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UNEP to support Iraq with environmental restoration

The Government of Iraq has signed a landmark cooperation agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to speed environmental recovery and support peace-building.

The agreement was signed on January 26 at a special event hosted by Iraqi Minister of Environment Eng. Sargon Lazar Slewa to welcome UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner on his first visit to Iraq.

Slewa said, “The Government of Iraq is committed to moving ahead with plans to restore the environment as part of our National Development Plan. The visit by Mr. Steiner and the signing of the cooperation agreement will expedite and further strengthen this process.”

The new five-year Strategic Cooperation Agreement with UNEP is intended to strengthen Iraq’s attempts to overcome the country’s many environmental challenges.

Areas of cooperation defined by the agreement are: environmental legislation and regulations; biodiversity conservation; the green economy; cleaner production; resource efficiency; combating dust storms; and climate change reporting, mitigation and adaptation.

“Achieving sustainable development is by no means a light undertaking, especially after decades of wars, sanctions and environmental degradation,” said Steiner. “Rebuilding Iraq’s environmental infrastructure underpins the country’s recovery and peace-building efforts.”

Cooperation between the Government of Iraq and UNEP dates back to 2003, immediately after the establishment of the Ministry of Environment.

Since then, UNEP has worked with the Iraqi Government on projects such as, rapid post-conflict environmental assessments, environmental clean-up of contaminated sites, and the restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshlands

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