The regional workshop and roundtable discussion on “Exploring Different Approaches aimed at Overcoming Environmental Sustainability Challenges” was co-chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran Ministry of Energy (in coordination with the Department of Environment and with the support of UNESCO Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) – Tehran) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The event was held in Tehran at the Ministry of Energy`s Office on November 22 and 25, 2015 with a case study based field trip to Isfahan carried out in between these dates on November 23 and 24.

Goal of the discussion

The discussions focused on establishing a better understanding of the root causes of the water crisis in the region as well as of the link between environmental sustainability issues[1] and the onset of emergencies[2]. The goals of the discussion were to identify: (1) policy relevant considerations based on practice that aim to overcome environmental sustainability challenges; and (2) practical measures that can improve responses to environmental emergencies and crises. A further goal was to establish networks that may lead to the regional cooperation required to reinforce the outcomes at national and regional levels.

[1] For the purpose of the event, environmental sustainability issues will primarily focus on water scarcity, but could also include other related issues such as the loss of arable land (desertification and deforestation).

[2] The scope of emergencies for the purpose of this event shall include natural disasters, armed conflict, refugee and IDP crises, and mass migration. Note: to be raised by the individual country representatives as they see fit.