The Iran Project: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Digikala have joined forces to boost livelihoods of Lake Urmia basin inhabitants. The area is home to approximately 5 million people, many dependent on agriculture and natural resources. The initiative promotes domestic economic diversification and greener jobs.
The agreement between Digikala, as one of the major e-commerce platforms in Iran and UNDP officially came into force in January 2022. “Green and Digital” has been designed to contribute to improving livelihoods of vulnerable communities, in particular the local women producers with the aim of improved skills, products, and access to e-commerce platforms where sustainable products that are responsibly cultivated and sourced can be placed, advertised and sold.
The project has its roots in one of UNDP Iran’s flagship interventions: the Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project, which is one of the longest running community-based interventions in the country – a joint initiative between Iran’s Department of Environment, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, and UNDP Iran. While promoting environmental sustainability practices, “Green & Digital” serves to as platform to address the digital divide and improve livelihoods.
The aim of this initiative is twofold: diversifying local producers’ customer base, and introducing new fair trade, and green practices to consumers. In the long run, “Green & Digital” objective is to seek sustainable involvement of Iran’s main e-commerce players, further develop marketing capacities of local producers in the field, and to promote greener and more responsibly produced products.
UNDP’s Resident Representative in Iran, Claudio Providas highlighted that “leveraging the potential of digitalization and innovation for development is a key priority for UNDP Iran. The initiative is in line with our COVID-19 recovery strategy and Iran’s national development priorities”.
Hamid Mohammadi, Chief Executive Officer of Digikala, pointed out that: “Economic sustainability is the precondition for sustainability of projects that have been implemented within the framework of Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project to create sustainable green jobs in the past. We are responsible in this national issue; beside Digikala, we would like to call on other e-commerce platforms to support the green products sourced from Lake Urmia basis and facilitate online buying and selling of them. Many Iranian nationals are concerned about Lake Urmia, and we can pave the way to support green businesses owned by people living in the area. This project could be the first step of a journey in which national tech companies establish appropriate ties with local communities and thereby contribute to formation of a fair economic cycle that is rooted in participation and environmental resilience”.