Officials from the Iranian city of Rafsanjani on Tuesday presented their Local Agenda 21 report to the UN-HABITAT Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos.
This was in fulfillment to a promise they undertook some six months ago when they visited the agency's Nairobi headquarters.
Agenda 21 is an action plan of the United Nations related to sustainable development and was an outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment.
The report was presented by the Governor General of Kerman Province Mr. Esmaeil Najar while accompanied by Mr. Aliakbar Pourmohammadi, Mayor of Rafsanjan city, Mr. Alireza Khademol Hosseyni, Chairman of Rafsanjan City Council, and Mr. Resa Pourvaziry, President of International Art And Architecture Research Association (IAARA) .
Dr Clos commended their hard work and the dynamic nature of their proposal and the number of creative responses, including: citizenship training, improving urban quality, urban environmental quality improvement, and the development of artistic and cultural capacities for Rafsanjan city.
"One of the most critical priorities for a city is to plan for the future. Where will the growth take place? Our cities of tomorrow will only be livable if we plan sustainable city extensions today." Dr Clos commended the efforts made to diversify their economy through tourism while ensuring that specific steps are taken to improve environmental sustainability through improved urban management practices.
The Governor General Mr. Najar, thanked UN-HABITAT for its on-going support and technical advice and welcomed the agency to extend its work to other cities across Iran, given the challenges posed by increasing levels of urbanization and climate change.
"Our challenges are significant and there is much to learn from experiences learnt through the hard experiences of others," he observed. Mayor Pourmohammadi noted that "Rafsanjan City may well be 5000 years old, but this is not to say that we are too old to learn from others!"