clubs and athletes could play in raising awareness for important causes, such as the environment.
Dr. Mirzadeh, President of the Islamic Azad University, talked about the establishment of the UNESCO Chair in Clean and Renewable Energies in 2014. He expressed the hope to foster closer cooperation between the University and UNESCO in the field of environment. To this end, an MOU was signed between Islamic Azad University and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, during the ceremony.
Other speakers included Dr. Tabesh, Head of the Environment Group of the Islamic Parliament of Iran, and Dr. Mousavi, Executive Deputy of the Passive Defense Research Centre.
World Environment Day is celebrated each year around the globe on the 5th of June.