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IMPLEMENTATION - Project Implementation Details

Implementation Structure

The Iraqi Marshlands project has been carried out through the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) of the Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics (DTIE) in Japan.

Due to the prevailing security situation in Iraq, entry of United Nations personnel into Iraq has been severely restricted. As such, UNEP has been implementing this project through close cooperation with the relevant Iraqi institutions, including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Water Resources, and Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works. UNEP has established a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) within the premises of the Iraqi Ministry of Environment. The project has also engaged a national coordinator with appropriate security precautions for coordination and monitoring of activities inside Iraq. For field work and assessments, contractors with extensive experience operating in Iraq and under similar conditions have been utilized. Cooperation with NGOs, community groups, and academic organizations that are active in Southern Iraq, such as Nature Iraq, Marsh Arab Councils, Universities of Basrah and Thi-Qar, and Women and Environment Organization (WEO), have been established to carry out various activities, such as local awareness raising activities, secondary training organization, and on-the-ground joint activities in pilot projects. The Project Coordinator in Japan is responsible for the overall coordination of project management.

In addition, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has provided assistance for the implementation and management. UNEP has led the substantive responsibility for project implementation, while UNOPS has provided support for the provision of project inputs, procurement and contracting, monitoring and evaluation, and for reporting.

In order to establish a reliable platform for information and data sharing, the project has established the Marshland Information Network (MIN), which is an internet-based information management system. The MIN nodes have been established with five servers and associated equipment in the relevant ministries with proper training for its management. The network is also a practical tool to support monitoring and reporting given the special security constraints that limit movement of UN personnel.

Existing UNEP Capacity

The project utilizes various institutional capacities that exist within UNEP, such as capacity to implement ESTs and pilot demonstrations, experience in conducting post-conflict assessments, and also previous work in Iraq.

EST capacity: The International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) has been implementing this project. IETC, under the Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics (DTIE), facilitates the transfer of environmentally sound technologies. It has supported pilot projects of EST applications and capacity building in developing countries since its inception in 1994 (UNEP IETC, 2004), with the following specific expertise relevant for the project:

  • Environmental technology assessment, with experience in coordinating cleaner technology demonstrations in various developing countries
  • Water and sanitation EST implementation
  • Environmental education and training
  • Information network development expertise, especially on the EST Information System, with system implementation experience in least developed countries in Africa and Asia
  • Phytotechnology applications for water quality control and wetland management

Pilot demonstration capacity: DTIE possesses direct implementation capacity and track record. Its National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) programme has implemented over 1,000 cleaner technology assessments and pilot EST implementation in 24 countries in 10 years, with UNIDO (UNEP DTIE, 2004). Such capacity has been recognized in Rio +5 and Johannesburg Summit.

Post-conflict experience: UNEP has implemented post-conflict environmental assessments in Afghanistan, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Liberia, Sudan, and other places (UNEP DEPI, 2004, 2007). UNEP has also recently completed a project in Iraq to carry out hot spot assessments and capacity building for the Ministry of Environment.

Marshland assessment: UNEP is the agency that alerted the international community regarding the destruction of the Iraqi Marshlands. It has been the leading agency in reporting on the conditions of the Marshes, and has the necessary institutional knowledge and information to analyze and recommend response, in consultation with local partners (UNEP, 2001 and 2003).

Measures to Improve Coordination Among Donors and UN Agencies

Regular discussions for collaboration with various bi- and multi-lateral agencies with activities in Southern Iraq have been ongoing through the following mechanisms:

Roundtable on Marshland Initiatives:

UNEP has organized a roundtable on marshland initiatives in September 2004, in Amman. This meeting has provided an opportunity to discuss the current status of various initiatives taking place in the Marshlands, both environmental and otherwise, supported by the UN agencies in the UNDG framework, bilateral organizations, NGOs, and other stakeholders. Iraqi counterparts and relevant ministries were invited to participate. The Iraqi delegation was led by the Minister of Environment. Furthermore, the Ministers of Environment of Japan and Jordan, as well as the UNEP Executive Director participated, underscoring the importance of the issue. Discussions enabled the participating institutions to share insight and information about ongoing initiatives, and to strengthen cooperation.

Donor Coordination:

UNEP has been nominated to serve as a liaison for donor coordination by both Iraqi and donor institutions at the occasion of the third donor coordination meeting on the Iraqi Marshlands in October 2004, organized by the Government of Italy. The project also organized a donor coordination meeting in November 2005 in Paris, France. The meeting was attended by three ministers from Iraq, the Executive Coordinator of the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund, and other senior level officials. The meeting provided a forum to discuss the contributions and status of various Iraqi-led and donor-supported initiatives that support/facilitate the establishment of a longer-term marshland management plan.