EghtesadOnline: Switzerland’s ambassador in Tehran invited water officials to join his country’s water diplomacy initiative dubbed as “Blue Peace”.
Markus Leitner made the call in a meeting with Qasem Taqizadeh Khamesi, director of the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company of Iran (Abfa) in Tehran on Tuesday, the Energy Ministry’s news portal reported.
Based on the concept that efficient water management around the world can contribute to sustainable peace, “the Blue Peace initiative is aimed at helping reduce tensions in and among Middle East countries,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
The official also proposed that Iran become a member of the plan’s policymaking council.
Blue Peace brings together different participants (academia, culture, political and diplomatic stakeholders, environmentalists and the private sector) to highlight initiatives on water, peace, security and cooperation.
Sustainable water resources management has emerged as a major global challenge of the 21st century and a serious issue among water experts and conservationists grappling with the worsening water crisis in most parts of the globe.
According to Leitner, not only can water become a theme for collaboration, but should be transformed from a source of potential crisis into an instrument of peace.
Referring to Iran’s 3000-year-old experience in water issues namely drought, Khamesi noted Tehran is willing and able to contribute to the plan’s success to the best of its ability.
He went on to say that in the pre-industrialization era residents of parched provinces like Yazd relied heavily on traditional methods of water harvesting, one of which was and are the Qanats.
Qanat is the generic term for an ancient and environmentally-sustainable water harvesting and conveyance technique believed to have originated in Persia in the early first millennium B.C.
The qanat system consists of a network of underground canals that transport water from aquifers in highlands to the surface at lower levels by gravity.
Cewas, a Swiss-based international center for combining expertise in sustainable water systems, sanitation and resource management with business innovation, has started cooperation with Iran to help it get familiar with innovative methods to solve water-related problems.
Located in an arid and semi-arid region, Iran has suffered from drought and extreme water deficits for decades.