Baghdad, 28 February 2021 – Effective green recovery from  COVID-19 requires Iraq to mainstream environmental sustainability from the outset to minimise the pandemic’s impact, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 

Impact of COVID-19 on Environmental Sustainability in Iraq investigates the direct and indirect environmental impacts in Iraq as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, set against the existing situation of environmental sustainability in the country. It makes key policy recommendations to the Government of Iraq, the United Nations system and development partners to strengthen Iraq’s environmental sustainability and ultimately build forward better from the pandemic. 

The paper – the fifth in a series released by UNDP on the impact of COVID-19 in Iraq - emphasises how the pandemic has exacerbated Iraq’s environmental fragility, which was already affected by legacies of conflict, lack of significant public sector and governance reforms, loss of development gains and illicit activity such as illegal hunting, fishing and logging, amongst other factors. It outlines how the virus has led to some negative environmental impacts, such as increased quantities of medical waste, but also positive impacts, such as temporary improvements in air quality and ecosystems. It also proposes how key drivers of fragility can be addressed over time.

“COVID-19’s impact on the environment in Iraq shouldn't be ignored in recovery efforts. Mainstreaming environmental sustainability is critical to build forward better – and at the same time, the deep-rooted, systemic causes of environmental fragility that are hindering the country’s progress and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals must also be addressed,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad. 

“We look forward to working with the Government and key partners like UNEP on improving the policies, infrastructure and resources needed to strengthen the country’s environmental sustainability for a green recovery from this crisis,” adds Ms Ali Ahamd.

UNDP Iraq is grateful to UNEP for its partnership and important contributions to The Impact of COVID-19 on Environmental Sustainability in Iraq. Read the paper here


Previously released papers in UNDP’s socioeconomic impact assessment series:

Impact of COVID-19 and the Oil Crisis on Iraq’s Fragility

Impact of COVID-19 on the Iraqi Economy

Impact of COVID-19 on Social Cohesion in Iraq

Impact of COVID-19 on Social Protection in Iraq


For additional information, please contact:

Fay Daoud, Communications Specialist


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