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EghtesadOnline: FAO with collaboration of the Iran Chamber of Commerce held a two-day (29-30 April) international conference in Tehran to highlight the value of Virtual Water to address impacts of climate change, population growth and food security at national, regional and global levels.

According to a press release published by the Representation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Iran, Serge Nakouzi, the FAO Representative to Iran warned that water availability in the Middle East and North Africa region decreased by about 65 percent during the last 40 years and it has been expected to fall by another 50 percent by 2050, according to IRNA.

“The threat of climate change has been compounding the situation, increasing the recurrence and severity of drought conditions in many of the countries in the Middle East region, including Islamic Republic of Iran in recent years,” he added in his last public speech in Tehran before departure of the country and joining the FAO Regional Office for Africa as the Deputy Regional Representative.

“I trust that with the good level of support that FAO is receiving from its national and international partners and in close collaboration with the sister agencies in the UN system, FAO will effectively contribute to the sustainable development of this great country,” Nakouzi underscored in his concluding remarks.

Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Abbas Araqchi and Minister of Agricultural Jihad Mahmoud Hojjati were key speakers of the Conference.

The FAO’s Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity for the Near East and North Africa (NENA) has formulated in 2013 to support the countries of the NENA Region to cope with their most striking challenges, including the pursuit of food and water securities, for a sustainable social and economic development, under an unprecedented severe escalation of water scarcity.

The objectives of the initiative are: enhancing policies, investments, governance and best practices to sustainably increase water and land productivity; providing tools for strategic planning of optimal and sustainable allocation of scarce water resources; implementing a regional collaborative strategy for a water-reform agenda.

FAO Iran Chamber of Commerce Iran water Serge Nakouzi MENA water