Iraqi Marshes could be pulled from World Heritage List

Janabi said at the time, “The process of adding the marshes and archaeological sites [to the World Heritage List] imposes significant obligations on the state more than on any other party. The government should abide by the plan it presented to the UNESCO negotiating committee, to implement a program to manage those areas, in accordance with international standards.” He added, “Iraq’s responsibility today lies in preserving those marshes and sites and maintaining the international ranking they receive.”

Iyad al-Shammari, a member of the parliamentary Committee on Tourism and Antiquities, told Al-Monitor that there were problems involving “overfishing and the absence of a suitable environment for rare birds to reproduce, amid a lack of job opportunities” that lead residents to fish and tamper “with the natural environment of the marshes.” He said, “These phenomena are a major worry for those concerned with the marshes.”

He added, “We have no choice but to abide by our commitments to international organizations, even if this requires imposing the law by force in order to protect the aquatic wealth and birds.”

Shammari also stressed the importance of “intensifying efforts during the trial period granted to Iraq, which will end in July 2017.”

The failure to implement programs and build a proper infrastructure in the marshes prompted those concerned at the Ministry of Water Resources to admit their inability to implement them because of the financial crisis plaguing the country.

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