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National Profiles
 
 

Area
total: 1.648 million sq km 
land: 1.636 million sq km
 

Coastline: 2,440 km. Including the border with the Caspian Sea (740 km)

Population: 65,179,752 (July 1999 est.)

Source: CIA Worldfact Book (2000)
 
 
 
 
 

 

Iran
flag
 


Country Contacts

Department of the Environment

Ministry of Science, Research & Technology

Iranian National Center for Oceanography

Ministry of Agriculture
 

Iran map
(Source:  CIA World Factbook 1999)
 
 

OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

For further information on the Iran's social and economic factors, natural resources, and institutional structures see the United Nations System-Wide Web Site on National Implementation of the Rio Commitments National Information for Iran at: 

http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/countr/iran/index.htm

The Islamic Republic of Iran has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (as of April 1998). 
 

Other Links

Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment

Caspian Environment Programme
 

Other Data
 

COASTAL MANAGEMENT IN IRAN

EUCC has compiled country files on Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) for all coastal states of Europe and Central Asia. Summaries for all countries will become available in August.
This page provides a preliminary summary on the following items for Iran: 

  • Spatial planning
  • Environment
  • Nature Conservation
  • Sectoral Development
  • Framework for Development of ICZM
  • National Achievements in the Field of ICZM
  • Problems and Constraints for the Development of ICZM

1. Spatial Planning


1.1 Legislation and Regulations

  • Law of the Second Five-Year Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan (1994-1998) declares it is obliged to prepare EIA as well as feasibility study for all major development projects. No further information received.

1.2 Administrative Competencies

There are three or more hierarchical levels: national, states (provincial) and local (municipal, urban, village). Different segments of government are responsible for coastal zone use and resources. Department of the Environment is responsible for wise land use and other developmental activities regarding the use of land. Municipalities also play an important role in Coastal Zone Management. No further information received.
 

1.3 Coastal Policy

The two provinces that lie on the Iranian Caspian coast are Mazandaran and Gilan, the first of which was divided into the two separate provinces Mazandaran and Golestan in 1997. In 1994, it was approved that Impact Assessment (EIA) is mandatory for all activities in the coastal areas of the Caspian Sea within the coastal zone. The concept of EIA is currently being implemented. No further information received.
 
 

2. Environment


2.1 Legislation and Regulations

  • Article 50 of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran declares protection of the environment a public obligation and therefore 'economic and any other activity, which results in pollution or irremediable destruction of the environment is prohibited'. [10]
  • Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (1974)
  • Law of Protection of the Sea and Internal Water Bodies Against the Oil and Oil-products Pollution (1975)
  • Law of Proper Use of Water Resources (1982)
  • Law of Environmental Protection Against Water Pollution (1984)
  • Law Applicable to Any Economical, Cultural, Societal Development (1989)
  • Law of Environmental Protection and Development (1991)
  • Law of Protection Against Natural Environmental Damages (1991)

Professional environmental audit still needs to be established including representatives from national and regional experts and NGOs as well as assisting NGOs for monitoring the environmental status. 

2.2. Administrative Competencies

The Department of the Environment (DoE) has the responsibility to 'guarantee wise and permanent use of the environment in compliance with sustainable development' as well as ' preventing the destruction and pollution of the environment, and taking decisive action to control critical environmental situations including extreme pollution'. [11] The functions of the DoE include undertaking investigation to identify pollutants and factors of destruction as well as identify the use of environmentally compatible technologies, regulate environmental standards in a variety of areas, promote and enhance environmental knowledge and understanding of the citizens to induce public interest and participation in protection of the environment. The Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) was initiated in an attempt to move from sectoral management of the coastal environment zone towards an inter-ministerial council. Also involved is the National Committee on Sustainable Development (INCSD), which has e.g. been responsible for preparing and submitting the standard procedures for EIA and feasibility study (1997, approved by the SCE in 1998). To combat natural disasters, a Committee for Mitigation of Natural Disasters was established in 1990 with the involvement of various ministries, departments and organisations. 

2.3 Environmental Policy

Long-term environmental concerns often have been subjugated to shorter-term industrial production and political goals. Iranian environmental protection efforts in the 1970s focused on conservation. [12] In 1993 the initiative was taken to start the National Strategy for Environmental Sustainable Development. Aims included creating a framework document on a National Strategy for Environment and Sustainable Development (NSESD), an environmentally-aware set of policies in the Second Five-Year Development Plan (1994-1999) and increasing public awareness on issues related to sustainable development in the country and their relationship to international environmental concerns. [13] Nowadays, conservation measures still predominate in Iran's environmental policies, [14] but in a recent interview Vice President Massumeh Ebtekar said that "the environment and ecology must become policy priorities" adding that the time had come "for a fight against pollution, in terms of living and protection of nature and animals". [15] Furthermore, an attempt has been made to identify the priority action requirements in a national context as well as the scope of regional co-operation in different aspects (in)directly related to the transboundary issues.
 

3. Nature Conservation
 

3.1 Legislation and Regulations

  • Law of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1974)
  • Law of Protection of the Natural Parks, Protected Areas and Sensitive Areas (1975)
  • Law of Proper Use of Water Resource (1982)

3.2 Administrative Competencies

The responsibilities of the Department of the Environment cover among other things the protection of wildlife, environmental reserves, wetlands and natural landscape preservation. Furthermore, the Hunting and Fishing Control Organisation was established, aiming at wild life research and study, reproduction and training, protection of the wild life habitats, and determination of certain places for special purposes such as natural parks. Moreover, a National High Commission on Oceanography was established in 1991, which includes seven committees involving different relevant ministries, organisations and departments. The Commission was established out of the needs to have well-coordinated oceanographic activities and better management of living and non-living resources. 

3.3 System of Protected Areas

Only 4% of the total land area of the coastal provinces are under environmental protection management projects. Currently there exist one National Park, three National-Natural Monuments, eight Wildlife Refuges and two Protected Areas. On the Caspian coastline are located three Wildlife Refuges, one National-Natural Monument (with an area of 749 km2) and one Protected Area. Furthermore there also exists an important Biosphere Reserve on the Iranian Caspian coast, for which no environmental protection measures or management have been developed. A National Action Plan for Marine Conservation reflecting the priority concerns of the nation still needs to be developed. 

4. Sectoral Development


4.1 Coastal Defence

In the last decade, sea level fluctuation has caused drastic damages to coastal areas. Construction of walls and dams as well as other defence work has been undertaken along the shoreline in order to protect the coast from sea level rise. However, these constructions have resulted in damages to and destruction of a variety of different shoreline habitats. 

4.2 Recreation and Tourism

Tourism is among the main activities in the Caspian coastal region. The Iranian Caspian coastal region can provide an extended area for recreational purposes since apart from ancient relics and historical monuments, the area also has many aesthetic values such as its coastal forests and plains. The provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan have several coastal resorts, residential coastal units and villa units scattered along their coastline. Various types of recreational facilities also exist in the province of Gilan such as recreational coastal complexes and coastal cabins. The total number of visitors in both coastal provinces was estimated at 3,254,770 in 1996, of which 97,92% were domestic tourists. [16

4.3 Fisheries and Aquaculture

Sturgeon provides the most valuable fishery resources of Iran in the Caspian Sea. Sturgeon fishery in Iran has taken place since 1927 under the supervision of the Fisheries Department in association with Fishermen's Co-operative Societies operating from 51 coastal stations. [17]  In recent years especially the catch rate of sturgeon has sharply declined. The fishing fleet in the southern Caspian is mainly based on small boats, their number having reduced considerably since gill netting has been banned. 

Aquaculture is among the main activities in the Caspian coastal region. It was primarily developed in direct support of the national fisheries industry to enhance the natural resources of the Caspian Sea and its lagoons. Hatchery production is a fundamental basis for resources for all culture-based fisheries. The rapid development of aquaculture is caused by a large number of initiatives undertaken by the Fisheries Department. At present 33 projects are in various stages of planning, construction and operation of which 10 are in the Caspian Sea. 

Relevant laws: Law of Protection and Exploitation of the Fisheries Resources (1974), Law Related to Punishment Applicable to the Over-exploitation of the Fishery Resources in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea (1979).

4.4 Transport and Energy

The Anzali and Nowshahr ports are both connected to other regions by road and air transportation systems. Iran is often (both geographically and economically) seen as a natural transit route for oil and gas exports from the landlocked Central Asian countries to world markets. This vision is complicated, however, by political considerations, particularly the U.S. policy opposing pipelines through Iran (the United States has made the construction of an oil pipeline from Baku, Azerbaijan to Ceyhan, Turkey the centrepiece of its Caspian policy). [18

As far as the energy sector is concerned, Iran is OPEC's second largest oil producer and holds 9% of the world's oil reserves and 15% of its gas reserves. Iran plans extensive development of existing offshore fields. [19] The exploration for offshore oil in Iranian Caspian waters started in 1980 and since then a number of explorations wells have been drilled, although, so far no oil has been encountered. [20] The rush to develop oil and gas resources in the Caspian Sea makes oil pollution in the Caspian a real environmental threat. Major increases in energy consumption over the past 20 years have contributed greatly to pollution levels as Iran's carbon emissions have nearly tripled over the same time span.In addition, Iran's abundance of fossil fuel resources has tended to discourage the incentive to shift to cleaner alternative energy sources for energy needs. [21] The Ports and Shipping Organisation has made an attempt to prepare an Oil Pollution Contingency Plan as well as preparedness and response programmes. 

4.5 Harbours and Shipping

There are two major trading ports in the southern Caspian Sea: Anzali (western seashore Gilan province) and Nowshahr (central zone region in the Mazandaran province). Both ports are utilised for transportation of passengers and major trading goods such as especially oil and petroleum. The annual amount of total trading goods passing through both ports was 585,279 in 1996, which included 29% of the total import-export of all the Iranian ports and harbours.  [22] Both of these ports receive moderate export and import from the littoral countries of the Caspian Sea including Baku (Azerbaijan) and Astra (Russia). Several oil pollution control facilities have been established in the Anzali and Nowshahr ports. 

4.6 Industry

Industrial development started in the coastal region in the beginning of the 1970s and within a short time span has caused a number of environmental problems. Industrial development has had detrimental effects on the environment of the coastal provinces. Most of the industries are located close to the sea or rivers causing considerable water pollution. About half of the total number of industrial units (7,170) in the provinces Mazandaran and Golestan are on the coastal zone (3,431). For the province of Gilan these numbers are 7,329 and 3,069 respectively. [23] The main fishing processing plants in the southern Caspian are for caviar processing, fish packing as well as tuna, carp and kilka canneries. The national fish food industry depends mainly on kilka resources. Mining is among the main occupations in the coastal provinces. There are two major types of mines present in the Caspian region, sodium sulphate and hydrocarbon. Both reserves are being utilised commercially in some parts. The sodium sulphate mine in Kara-Boghas is situated in the central part of the eastern coastline. 

4.7 Agriculture

Agriculture is an important activity in the Caspian coastal region. The total cultivated land areas in the two northern provinces are 1,502,425 hectares, of which 80% are in Mazandaran and Golestan and the remaining 20% in Gilan. In the first two provinces the main product is wheat, in the latter rice. The total agricultural product in both of the above provinces is estimated at 7,439,147 tons (81% for Mazandaran and Golestan and 19% for Gilan). [24]
 
 

5. Framework for the Development of ICZM

Iran has ratified the following conventions: 

  • Ramsar Convention On Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (1973)
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification
  • Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biodiversity Preservation
  • Basel Convention on the control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (1992)
  • Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-ordination (1997)

After acquiring certain port and harbour facilities, the Port and Shipping Organisation also plans to join MARPOL or International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. Furthermore, a Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea is currently under preparation. 

6. National Achievements in the Field of ICZM

  • A regional workshop on ëIntegrated Coastal Zone Managementí was organised in Chabahar, Iran in February 1996. It was attended by 38 Iranian participants. [25]
  • An attempt has been made to identify the priority action requirements in a national context as well as the scope of regional co-operation in different aspects (in)directly related to the transboundary issues. Among the ICZM-related priority actions mentioned are e.g. preparing legislation for the development of regional coastal zone management, adopting an integrated coastal zone management plan and upgrading the existing organisational framework for ICZM.
  • In 1997, a collaborative project was signed with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support activities in institutional strengthening of EIA, which is being implemented with the co-operation of the Plan & Budget Organisation (PBO) of I.R. Iran.

7. Problems and Constraints for the Development of ICZM
 

  • There exists no integrated coastal zone management plan.
  • Lack in the development of ICZM methods
  • Insufficient practical experience in the implementation of the ICZM process, plans and projects.
  • There is no dearth of statutes and laws that has provisions for instituting some aspects of ICZM. Such provisions are distributed over a wide spectrum of laws, making concerted action basically impossible. The authority for implementation of relevant laws is distributed over a large number of agencies.
  • The national environmental administrative framework needs to be strengthened. Dedicated national or sub-national institutions specifically mandated to carry out coastal zone management are needed.
  • Legislation in environmental planning needs to be strengthened.
  • Effective implementation procedures need to be developed.
  • National, stated, provincial and/or municipal laws and regulations related to marine and coastal uses should be collected and arranged chronologically. There is a need to develop specified GIS software and hardware based on the Caspian Sea data requirements.


    Public environmental awareness should be enhanced. Suitable programmes should be prepared for this purpose.


 

References
 

10

Iran Department of the Environment, Rules and Regulations. http://www.ir-doe.org/english/ghan2.htm

11

Iran Department of the Environment, Rules and Regulations. http://www.ir-doe.org/in10e3k.htm

12

Green Party of Iran/U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iran: Environmental Issues. http://www.iran-e-sabz.org/news/iranenv.html. April 2000.

13

UNDP - Sustainable Energy and Environment Division, Iran, Summary. http://www.undp.org/seed/cap21/iran.html

14

Green Party of Iran/U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iran: Environmental Issues. http://www.iran-e-sabz.org/news/iranenv.html. April 2000.

15

Green Party of Iran, Iran Facing Environmental Crisis, Warns Vice President. http://www.iran-e-sabz.org/news/iranenv.html. Source used: Interview with AFP on May 28th, 2000, Tehran.

16

Numbers: Farshchi, P., (Director CRTC-ITCAMP), Country Report: A Shift from Land-based Development to Sea-based Development. Islamic Republic of Iran. June 2000.

17

Numbers and dates: Farshchi, P., (Director CRTC-ITCAMP), Country Report: A Shift from Land-based Development to Sea-based Development. Islamic Republic of Iran. June 2000.

18

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iran. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/iran.html. February 2000.

19

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iran. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/iran.html. February 2000.

20

Farshchi, P., (Director CRTC-ITCAMP), Country Report: A Shift from Land-based Development to Sea-based Development. Islamic Republic of Iran. June 2000.

21

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iran. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/iran.html. February 2000.

22

Numbers: Farshchi, P., (Director CRTC-ITCAMP), Country Report: A Shift from Land-based Development to Sea-based Development. Islamic Republic of Iran. June 2000.

23

Numbers: Farshchi, P., (Director CRTC-ITCAMP), Country Report: A Shift from Land-based Development to Sea-based Development. Islamic Republic of Iran. June 2000.

24

Numbers: Farshchi, P., (Director CRTC-ITCAMP), Country Report: A Shift from Land-based Development to Sea-based Development. Islamic Republic of Iran. June 2000.

25

Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands (CSI), Iran. http://www.unesco.org/csi/act/other/iran.htm 

Prepared by Marian Eeltink at EUCC International Secretariat
© Copyright: European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC), 2000



 

Last update November 27, 2000

 


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 For archive purposes, this article is being stored on TheWE.cc website

The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.
       For more on Iran click hereEnvironment News

TheWE.cc