Taken on 5th July 2017
By Water-keeper Environmental Law and Advocacy Project
Water-keeper environmental law and advocacy project staff of Nature Iraq organization visited a well in Gurgae Fatah village near Chamchamal district-Sulaimani-Iraq on May 24th 2017, due to existence of Sulfur and Methane gas in the well which causes fire to emerge from the well. This phenomenon attracted the media and many people visit that place daily. Advocacy project which is funded by the European Union on July 5th 2017 finished an awareness project to protect the health and lives of the people who visit it by putting up fence around the well as well as designing and putting up two attention boards that contain some guidance written in English, Arabic and Kurdish languages to give some primitive information to the visitors either local or foreign.
Field visit on 24th May 2017 with Alessandro Tinti who is a PD.D candidate in political science and international relations in Sant'Anna institute in Italy
Taken on 5th July 2017
By Water-keeper Environmental Law and Advocacy Project
On May 24th 2017 Environmental Law and Advocacy Project in collaboration with Alessandro Tinti who is a Ph.D Candidate in political science and international relations in Sant'Anna institute in Italy visited two different areas in Sulaimani province. The first area was Tanjaro where all the sewage water and rubbish in Sulaimnai are dumped there and it has been a great environmental threat for both the city as well as the area in general. It has been a great threat for the water as well as agricultural lands and products since the people in Tanjaro area all way till Darbandixan depend on the Tanjaro river for agriculture.
Sulaimani municipality dumps minimum 1200 ton of garbage and rubbish in Tanjaro area without having any recycling project. Furthermore, the Kurdistan Regional Government has taken no action to solve this problem and is being silent. Thus, the NGOs has to put pressure on the government so that the decision makers can find and treat this problem scientifically.
The second visit was to Gurga village near Chamchamal which is 55 km far from Sulaimani. There is a well of water of 90m depth but it is on flame since there is both Methane gas and Sulfate one can smell rotten egg also and it is because of Sulfate near the well and in the area.
The Advocacy project tries to communicate their ideas and suggestions to the people in charge in the government about both areas in the hope of finding certain solution to diminish the bad effects on environment.
Tanjaro Dump 24th May 2017
The well near Chamchamal, Sulaymaniyah 24th May 2017
On May the 16th, Environmental Law and Advocacy Project started the third stage of their educational project. On the same day and in collaboration with Green Kurdistan Association, as part of the environmental activities of the Advocacy Project started distributing booklets in some primary schools in Raparin province and specifically in the city of Ranya. The aim was to familiarize the students with environment through the content of the booklet which included some instructions as well as songs about environment.
For the very similar reason, the Environmental Law and Advocacy Project in collaboration with the Sulaimani Directorate of Environment also visited a number of primary schools in Bazyan district and distributed a great number of the booklet among the students.
The booklet (Drust Nusi) is a ten-page booklet that has been made by the Environmental Law and Advocacy Project in collaboration with the Sulaimani Directorate of Environment and supported by the European Union. It is also worth mentioning that the General Directorate of Education in Sulaimani has been a great support with their ideas and opinions and even sent their formal support letter for this educational environmental project.
Read this article in Kurdish language.
Ranya City on 16th May 2017
Bazian District on 17th May 2017
The Environmental Law and Advocacy Project of Nature Iraq under the title “Environment in Education Process” held a special workshop on May the 5th 2017 in Abusana Hotel for a group of headmasters and teachers of the primary schools within and outside Sulaimani City.
The Advocacy Project had started an environmental and educational project that its first step was to print a drawing copybook under the title (Friend of Environment) and distributed a great number of it in some primary schools both within and outside the city of Sulaimani. The second stage of the project was a workshop about the environment in education process and its main purpose was to checklist and collect the goals and achievements discussed in the first stage.
Briefings of the Workshop on Environment in Educational Process:
After the welcoming speech, Razhan Aso from Advocacy Project of Nature Iraq explained the activities of the project in the last three years and the achievements from then to the present. Then, Diary Muhamad Rashid, from the Advocacy Project of Nature Iraq, discussed environment in general. After discussing certain types of pollution and their specific reasons, Diary also presented certain statistics on the effects of various types of pollutants on environment.
Ako Abdulmajid Saed, the director of the programs in general directorate of programs in Sulaimani education, presented a topic on strategical changes in human being. In detail, he explained certain strategies in making changes through discussing certain topics.
Later, Sherwan Fatih discussed a topic under the title of the effects of art on environment. He also mentioned the “friend of environment” as an educational environmental book that he designed the artisitic part of it. He also focused on ways they have been able to get to the content of the environmental book.
At the last part of the workshop, in an open discussion, “friend of environment” as a copy book as well as a book was discussed. The participants valued the importance of this book and its positive influence on the students. The participants all gravely hoped for the book to be included in the education syllabus by the Mistry of education of Kurdistan Regional Government and to be counted as of next year as they mentioned its positive and direct influence on the students. Finally they thanked the Advocacy Project that has been a pioneer in bringing out changes and building a generation of environment lovers as well friend.
Environmental Law and Advocacy Project is a four year project of Nature Iraq. The Project found it vital to conduct a specific educational project on environment for some primary school within and outside Sulaimani city particularly the stages 1 to 3. April the 11th was the starting day of this project. Choosing such a targeted group as the primary schools is because children in these selected stages are active and energetic. They have a great ability to learn and can have a positive impact on their families and friends.
A briefing on the project in the current time and future plans:
In the beginning of April the idea of an educational project for primary schools was negotiated. Then, the idea was developed through collecting some pictures that can represent (environment in general, family, education, water resources, climate, and etc.). With the help of some designers, these pictures were refined and clearly and simply redesigned so that children can better understand and learn from them. For each picture, a clear, easy and educational paragraph about the content of the picture was added so that when the children color these pictures they can learn and reflect upon it in the hope of teaching them about the importance of environment. After working designing this project for about 45 days, the pictures were printed in the form of a copybook under the title of “Friend of Environment”.
Apart from the copybook, a set of coloring pencils as a complement of the copybook with pictures was given to the pupils. As part of the Advocacy project, a bag full of environmental guidance, information, and children stuff that has less nylon and can be reused was given to the pupils in the selected primary schools. The project is done in a number of stages. On April the 11th the project started with distributing these copybooks in the selected primary schools both within and outside Sulaimani city in a number of days. In the first stage of the project the representative of the general director of Sulaimani education attended who also helped in the selection of these primary schools. In the second and third stages of the project, there will be monitoring on those schools who have been given “Friend of Environment” to see what these pupils have learned from it. Then, workshops and presentations will be held for the teachers in those schools in the hope of having more activities and developing the project in the future.
It is worth mentioning that financially the project was supported by the Environmental Law and Advocacy Project of Nature Iraq which is also supported and funded by the European Union. Furthermore, General Directorate of Sulaimani Education reemphasized their whole support of this educational project and valued it as the first educational project conducted about environment from such an early stage in education and emphasized their support for the future stages of the project.
On April 27th 2017, Nature Iraq and the Kurdistan Botanical Foundation under a grant from the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund (PBNF), held the second workshop on the “Peace Park Creation for the Conservation of the Persian Leopard” where the project team presented an update on the project and the field work findings. The topics discussed were: the legal aspect of the peace park creation, lessons learned in PA management in southern Iraq, and the landmine issue in our study area and how to cooperate with the Mine directorate to overcome this challenge.
The participants in the workshops ranged from high government officials from the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, Kurdistan Regional government (KRG) Parliament, KRG Minister for environmental issues, KRG Ministery of Agriculture, Sulaimani General Directorate of Agriculture, KRG Commission for Protection and Improvement of Environment, Sulaimani Directorate of Forestry, Faculty of Biology and Agriculture of University of Sulaimani, and many local experts and nature enthusiasts.
Meet Azzam Alwash, the man who left a life of luxuries behind in the US to return to his native Iraq and restore the country’s historically significant wetlands to their former glory.
By Luca Bonaccorsi
It might upset Brexiters, but the fact is that civilisation as we know it was probably born in Iraq. Yes, “the ape” came down from the trees in Africa, but it’s here, in the Garden of Eden of the Mesopotamian marshlands, that “the ape” learned to write, farm and build cities.
6,000 years later, the water was drained out of the marshes by Saddam Hussein, and Eden was reduced to desert and rubbles. Since then, thanks to restoration efforts, the marshlands have bounced back to life.
You landed in Iraq in June 2003, two months after the second Iraqi war. Was it dangerous?
Southern Iraq was safe by then. The area of the marshes, however, was a conflict zone in the Iraq-Iran war in the eighties, so the place had plenty of unexploded ordnances and mines. These can be dangerous, especially in flat terrains, or when covered with water, and represented a constant hazard. We were lucky, and careful, enough not to suffer any injuries, but there are documented cases of people losing limbs. The closer you got to the Iranian border, the worse it got. There it was best to ignore the landscape and keep your eyes on the ground.
Did you get funding to clean up?
No, also because I believe de-mining is difficult, expensive and not always an efficient option. Had Iraq been a rich country I could understand the investment, but in these conditions, it’s futile to spend money for de-mining remote areas. Plus, the truth is that, at times, mines have helped nature. In the northern part of Iraq, in the Kurdish mountains, the presence of mines has discouraged hunters.
This has changed the natural geography of the place: the vegetation has changed, goats and wild boars have returned in numbers, and with the prey you get the predator, such as the Persian leopard. The mines have recreated an habitat that was probably there before humans appeared in the area. It’s a sad lesson that conservationists learn: take out the humans and nature thrives [laughs].
This article was published in BirdLife Website.
Read more about the article..
Advocacy Project Team in Nature Iraq organization continuously investigate and follow up all laws, instructions, and guidelines issued by the legislative order. The team is also always trying to make sure that the NGOs and people are participated in the drafting and issuing the environmental laws. There is and always have been attempts and works done to build up cooperation between the organizations (NGOs) and the policy makers in drafting and writing the environmental laws.
When the instruction number (1) of 2015, pertaining to (Hunting and Conserving Wild Animals and Birds) was published in the official (Kurdistan Gazette), the advocacy team of the project had some notes regarding the instructions. Two meetings were held both in Sulaimani and Duhok to record different opinions and suggestions and the representatives of the environmental organizations, higher education, forest police, and expertise in animal rights and reservation attended the meeting. With the important notes on the laws, Samad Mohammed (the Judge) was notified that the law isn’t well drafted and issued and can’t be applied with such nature. For this reason another joint meeting was held in 22-1-2017 among the Environmental Restoration and Protection Unit (and Samad Mohammed as deputy minster attended), a number of environmental organizations in Hawler, Hawler Environmental office, Teachers of Higher Education, and the University of Hawler in the Meeting Hall in the Environmental Restoration and Protection Unit.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss the points and articles of the guideline and to hear the response of Samad Mohammed on the notes already taken. Then, because the content and the drafting of the guideline had problems, at the end of the meeting Samad Mohammed decided that:
In the country’s southern marshes, the government is helping families to rebuild their floating communities, 25 years after the land was drained
An Iraqi Marsh Arab paddles her boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya. Saddam Hussein mounted a campaign against the Marsh Arabs in the 1990s to destroy their lifestyle. Photograph: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters
The morning of 20 January 1992 began much like any other for the Mohammed family in the marshlands of southern Iraq. Rising at first light, they roused their herd of buffaloes and drove the beasts snorting and protesting into the surrounding wetlands to graze. After a quick breakfast of bread and yoghurt, washed down with sugary tea, they readied themselves for a long day out on the water.
But on that day, one of the coldest on record, five-year-old Hanaa and her mother caught no fish and gathered no reeds. No sooner had they paddled past the last of their neighbours’ floating reed houses than a squadron of government fighter jets emerged from the mist, guns blazing. They reduced the artificial islets to embers, and killed many of the buffaloes. Not content with shooting up a few villages as punishment for locals’ alleged harbouring of defeated Shia rebels, Saddam Hussein soon dispatched his engineers to divert the Tigris and Euphrates rivers away from the marshes. The effects were disastrous. By the turn of the last century, the Middle East’s largest wetlands had withered from a peak of 20,000 sq km to almost nothing.