The United Nations welcomed the launch of the National Environment Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP) in Baghdad on Monday, on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification.
“This is a landmark step, 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.
“It is excellent to see this strategy launched on the World Day to Combat Desertification, under the theme, ‘Don’t let our future dry up’,” said Mr. Kobler. “Water scarcity and drought are threatening Iraq, with the Government estimating that water reserves are down to 20% capacity. Management of natural resources has not been adequate over the years, and there is a real risk that Iraq’s fields and waterways will turn to dust, an unthinkable future for a country that needs to sustain a growing population.”
“Iraq must combat desertification to sustain its urban populations and its arable land, avoid crop failure, and prevent the devastation brought by dust-storms that sweep across the country each year,” added Mr. Kobler.
Mr. Kobler said that the NESAP launch was a significant step in shoring up Iraq’s sustainable future and complementing regional initiatives, led by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“I congratulate the Government for announcing 2014 as the Year of the Environment in Iraq,” said Mr. Kobler. “The United Nations now urges all necessary resources and partnerships to be committed to achieve the goals of the NESAP, and recommits its support to sustainable development in Iraq,” he concluded.
For more information on the environment in Iraq, please see the following UN Iraq Fact Sheets:
- Water in Iraq Fact Sheet
- Climate Change in Iraq Fact Sheet
- World Environment Day 2013 Fact Sheet on How Environmental Damage Causes Food Insecurity in Iraq
(Picture: Dust Storm, Al Asad, April 27, 2005)