UNEP-UNESCO Joint Project
"Natural and Cultural Management of the Iraqi Marshlands"

Iraqi Marshlands

In 2009, UNEP and UNESCO launched a joint project to establish and implement a longer-term sustainable management framework in the Iraqi Marshlands.  This new initiative addresses the priority need for the management plan of the area that reflects the unique historical, cultural, environmental, hydrological, and socio-economic characteristics of the area, in particular by utilizing the World Heritage inscription process. The project is supported by contributions from the Government of Italy.

The project seeks to provide guidance and support to the Iraqi stakeholders on how to develop a sustainable preservation and management plan in accordance with criteria for the inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List, implement some key practices for resource efficiency and sustainable production/consumption included in the management plan on a pilot basis, as well to build capacity and raise awareness among the local population to ensure their participation for the site preservation and ecosystem management.

This new initiative builds on, and incorporates the lessons learned from, the previous UNEP project for Environmental Management of the Iraqi Marshlands (2004-2009).  The previous UNEP project, which took place in the post-conflict period following the fall of the last Iraqi regime, provided the much-needed assistance to marshland communities and Iraqi ministries by installing safe drinking water and sanitation services using environmentally sound technologies (ESTs), wetland and water quality management pilot projects, and by supporting community-level initiatives.  Now, there is a need to transition from short- to medium-term interventions in the post-conflict period to re-development initiatives with longer-term sustainable management planning and implementation.

The project is implemented in partnership by UNEP and UNESCO, based on complementary expertise and experience of both agencies. The geographical area where the proposed project is implemented is in Iraq, particularly in the southern governorates of Basrah, Missan, and Thi-Qar.

Iraqi Marshlands