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SIR, Geneva Water Hub discuss hydro management in two-day workshop

The School of International Relations, the Iranian Ministry of Energy"s International Affairs Department, as well as the Geneva University"s Water Hub agency held a workshop on 4th and 5th of May in order to discuss issues pertaining to hydro management. The two-day event was staged with the presence of at least 60 experts and academicians from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Energy, Agriculture, Iran"s Parliament as well as the SIR students. Three distinguished professors from the University of Geneva, namely Christian Brethaut, Mara Tignino, Lena Salame, discussed Switzerland"s plans concerning extraterritorial water resources, principles and frameworks of international water law, protection of water infrastructure, and methods of resolving water disputes with neighboring countries.
As the workshop commenced, Jalal Kalantari, the Iranian Foreign Ministry"s Director for Hydro Diplomacy department, read out a statement made by Foreign Ministry"s Deputy for Political Affairs, Seyyed Abbas Araqchi. Farhad Yazdandoust, who is an advisor to Iran"s Minister of Energy, as well as Switzerland"s Deputy Chief of Mission in Iran, Kim Sitzler, were also amongst those who gave speeches.
In the statement, Araqchi expressed hope that such events will help encourage and foster public awareness. He also stressed the need for ratcheting up global cooperation in order to present new strategies for mediating in water disputes. The senior Iranian diplomat noted that hydro diplomacy seeks to expand sustainable cooperation in water-related issues between regional countries. Araqchi added that water diplomacy will not only act as a deterrent in bringing an end to outstanding differences, but it can present confidence-building measures in a wide range of political, economic and cultural fields and pave the way to press ahead with sustainable development plans.

The deputy foreign minister underlined the significance of enhancing public awareness with regards to hydro diplomacy and pursuing collaborative researches as key factors in utilizing the Islamic Republic"s water strategies and policies.

Araqchi further pointed to the facts on the ground concerning water disputes and called for taking necessary measures to tackle environmental changes and water scarcity. "Negotiations, adopting an appropriate mechanism, mapping out mutual interests, full implementation of bilateral agreements as well as taking into consideration international laws about extraterritorial waters can lay concrete foundations for cooperation and fend off deleterious consequences of water crisis across the Middle East" Araqchi said.

He also expressed Iran"s willingness to exhaust all efforts in order to offer its unflinching support to any plans for expanding cooperation between neighboring countries on issues relating to water.

At the closing ceremony, dean of the School of International Relations, Dr. Mohammad Hassan Sheikholeslami, the Iranian Foreign Ministry"s director for Hydro Diplomacy Department as well as the representatives of Geneva Water Hub summed up the discussions and awarded certificates of attendance to the participants.

You may also find Dr. Araqchi"s full statement below:

Iran"s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs" Massage to the Workshop on Water Governance and Cooperation (Tehran, Sir, May 4, 2019)

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Dear Friend, Colleagues,
Distinguished guests,
Students of School of International Relations,

This is a timely and important event on the educational and training aspects of water diplomacy, today, May 4, 2019. I am happy that this event is jointly managed by The School of International Relations and Ministry for Water and Energy and Swiss Development Agency, represented by Geneva Water Hub/University of Geneva.
Let me, at the outset, express my thanks to Dr. Shikholeslami, Dean of the School of International Relations, for hosting this Workshopon Water Diplomacy and, Dr. Yazdandost, adviser to the Minister for Water and Energy on international affairs, for hisfacilitating role in the course of organizing of the workshop.
My thanks goes to Amb. Kalantari, Director for Water Diplomacy, for the excellent efforts from the inception of the idea to organize series of water related workshops, led to this ongoing event which is, basically, the Second Water Diplomacy Workshop,held in the School of International Relations.
It is notable that the second workshop is convening with help and assistance of Geneva Water Hub/University of Geneva.
Based on Holy Qoran, every living creature, takes its life from water. Thus, water is the basic element of our world, without which, the entire life will be disappeared from the face of the earth. We need innovative ideas for sustainable water management and international and regional cooperation should be an integral component of any strategy to address water scarcity and related challenges. I hope this event would contribute to raising awareness, with tangible outcome in meeting its objectives.
Dear Participants,
Water diplomacy is a dynamic and evolving process amid at sustainable water cooperation, between communities, Countries, and in a large geopolitical context, in the regions. It is not just a preventive instrument or an approach for conflict management, but a platform for confidence building measures which include all sorts of water related cooperation in a political, economic, social and cultural context within riparian states and in a broad context applicable as a useful approach for supporting Sustainable Development Goals, SDG6 and its targets in particular.
The very first step in our long journey is training and education, on water related issues in line with awareness- raising efforts. That"s why, I have reiterated time and again that Training, education and dissemination of data and information is essential in policy planning and implementation of water related policies and strategies. The success hinges on how best all the policy makers, citizen, youth, and Civil Society networks, water managers, within countries or between the Countries, are equipped with knowledge, tools and skills to be able to monitor, assess and implement sustainable use of water.
The realities surrounding water related issues, necessitates the need toproducepolicy guidelines on water and its affiliate strategies and techniques, in order to ease water stress/scarcity or crisis to avoid its possible national orglobal repercussions. The situation is more challenging in arid &semi- arid countries, where my country is also situated.
According to World Economic Forum, water crisis is among the five top global risks confronting humankind. One out of four human being lacks safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, 80% of wastewater are still untreated, pressure related to population growth, urbanization, pollution, and climate change repercussions on water resources are mounting and the international community has yet not been able to come up with concrete solutions.
On the other hand, more than 270 internationally shared river basins, as the main sources of freshwaters, involve neighbors and regions,makes equitable and sustainable access to water a complex phenomenon, particularly when it comesto mounting water deficit. Such a realities makes the "Trans boundary Waters" a challenge or an opportunity for the riparian Countries.
Dear Participants,
Cooperation is the sole solutionin transboundary waters, and there is compelling need to adopt a sound dispute settlement mechanism to solve problems.Identifying synergies and actions, full implementation of bilateral agreements, and if need be, referring to related UN Water Conventions and International Water Law and legal water management frameworks could provide a solid reference and foundation for alleviating possible adverse transboundary impacts. Water diplomacy should play its pivotal role as catalyst for achieving the desired objectives.
Water diplomacy, at the same time, should focus on positive and innovative ways and means for effective and efficient policies and strategies. They should be able to provide a forward looking vision, based on scientific evidence, capacity building and by building on experience and lessons learned, in a local, bilateral, regional and international contexts. Here also, we should apply a win-win visionary, and consider "Water" a long-term common good for all the riparian states.
This vision should be able to guide us to actively engage in a water related circumstances that I call "water era" for a substantive bilateral and regional water cooperation with a noble objective of achieving a more water-secure world.
With the same logic, and due to strong interlinkages between water, energy and food, nexus approach will help increase efficiency and build synergies in water related sectors. Although, it has its own complexities and challenges.
Dear Participants,
In conclusion let me emphasize that, access to water and sanitation is a precondition for life, development and Cooperation and the only way forward, so it requires that all the countries, arid and semi-arid countries in particular, stay vigilant and have a responsible attitude in drawing a roadmap of cooperation on water related issues.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to contribute to any attempt promoting water related cooperation and interactions,
I wish you all the best in your teachings, discussions and deliberations in the hours ahead, today and tomorrow.
Thank You for Your Attention.
Seyyed Abbas Araghchi, the Political Deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 4, 2019


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