Iraq’s environmental sustainability prioritized in new UNEP/UNDP agreement

October 22, 2020

Manama, Baghdad The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Regional Office for West Asia based in Manama, Bahrain, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq have joined forces today, signing a four-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly the environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The MOU identifies several priority areas that UNEP and UNDP will jointly address including; environmental policy, biodiversity and ecosystems, pollution and waste management, climate change, and supporting the Government of Iraq in its post–COVID-19 response on areas related to environmental sustainability. 

UNEP and UNDP share a successful history of collaboration on projects and initiatives at the global, regional and country levels. In late 2019, the two organizations signed a global strategic partnership which strengthens engagement and collaboration at the institutional level. 

UNEP and UNDP share unique and complementary attributes. While UNDP has a strong country presence and access to a wide range of stakeholders and sectoral policy, UNEP is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, it has a deep-rooted science foundation, and a strong normative mandate that promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

Since 2009 UNEP in West Asia and UNDP in Iraq have worked on a large portfolio of projects, including supporting Iraq with its reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, and developing a National Environment Strategy and Action Plan that outlined the scale of environmental degradation in Iraq, its root causes and impacts, and necessary next steps. As one of the signatories to the Paris Agreement in 2016, Iraq continues to priorities climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in its environmental planning and is committed to adopting a green vision and implementing green programmes. 

Today’s agreement puts UNEP and UNDP firmly on a path to supporting Iraq’s progress towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

From his side, the Regional Director and Representative of UNEP in West Asia, Mr. Sami Dimassi, highlighted that “UNEP is committed to forging a strong collaboration with UNDP in Iraq to support the country in addressing environmental challenges while supporting the Government and the people of Iraq to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic. UNDP has a successful track record in Iraq, and today, I am pleased that we have joined forces towards achieving a sustainable environment for all”. 

 “Iraq faces a number of environmental challenges – from water scarcity, to rising temperatures, to pollution, to environmental degradation due to years of conflict and neglect. Tackling these challenges in a complex setting like Iraq cannot be done alone, so we are proud to join UNEP and support the Government of Iraq in securing a healthy, sustainable environment, now and for future generations,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad. 

“Without increasing efforts to decelerate the climate crisis, the Iraqi population will not be able to live prosperously in the future. The goal of the SDGs of leaving no one behind, especially SDG 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, and SDG 13 Climate Action are of particular importance for Iraq. I am pleased to see that UNEP and UNDP are increasing their activities in order to help Iraq and its population” says Resident Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Irena Vojackova-Sollorano. 

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):

The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the UN Development Programme (UNDP):

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Noora Albinkhalil, Programme Management Assistant – UNEP Regional Office for West Asia

Tel: +973 17 812 765 or +973 66 33 33 73

Fay Daoud, Communications Specialist, UNDP Iraq

Tel: +964 780 1976 460