The project comprises of activities in four project components. The activities are to be carried out jointly between UNEP and UNESCO (unless otherwise indicated):

Iraqi MarshlandsComponent 1: Preservation and management plan development towards World Heritage inscription

  1. Evaluate management practices being implemented in existing relevant WHS, focusing on sites within the region, those with similar ecosystems, and those in other developing countries, with particular emphasis on mixed sites.

  2. Provide support to establish and maintain a network of institutions involved with marshland preservation and management and inscription process, including local, governorate, and national institutions.

  3. Conduct data collection and analysis necessary for natural resource and cultural heritage management plan establishment.

  4. Conduct regular marshland monitoring programmes, including water quality and quantity, biodiversity, and human activities (lead: UNEP).

  5. Provide assistance to the State Party (i.e., Iraqi institutions) during the process of nomination of properties for inscription on the World Heritage List (lead: UNESCO).

Component 2: Preservation and management plan implementation

  1. Analyze current and future options for sustainable ecosystem utilization and impacts on preservation, including local product development, industrial activities including tourism, agri- and aquaculture, construction using native materials, and others.  Analyze income and job opportunities generated in other world heritage sites and identify possibilities for the area (lead: UNEP).

  2. Implement a pilot project on community-wide ecosystem management and cultural preservation, including sustainable tourism, incorporating environmentally sound practices.

  3. Support small-scale community level initiatives to introduce preservation and management options for natural and cultural resources.

  4. Provide advice and assistance to establish a centre for Marshland Eco-system and Natural Resource Management, which will serve as an anchor institution for natural resource preservation efforts in the southern Governorates.

Component 3: Capacity building and awareness raising

  1. Raise capacity of Iraqi institutions and individuals on the following aspects of preservation and management of natural and cultural heritage:

    • Institutional frameworks and practices for sustainable management
    • Data collection and analysis needed for the conservation and management plan establishment and implementation
    • Local level initiatives on marshland management and sustainable ecosystem utilization
    • Inscription Process of WHS
    • Management of WHS
    • Organization of secondary training on the above subjects inside Iraq

  2. Provide training and curriculum development support in the fields of cultural restoration, ecosystem management, archaeology, and tourism development to Iraqi educational institutions (lead: UNESCO).

  3. Share lessons learned from the process of WHS submission within Iraq to provide information and guidance on other potential sites for WHS inscription (lead: UNESCO).

  4. Develop programmes for school pupils on the Marshlands that feature ecological, cultural, and historical importance of the area, including teaching materials and field visits (lead: UNESCO).

Life of Marsh Arabs Component 4: International cooperation

  1. Build and maintain international support for the conservation and management of the Iraqi Marshlands heritage, such as inclusion of natural and cultural heritage management concepts and practices into existing and new international technical assistance initiatives and donor coordination.

  2. Report on the progress of the Marshland preservation and management practices in the international arena, including cultural restoration, Iraqi reconstruction, transboundary water resource management, and sustainable tourism development.

  3. Support a pilot study of hydrological and ecological functions of the Iraqi Marshlands (as an upstream area), and share the results to inform management practices of the Gulf (downstream area).