Global Environment Facility grants $28 million in loans to Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 30/ Trend G.Mehdi/

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has paid $28 million in loans to Iran for environmental and biological projects, ISNA reported.

The GEF has allocated $6.2 million for biodiversity, $18.2 million for climate change, and $3.7 million for deforestation purposes.

Moreover, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has defined joint projects for Iran, Iraq, and Qatar for preventing from dust storms.

Heavy dust storms also shrouded certain western and southwestern provinces of Iran, making breathing difficult for people. Health officials have been warning about the aggravation of respiratory diseases and advised the elderly and children to stay indoors.

Experts say the dust storms descend on Iran from the deserts and dried-up ponds of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Iran plans to curb the potential encroachment of some 6 million hectares area of desert lands by the end of the fifth five-year development plan (March 2016), IRNA quoted director of Iran's forests, pastures, and watershed management organization Alireza Orangi as saying on Saturday.

Over 400 billion rials will be allocated to 23 provinces to implement plans to curb desertification, he noted, adding that some 2.5 million hectares area of lands has so far been prevented from being turned into deserts through planting saplings and spreading mulch.

In September, director of the department for water and wastewater affairs at the ministry of energy Alireza Dayemi stated that precipitations have decreased to the lowest level since the past five years in the central parts of Iran, causing drought in the region.

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