Advocating for Iraq's Environmental Protection

07 Jun 2013

imageIraq's marshlands are at risk. Photo by MagicCarpet/UNDP Iraq 2012

The United Nations participated today in a national event to mark World Environment Day, where it renewed its commitment and support to the Government of Iraq in its efforts to preserve the environment and respond to climate change in Iraq.

"Environmental issues impact everyone in Iraq. Dust storms, desertification and water scarcity are only three of many pressing issues,” said Mr. Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq. “Addressing these challenges has to start with each of us. We need to work together to ensure that the future generations of Iraq - and the region as a whole - will benefit from the actions we take today,"he added.

Unreliable water supplies and declining soil fertility have had a profound impact on agriculture, employment and production. Drought is increasingly identified as a leading factor behind the internal displacement of Iraqi people. Only 30% of the total population now live in rural areas and unplanned urbanization has considerably weakened the existing infrastructure. 20% of Iraqis depend on unreliable sources of drinking water and a further 16% report that they have daily problems with supply. Iraq is one of the world’s leading oil producers. It is al­­­­so one of the main polluters, with 17 million cubic metres of natural gas escaping into the atmosphere instead of being harnessed.

“Overall, progress has been made, but there is still much to be done to address these issues. The United Nations remains committed to provide support and assistance to the Government of Iraq and development partners as a whole to ensure the protection of the environment and adaption to climate change,” SRSG Kobler concluded.

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press.iraq@undp.org