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Side Events of the Evaluation Meeting (2-5 September 2008)

Support for Environmental Management of the Iraqi Marshlands Project
International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), UNEP DTIE

UNEP organized a series of side events associated with the project evaluation meeting. The side events included a consultation meeting between UNEP and the Iraqi delegation to discuss emerging priorities for the Iraqi environment and site visits to facilities for water quality improvement and ecosystem restoration. In addition, UNEP organized courtesy visits with senior level Japanese government officials and a press conference with the participation of Her Excellency Mrs. Narmin Othman, Iraqi Minister of Environment, who was on her first official visit to Japan.

Consultation Meetings and Site Visits (2 September 2008, Shiga, Japan)

The Iraqi delegation visited UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Shiga on 2 September 2008. Followed by welcome of Mr. Per Bakken, Acting Deputy Director of UNEP DITE and Mr. Surya P. Chandak, Officer-in-Charge of UNEP DTIE IETC, Her Excellency Mrs. Narmin Othman, Minister of Environment of Iraq and other Iraqi delegates attended separate consultation meetings with UNEP-DTIE and Dr. Habib Al-Habr, Director of the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia respectively. Environmental priorities for the Iraqi environment and future cooperation with UNEP were discussed during these meetings.

The Iraqi delegation visited the Lake Biwa Museum. The delegation was welcomed by the Director of the museum and took part in a short guided tour of the museum. The visit provided the delegation with an opportunity to build their understanding about the museum’s role in promoting conservation of the environmental and cultural heritage.

The delegation also visited three sites along Lake Biwa where reeds and plants are utilized for water quality improvement and ecosystem restoration (phytotechnology applications), following a presentation on this topic by UNEP DTIE IETC. The sites included Akanoi river purification facility for Shin-Moriyama River, Ukifune water quality protection facility for agricultural drainage purification, and the reed re-vegetation zone along the shores of Lake Biwa. At each site, officials from the Shiga Prefectural Government provided explanations. At the conclusion of the site visits, Her Excellency indicated that these practical examples for water quality improvement and ecosystem restoration in Lake Biwa will be highly applicable for the initiatives undertaken by her ministry for the restoration of Iraqi Marshlands.

Courtesy Visits with Government of Japan (5 September 2008, Tokyo, Japan)

Her Excellency Mrs. Narmin Othman conducted courtesy visits with Mr. Masayoshi Yoshino, Senior Vice-Minister of the Environment of Japan and Mr. Ichita Yamamoto, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan. In both meetings, Her Excellency thanked the Japanese assistance for the Iraqi Marshland Project and UNEP’s involvement, and requested further assistance for recognized environmental priorities in Iraq. Both governmental officials congratulated Her Excellency and the UNEP team for the successful outcomes of the projects thus far, and pledged to seek possible technical and financial support by the Government of Japan for future projects to address Iraqi environmental priorities.

Press Conference (5 September 2008, Tokyo, Japan)

UNEP organized a press conference about the progress of the Iraqi Marshlands Project in Tokyo, Japan. Speakers included Her Excellency Narmin Othman, Minister of Environment of Iraq, His Excellency Dr. Ghanim Al-Jumaily, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Japan, Mr. Per Bakken, Acting Deputy Director of DTIE, Dr. Chizuru Aoki, Iraqi Project Coordinator of DTIE-IETC, and Dr. Ali Al-Lami, National Coordinator of the UNEP Marshlands project. Yukio Yoshii, Senior Liaison Officer of DTIE-IETC moderated the press conference.

The press conference highlighted the success of the project, informed about the pledge made by the Italian government for the proposed UNEP-UNESCO joint initiative for longer-term marshland management utilizing the world heritage inscription process, and underscored the need for additional assistance to address emerging Iraqi environmental and developmental priorities. 15 representatives from media companies participated in the press conference.

The project and the visit of the Iraqi Environment Minister have generated significant press coverage by TV and radio programmes and newspapers, including NHK, Asahi Newspaper, Yomiuri Newspaper with current total of approximately 60 articles (print and electronic).

Press Release

Invitation to Press Conference (in Japanese)