Side Events of the Convention on Biological Diversity - the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (CBD COP10) in Nagoya, Japan, on 21-29 October 2010
1. "Long-Term Sustainable Development of the Iraqi Marshlands and Natural Reserves"
21 October 2010, Nagoya Congress Center (COP10 venue)
This session’s objective was to present and discuss a series of initiatives implemented for management and restoration of the Iraqi Marshlands. The session was well attended by approximately 45 participants for the room capacity of 50. The session was also covered by the press including NHK and the Asahi Newspaper.
The session was opened by remarks by His Excellency Mr. Lukman Faily, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iraq to Japan and Dr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Director of UNEP Division of Environmental Policy Implementation. His Excellency Mr. Faily thanked UNEP for its support to organize the events in the COP10 and emphasized the importance of the Iraqi Marshlands for the new Iraq. Mr. Thiaw congratulated Iraq’s accession to the Biodiversity Convention and participation in the COP10. Mr. Thaiw also stressed the wetlands in the arid zone is a key to protect the biological diversity in the environmentally vulnerable areas.
The opening remarks were followed by a series of presentations by representatives from the Iraqi Ministry of Environment, UNEP, IUCN and Nature Iraq. As an introduction, Dr. Ali Al-Lami, Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Environment reported the current status of the Iraqi Marshlands including basic features and degradation of the Iraqi Marshlands. Dr. Al-Lami also updated scopes and perspective of the Iraqi Government on management of the Iraqi Marshlands and stressed necessity of the long-term plan and appropriate technologies in line with Iraq’s progressive accession to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
Mr. Ryuichi Fukuhara, Project Officer of UNEP-DTIE-IETC presented the overview of the on-going UNEP-UNESCO Joint Project "Natural and Cultural Management of the Iraqi Marshlands as a World Heritage" and results of the first year activities. Mr. Fukuhara also referred to emerging factors that may give negative impacts on the Marshlands, including the water management issues in the upstream, the vulnerability to droughts and potential impacts of climate change, to be taken into account for implementation of the project activities in the second year and beyond.
Mr. Kahldoun Al-Omari, Protected Area Programme Officer of IUCN-ROWA delivered a presentation on Outstanding Universal Values of the Iraqi Marshlands based on the screening study led by IUCN early this year within the UNEP-UNESCO project. The study revealed the Iraqi Marshlands had a potential as a World Heritage site, and its biodiversity is a centrality, of outstanding universal values of the Iraqi Marshlands, but there are serious challenges to the integrity of the site. His presentation was concluded by suggestions and possible management planning to be achieved for the protection of unique values of the Iraqi Marshlands.
Finally, Dr. Azzam Alwash, Chief Executive Officer of Nature Iraq presented the comprehensive information about components and planning of the Mesopotamia Marshlands National Park Project being developed by the Iraqi Ministry of Environment in cooperation with Nature Iraq. Dr. Alwash also mentioned a need of creation of the first national park center to start up the project in 2010.