Press Release

Successful conclusion of FAO’s RFLDL GEF project marks a milestone in sustainable dryland ecosystem restoration and management in Iran

27 September 2023

TEHRAN – "Rehabilitation of forest landscapes and degraded land with particular attention to saline soils and areas prone to wind erosion” project (RFLDL), implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), reached its successful conclusion setting a new course for sustainable land management in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Terminal Workshop of the project was held on 27-28 September in Kerman province, central Iran.

In a message screened in the event, Yubak Dhoj GC, FAO Representative ad interim to Iran, lauded the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders involved in the project and emphasized the importance of harmonizing natural resources management and environmental conservation with socio-economic development.

The RFLDL project, which commenced its operational journey in 2011, focused on the restoration of degraded ecosystems, the mitigation of land degradation, and the improvement of local livelihoods in two provinces of Kerman and South Khorasan, GC explained.

Through this transformative initiative, several notable achievements were realized, including, empowering local communities, enhancing sustainable agriculture, preserving biodiversity and ecosystems and capacity building, he highlighted.

Outcomes and achievements

He further stated that the project successfully promoted public participation in rural areas by building the capacity of local communities. These communities actively engaged in ecosystem rehabilitation efforts and established local microcredit funds to reduce the pressure on natural resources.

Moreover, sustainable agricultural practices were prioritized, empowering rural households to manage their local ecosystem resources effectively. This not only improved livelihoods but also enabled communities to better cope with prolonged drought and climate change events.

The project's efforts were guided by a participatory approach that actively involved local communities in the protection of their environment, said GC.

Recognizing the importance of technical and institutional capacity building, the project provided extensive technical training to staff, he noted, adding, knowledge dissemination through FAO's E-Learning platform ensured that lessons learned, and best practices reached a wider audience.

The independent Terminal Evaluation conducted in 2022 confirmed the project's success in establishing the foundation for participatory and integrated Sustainable Land and Forest Management (SLFM) in pilot sub-watersheds. These achievements align closely with Iran's national priorities.

FAO ready to continue partnership

In his address, GC expressed FAO's commitment to the project's ongoing success. He stated, "FAO is ready to continue its partnership in the successful outcomes of this joint project. We aim to scale up the valuable experiences and lessons learned during the project to be applied in other regions of work in the future."

"We look forward to further extending our partnership with you to scale up the results of this successful project and to develop and implement new projects in the future," he added.


In conclusion, GC said that the RFLDL project, while marking its conclusion today, opens a new chapter in sustainable land management in Iran. As we face common challenges of land degradation, desertification, and drought, this project serves as a model and a source of inspiration for solutions developed and implemented which have the potential to be scaled up across the country and beyond its borders.


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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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