On 16 August 2017, the UNESCO Chair in Natural Disasters Management organized the “Economic Development of Rural Regions Expert Workshop”, with the support of Iranian National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office. The meeting took place at the Islamic Revolution Housing Foundation in Tehran.
The workshop focused on the fundamentals of sustainable development, economic development and resilient economy in Iranian rural areas.
Speaking on the topic of sustainable management of natural resources for economic development in rural areas, UNESCO Representative, Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, said: “The sustainable management of natural resources is not only a necessity for the planet– it is also an economic opportunity for rural regions - for both men and women. I believe that here in Iran, there is a lot of potential to further develop eco-tourism and cultural tourism in rural areas, and much more could be done to promote the production and sale of quality handicrafts and eco-friendly products to create alternative livelihoods and support sustainable local economic development.”
The UNESCO Representative stressed the importance of addressing economic development of rural areas from an inter-sectoral and multidimensional perspective.
“Unsustainable land use and climate change can lead to land degradation, including soil erosion, nutrient depletion, water scarcity, salinity, desertification, and the disruption of biological cycles”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche. “Rural areas, which are home to 3.39 billion people today, play a vital role in the preservation of our natural resources.”
Ms. Kuisch Laroche introduced UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which currently counts 669 sites in 120 countries. In Iran, there are 12 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, where UNESCO seeks to promote models of sustainable development and environmental conservation.
To learn more about UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves, please see: