Iran has the second largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa, after Saudi Arabia. However, since the country’s nuclear program became public in 2002, the United Nations, the European Union and several individual countries and organizations have imposed sanctions on Iran in order to prevent the development of military nuclear capability. These sanctions made it difficult, and in some cases impossible, for international aid to reach impoverished parts of the country. For instance, the World Bank has not approved a Country Assistance Strategy for Iran and has not approved new lending to the country since 2005. Some international organizations, though, are funding programs to aid in providing health care and increasing environmental sustainability.
Here is a look at five development projects in Iran:
- Malaria Control (United Nations Development Programme)
In partnership with national and international partners such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme has implemented the Intensified Malaria Control in High Burden Provinces towards Falciparum Elimination project in Iran to eliminate the disease. The project, started in October 2011, includes distributing insect nests to protect against infected mosquito bites, training volunteers to engage in early case findings and collaborating with local women as a symbol of community participation.
- Stanford Iran 2040 Project (Stanford University)
Established in 2006, the Stanford Iran 2040 Project allows researchers all around the world to study issues related to the future of the Iranian economy. The core research centers on economy, population, energy, water, agriculture and the financial system. From this research, experts will be better equipped to aid in Iran’s future development by evaluating how these issues affect the country.
- Carbon Sequestration Project (United Nations Development Programme)
The Carbon Sequestration Project aims to capture and control atmospheric carbon in arid and semi-arid regions of Iran and to improve the socioeconomic status of local communities. So far, the project has created 577 permanent jobs, held 400 training programs, established microcredit systems with 63 Village Development Groups, rehabilitated over 30,000 hectares of land and empowered women to play an active role in all of the project’s initiatives.
- Iran Transport Projects (Iranian Ministry of Roads and Urban Development)
The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development in Iran has signed 13 contracts worth $12 billion since March 2015 with investors from the Iranian private sector and foreign companies. These investments fund development projects in Iran across air, road, marine and rail transportations. Some of the notable plans include a 230-mile freeway connecting the city of Kerman to the Persian Gulf Port of Bandar Abbas, as well as a high-speed railroad connecting Tehran to Isfahan, a central tourism hub.
- Country Coordinating Mechanism Funding (United Nations Development Programme)
Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) develop and submit grant proposals to the Global Fund based on national needs. The Global Fund is a partnership organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. CCMs allow for local ownership and participation in decision-making processes.
These development projects in Iran provide hope for the nation to move toward a more stable and sustainable future.
– Richa Bijlani