UNDP and World Bank joined forces to support Iraq’s Climate Ambitions

December 20, 2022
Photo: UNDP Iraq

In light of the World Bank’s recently published Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR), the World Bank and UNDP with support from the United Kingdom organized a climate week from the 12th to the 14th of December 2022. Different stakeholders including the Government of Iraq, different embassies, development partners in Iraq and actors from the private sector and CSOs joined in the different events and roundtables during the week. During the climate week, there was a three-parts roundtable discussion on Energy Transition, Water-Food Nexus, and Youth Inclusive Climate Transition that had high-level participation from relevant development parties and from youth representatives including World Bank and UNDP’s Accelerator Lab.

The partners engaged in discourse tackling Iraq’s vulnerabilities caused by the effects of climate change and worsened by an economic model that relies heavily on oil and visions to adapt and address the gaps. The World Bank estimates in its CCDR that Iraq needs around US$ 233 billion in investments by 2040 to respond to the most urgent climate investment gaps.

Climate changes has recently gained a lot of interest in Iraq. The alarming frequent manifestations of the effects of climate change from sand storms to extreme temperatures, and most importantly a long drought that has hit the southern Marshes and driven the Iraqi south to a tipping point have alerted the Iraqi government to the urgency of climate action. Iraq was recently represented by a delegation from various governmental entities at COP 27, the United Nations climate conference, among which was the climate and health committee of the Iraqi parliament, a highly important participation that reflects the seriousness of the government in addressing the climate crisis and mainstreaming the NDC1 in its national legislations to facilitate investment in renewable energy and pave the way for a greener economic model in Iraq.

“There are a lot of benefits to investing in renewable energy, particularly at the community level. People would get access to clean energy, develop their well-being and their education, and help the climate by reducing emissions, but most importantly, there are a lot of job opportunities in a new green economy,” Auke Lootsma, UNDP Iraq Resident Representative stated. “Iraq today relies almost exclusively on oil exports and unless it starts to diversify its economy, it will remain vulnerable to oil price volatility”.

“The UK is keen to help – through our partnership with UNDP, through export credit and by working in multilateral institutions and groups including the NDC partnership. 

UK Export Finance is committed to achieving net zero operational and portfolio greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is putting financial flows at the heart of energy transition globally, supporting the UK government’s climate change objectives and is keen to do more in Iraq, including working with the government to unblock access to the Central Bank climate loan options.” Said Mr. Mark Bryson-Richardson, The British Ambassador in Iraq.

The CCDR findings will be employed in Iraq’s Green Paper, a document that is being jointly developed by the Government of Iraq and UNDP. The Green Paper is a Vision Paper that will consolidate the Iraqi government’s climate ambition and will influence the climate action taking place in the country by all relevant sectors.

A partnership between UNDP and the World Bank will ensue through a joint programme to support the implementation of the country’s climate ambition guided by the Green Paper and CCDR.

 1 The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is the plan to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions. It is submitted every 5 years to the United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat. All countries that join the Paris Agreement are required to communicate and maintain their climate actions and the contributions they intend to achieve regarding reduction of emissions of Green House Gases. UNDP supported the government of Iraq in drafting and submitting its NDC in 2021.