Baghdad, 22 April 2022 – In recognition of the 52nd Earth Day today, the United Nations in Iraq renews its commitment to protect the environment, and jointly confront climate change. This is the first Earth Day celebrated within the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Anchored under the 2022 theme “Invest in our Planet”, this day is a reminder to redirect all our attention to creating a 21st century that prioritizes the health of our planet and all species including our own. Our choices today can either accelerate the speed of destruction of the environment or help preserve it and protect our health, our families, and our livelihoods. Climate change and extreme weather events, man-made changes to nature, and protracted conflicts that disrupt biodiversity are destroying the planet we are leaving to future generations.
Restoring our damaged ecosystems will help to end poverty, combat climate change, and ultimately achieve the sustainable development goals. Everyone should play a part in this, if we are to succeed.
In Iraq, the environmental situation has been subject to a number of converging pressures, ranging from poor water quality, deforestation and soil salinity to air pollution, conflict and land-use change, all of which have led to the deterioration of key ecosystems, climate change impacts, and water shortages.
Nevertheless, protecting the earth through policies for environmental action has become a top priority in Iraq. On 22 March 2022, the first protected area in Iraq was declared by the Ministry of Environment and UNEP, home to 230 plant species, of which a large number are endangered. The protection of this reserve will help mitigate extreme weather events, enhance carbon storage, and provide space for plants and animals to reproduce and adapt to the changing climate.
The UN is supporting Iraq in mitigating and adapting to climate change, through the design of sustainable projects that focus on supporting small and medium businesses, livelihoods and development; investments in efficient water and wastewater infrastructure; irrigation and the management of water consumption; as well as the use of renewable energy such as solar power. The UN is also working with the government on training, skills development and capacity strengthening to tackle climate change. Advocacy efforts are raising public awareness on the issues around water consumption and sustainable water management.
Ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier our ecosystems, the healthier the planet - and its people. For Earth Day 2022, we need to act boldly to restore our damaged ecosystems. It’s going to take private sector, entrepreneurs, governments, and citizens — it is everyone’s business!
Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq
Sami Dimassi, UNEP Representative and Regional Director for West Asia
Dr. Salah ElHajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Iraq
Ally Raza Qureshi, WFP Iraq Representative
Zena Ali Ahmad, UNDP Resident Representative
Sheema SenGupta, UNICEF Iraq Representative
Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission
Eric Buchot, ITC Head of Country Programme
Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Iraq Representative
Himyar Abdulmoghni, UNFPA Iraq Deputy Representative
For more information, please contact:
Programme Communications and Advocacy Officer
UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO)
+964 790 110 5664