Launch of an Environment Strategy for Iraq

Jun 25, 2013

Iraq is blessed with an abundance of natural resources including oil, gas and agricultural lands. Despite this, urgent measures are needed to control pollution and curb desertification and droughts that threaten their existence.

Current data estimate that water reserves in Iraq have depleted to 20 per cent their original capacity and that the unsustainable management of natural resources could potentially lead to Iraq’s fields and waterways drying up.

On 17 June 2013, the Ministry of Environment of Iraq launched the National Environment Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP) in Baghdad which outlined a plan to comprehensively address the multi-dimensional environment challenges faced by Iraq. “This is a landmark step as the first ever national strategy for the environment and a blueprint for sustainable development in Iraq,” said Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, speaking on behalf of the UN.

The strategy, launched on the World Day to Combat Desertification, aims also to combat the growing pressure on the country’s natural resources. Unconstrained consumption of publicly supplied services, especially water and energy, and lack of alternative livelihood options continue to pose a severe threat to the environment.

The strategy prioritises investments that focus on infrastructure and institution building that supports environmental sustainability. This will require long-term inclusive growth to be assessed, together with social and environmental implications.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNDP collaborated with the Ministry of Environment in developing this important instrument which will guide the Ministry’s work in 11 thematic areas.

UNDP and UNEP will continue to support the strengthening of the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Environment to be able to effectively implement the NESAP through a project entitled ‘Organizational Development’.

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