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Phase II-B: June 2006 -



Summary

With the funding from the Government of Japan, Phase II-B of the project has been supporting activities on drinking water provision and water quality management, pilot implementation and community level awareness, and awareness raising since its commencement in July 2006.

Building on the success of the first phase of this project, complemented by data analysis efforts of phase II-A, this project phase aims to provide immediate relief to another community by providing drinking water, and building the community-level capability to implement initiatives to protect the marsh environment and human health.


Activities

Initial Meeting: UNEP Support for Environmental Management of the Iraqi Marshlands (Phase II-B) (26-27 July 2006, Amman, Jordan)

As an introduction to Phase II-B, the Initial Meeting to discuss the project and to establish cooperation was held in July 2006, Amman, Jordan. High-level officials from the Ministries of Environment, Water Resources, and Municipalities and Public works attended the meeting.


Pilot Implementation for Drinking Water Provision

Similar to the first phase of the project, UNEP has requested the Iraqi institutions to jointly nominate a community for the drinking water project. Based on the Iraqi nomination, Al-Ghreej village with a population of approximately 3000 persons in Thi-Qar Governorate has been selected for pilot implementation of drinking water utilizing environmentally sound technologies. The nearest water source is Euphrates River and the river water requires desalination to meet the Iraqi drinking water standards. The community has expressed its willingness to provide cooperation and support to the implementation of pilot project, which is one of the major criteria for the selection. Field assessment and facility design is in progress and procurement of EST equipment and construction is scheduled to follow.



Training Course

Training course on drinking water provision with ESTs (6-15 December 2006, Shiga, Japan)

This training course was organized to train Iraqi partners on drinking water provision with ESTs and water quality management. The training course consisted of a pre-training and a two-week full training course. The pre-training was conducted inside Iraq (29-31 October 2006, Thi-Qar, Iraq) and 20 people from the three relevant Ministries participated. Among the 20, nine people with outstanding performance on the final examination were selected to participate in the full two-week training course in Japan.



International Workshop

International workshop on Iraqi Marshland management (8 December 2006, Kyoto, Japan)

This workshop was organized to take stock of the conditions of the Iraqi Marshlands from the environmental, water resource, and socio-economic perspectives, and to analyze results and achievements of various management initiatives on the ground, to receive feedback from Iraqi stakeholders on these initiatives, and to discuss options to further support sustainable marshlands management practices.


Report on Press Conference & Courtesy Visit, Tokyo (7 December 2006)

UNEP organized a press conference about the progress of the Iraqi Marshlands project in Tokyo, Japan. Speakers included Mr. Tuoma Helou, Deputy Minister of Environment of Iraq, Mr. Hideo Fukushima, Director of the Global Environment division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Dr. Ali Al-Lami, National Coordinator of the UNEP Marshlands project. The press conference recognized the success of the project, particularly the provision of safe drinking water to up to 22,000 residents, and underscored the need for additional assistance. Over 100 press coverage have resulted from this press conference, and the UNEP Press Release can be accessed from the following link.

7 December 2006: UNEP Reveals New Data on Iraqi Marshlands Recovery (UNEP Press Release)



Environmental Awareness Programmes (Local Community Level Initiative)

The project supports the organization of local initiatives focusing on women, marshland environment, and health impacts. Activities have been organized in 15 villages in three governorates, in cooperation with the Women and Environment Organization (WEO) and Basrah University. The project is supporting tangible activities that can be implemented locally and understood well by the target population, such as public awareness campaigns, community level workshops with local female instructors, distribution of information materials and small goods to improve environmental and health conditions to the target group, and installation of equipment for communal use and management. Most of the villages targeted in these efforts face environmental and basic health problems, yet have not received previous support from any bi- or multilateral initiatives. As such, this project is addressing acute needs of the rural local residents, especially women.



Update of Awareness Raising Materials

The second edition of "Back to Life" (December 2006)

The second edition of this popular booklet has been published in December 2006, reflecting the latest progress of the project. It is available in Arabic, English, and Japanese in both hardcopy and downloadable formats.


UNEP supported BBC Earth Report on Iraqi Marshlands (November 2006)

Utilizing extensive film footage collected during Phase I, the project has supported the production of a documentary for international broadcast on BBC, as part of the Earth Report series by TVE, and a short Video News Release for distribution to international news broadcasts. The BBC Earth Report on the Iraqi Marshlands was broadcast around the world, starting in November 2006.