“Iraq should never have to go without electricity, light or energy for cooking and heating,” Dr. Culhane told his audiences. Not only did he help the UN to build its biodigestor. He also took his bag of tricks around the country, sharing his expertise and showcasing his selection of environmental innovations at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Baghdad University of Technology, Salahuddin University, various Iraqi ministries in Baghdad, the Kurdistan Region, and Kirkuk.
The partnership between the UN and the U.S. Embassy aims to bolster technical capacity so that Iraqis can better tackle environmental concerns and promote renewable energy solutions with community-based environmental technologies. Dr. Culhane’s Iraq visit was the first phase of a larger UN initiative to partner with the Government of Iraq, local councils, universities and civil society to develop a green economy, and establish green neighbourhoods where simple solutions for renewable energy, waste disposal and organic gardening promise to transform the streets, and people’s lives.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Mr. Martin Kobler summed up the UN’s environmental aims in his speech to Iraqi Government officials and the diplomatic community on 17 April. “Greening the UN is so important,” he said. “Greening Iraq is even more important. The UN in Iraq supports this green movement, across the country. These innovative tools and gadgets, brought along by Dr. Culhane, are the perfect start. We need to transform Iraq’s environment, and build a better future for its young people.”
The roadshow might be over, but the work to green Iraq is just beginning.