Three Governors from Kurdistan Region of Iraq become the first Iraqi members of the EU Covenant of Mayors

Feb 22, 2018

Governorates of Erbil, Sulaymania and Duhok committed to reduce emissions, develop clean energy solutions and adapt to the impact of climate change. Photo: UNDP

Governors of Erbil, Sulaymania and Duhok attended the EU Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum and Ceremony “From Paris to Katowice: Speeding up the transition towards decarbonizes and resilient cities” today in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Covenant of Mayors is the world's largest movement for local climate and energy actions, with signatory cities having committed themselves to the implementation of the EU 40% greenhouse gas-reduction target by 2030 and the adoption of a joint approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The Governorates of Erbil, Sulaymania and Duhok with support of the Local Area Development Programme (LADP), funded by the European Union and implemented by the UN Development Programme, developed Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) and became members of the EU Covenant of Mayors.

The Governorates committed to ambitious goals to reduce emissions, develop clean energy solutions and adapt to the impact of climate change.

Isabela Uribe, UNDP Head of Office, Erbil and Programme manager of LADP stated that “ We are very proud that the Governorates were able to see beyond the military conflict and crises and think about the future of the planet and climate change. “

European Union Ambassador to Iraq, H.E. Ramon Blecua said: "Today marks a milestone in local government in Iraq. Three cities from the Kurdistan Region have been identified as a main driving force in guiding the development and implementation of the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) within EU energy efficiency priorities. By signing the Covenant of Mayors, these three cities spearhead Iraq's commitment in reducing its carbon footprint, and opens the door for a diversified and sustainable development. Such commendable stance is more so important at this critical juncture, swaying from the current situation and looking strategically at the future".    

Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil stated that “We confirm our commitments towards the EU Covenant of Mayors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take actions in adapting to the climate change. We strive to ensure better quality of life and green growth in our Governorate.  We highly appreciate the efforts of the Local Area Development Programme, financed by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in Iraq that made all this possible for us.  Only together we can save our suffering earth! “

Dr. Haval Abu Bekir, Governor of Sulaymania stated that “We are pleased by the European Covenant of Mayors membership and to join the club of pioneers fighting climate change.  All the sectors in our region have been affected by climate change, especially economy and environment. That is why, Sulaymania approached LADP and requested to be guided to become member of CoM. Here, we would like to appreciate the great role of LADP funded by EU to develop SEAP which implementation will help our generous and beautiful nature”.

Farhad Saleem, Governor of Duhok stated “Duhok Governorate is proud to be member in the EU Covenant of Mayors. We could have never achieved this without support of UNDP and EU. Our staff through steering committee and technical committees worked closely with the LADP to develop SEAP for the Governorate of Duhok and identify our priorities. Therefore, we made commitment to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020.  Duhok Governorate is facing difficulties due to hosting 800,000 IDPs and refugees, economic crises and lack of the budget for more than four years. I believe international support and community awareness are required to reduce use of the electricity since 90% of it is used by residencies and IDP camps. We are eager to deliver better services to our community including the refugees and IDPs and make a step forward to achieve our vision “.

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