Land & Water

FAO strengthens commitment to Iraq in addressing environmental and agricultural challenges.

Baghdad, 13 October 2023 

Following up the meeting between the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization Of the United Nations (FAO), Dr QU Dongyu and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Iraq Abdul Latif Rashid during the UN 2023 Water Conference which underscored Iraq's commitment to finding sustainable solutions to the country’s multiple environmental and agricultural challenges,a dedicated team from the organization’s headquarters successfully concluded a mission to the Republic of Iraq from 10 to12 October 2023. 

Led by Mr LI Lifeng, Director of the FAO Land and Water Division (NSL), and accompanied by Ms Fidaa Haddad, Forestry Officer of the Forestry Division, Mr Jacopo Monzini, Senior Natural Resources Management, Office of Investment Centre and Mr Feras Ziadat, NSL Technical Officer, the working group closely assessed Iraq's diverse environmental and agricultural challenges and potential solutions, including water harvesting and storage, modern irrigation, combatting sand and dust storms, afforestation, wastewater treatment and re-use, drought tolerant crops.

Accompanied by FAO Representative in Iraq, Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan, and his team, the mission participated in important meetings with key Iraqi  high-level officials including a Grand Audience with the President of the Republic, productive discussions with the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee,  collaborative dialogues with His Excellency the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Awn Dhiab Abdullah, their Excellencies the Technical Deputy of the Ministry of Environment, Dr. Jasim Abdul Aziz Hamadi, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Bilateral Relations, Ambassador. Mohammed Bahar Al-Ulum, and the Technical Deputy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Mithaq Al-Khafaji.

In addition to these significant meetings, the delegation convened with members of the UN Country Team Priority Working Group promoting Natural Resource and Disaster Risk Management, and Climate Change Resilience (PWG4). This meeting,  which was also attended by a representative of the office of the   Deputy Special Representative of the United National Secretary-General for Iraq (DSRSG), provided a comprehensive overview of the climate-related challenges in Iraq and showcased the collaborative efforts of various United Nations agencies in addressing these challenges.

The team also had the opportunity to closely witness FAO Iraq  programs and strong collaboration with key Iraqi ministries, underscoring FAO's commitment to supporting Iraq's sustainable development efforts and fostering impactful partnerships.

Iraqi officials, expressed their deep appreciation for FAO's work and cooperation. They acknowledged FAO's critical role in addressing environmental and agricultural challenges, further strengthening the enduring partnership between Iraq and FAO.

Mr. Li emphasized the vital role of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) proposal, currently under review by the Fund, in addressing these climate-related challenges and advised to maximize the resources of GCF and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to enhance its resilience against the impacts of climate change and land degradation. The mission's objectives align closely with leveraging the GCF to support Iraq's environmental and agricultural priorities, all of which are geared towards addressing climate impacts, environmental challenges, improving food security, and ensuring a sustainable future for Iraq.

Dr. El Hajj Hassan stated "Our role in Iraq is a testament to FAO's unwavering commitment to addressing the country's agricultural and  climate challenges. We are committed to working hand in hand with the Government of Iraq to bring about transformative solutions. FAO will continue to provide support to strengthen Iraq’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.”

The FAO mission to Iraq represents an important step towards addressing Iraq's  agricultural and climate challenges priorities.  The collaboration between FAO and Iraq's esteemed partners is expected to create    transformative solutions that will help sustainable resources management, strengthen the bastions of food security and build the nation's resilience in the face of adversity.


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