Strengthening Women’s Role in Protecting Iraq’s Environment

To strengthen women’s participation in national environment protection, disaster preparedness and risk response to climate action, an electronic platform was launched on “Women for Safe and Green Iraq” (WfSGI).

This is an initiative of the Ministry of Health and Environment, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The aim of WfGSI is to provide space for dialogue, technical discussions, and develop consensus and collective inputs to influence gender responsive policies, strategies and plans for a greener and safer Iraq.

The platform will seek to create opportunities for women for continued professional development and entry points to engage and find innovative solutions for an environment-friendly and resilient country. It also raises awareness of activities and events related to gender and sustainable development issues and create a space for networking with international institutions and women’s groups.

The WfSGI electronic platform was founded by a group of gender units from various Iraqi ministries, in collaboration with the UNDP in Iraq to create the first women’s forum for a safe and green Iraq. “The new platform brings together several ministries, departments from central and Regional Government towards a shared mission of promoting gender equality and empowerment of women in support of sustainable environment management, disaster risks reduction and climate change”.

This was stated by the Deputy Minister for Health and Environment (MoEHNV), Mr. Jassim Al-Falahi at the launch of WfGSI. He added, “With the setting up of this platform, the Governmental institutions in Iraq will now be better aware of the importance of women’s participation in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

The Deputy Country Director of UNDP Operations in Iraq, Mr. Thair Shraideh said, “Women in Iraq are  more vulnerable to environment and disaster risks and hazards due to socio-cultural and structural obstacles in the way of their participation at every level in the development process and their constrained access to resources in general. There can be no sustainable development if the structural and social barriers that hold back half the population are not addressed”.

Close to 125 representatives from the Government of Iraq, non-governmental organizations and disaster risk management experts and gender focal points participated  in the launch of WfGSI. UNDP Gender Specialist, Ms. Sundus Abbas stated that “UNDP would work with all its partners to extend support to this initiative and to ensure its sustainability.”

On the occasion of the launch, the Ministry of Culture facilitated an exhibition of paintings on the theme of women and development by more than 20 women artists and painters from across the country.

UNDP has been a major partner of the Government of Iraq in addressing the challenges in areas of environment, energy, and disaster and climate risks management. Environmental protection is core to UNDP’s development mandate. The Environment, Energy and Climate Change (EECC) programme cluster responds to the national challenges through a host of projects that aim to promote resilience based development in Iraq by addressing the root causes, risks and mitigation measures associated with environmental degradation, climate change and disasters shocks. In so doing, UNDP’s strategy is to capacitate the relevant ministries, departments and the regional authorities to fulfil their obligations and commitments in terms of policy, legal and regulatory functions.

(Source: UNDP)

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