Marking Environment Day
UNDP Iraq participated in an event to mark World Environment Day.
The event organised by the Ministry of Environment featured a number of activities including a screening of a film produced by the United Nations on the decade of bio-diversity, a presentation on Green Economy, paying tribute to environment pioneers who used green economy in their work, a play by school children on environment and an exhibition of products made of recycled material.
In his opening remarks Mr. Sudipto Mukerjee Head of Economic Recovery and Poverty Alleviation for UNDP Iraq said: “The UN Family is fully committed not only to mainstreaming Environmental considerations across its development and humanitarian work in Iraq, but also support every effort of the Government and all development actors including the growing Private Sector in Iraq to assume and fully discharge its responsibilities in taking care of the environment.”
According to United Nation’s recent reports unreliable water supplies and declining soil fertility have had a profound impact on agriculture, employment and production. Drought is increasingly identified as a leading factor behind the internal displacement of Iraqi people. Iraq is one of the world’s leading oil producers. It is also one of the main polluters, with 17 million cubic metres of natural gas escaping into the atmosphere instead of being harnessed.
“Addressing these challenges has to start with each of us. We need to work together to ensure that the future generations of Iraq - and the region as a whole - will benefit from the actions we take today," said Mr. Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq.
The event was a launch for a month of activities that the Ministry of Environment is organizing. UNDP Iraq is sponsoring some of these activities as part of its environment work where over the years it has supported the Ministry of Environment in a number of areas providing technical assistance and capacity building in water resources management, disaster risk reduction, aspects of natural resources management, clean and efficient use of energy, combating air, water and soil pollution, protection of fragile ecological regions, environmental health and adaptation for Climate Change and most importantly enhancing the capacities of the Ministry of Environment to provide leadership in Environmental Policy making and coordinating the Government’s wide efforts towards sustainable development.
On the cooperation between the UN agencies and the Government Dr. Ali Allami from the Ministry of Environment said: “I appreciate the UN’s efforts and assistance that the Ministry has been receiving and I look forward to further increase these valuable partnerships”.
The United Nations in Iraq has dedicated the month of June for Environment where it will sponsor a number of activities throughout Iraq.
"We believe that Environmental issues impact everyone in Iraq. Dust storms, desertification and water scarcity are only three of many pressing issues,” said Mr. Kobler.
At the end of the event Mr. Mukerjee appealed to the Government of Iraq and the international community to come forward with resources to support the United Nations’ work in this critical area. “To date, Environment unfortunately remains the least funded of all sectors.” he concluded.