Photo exhibition of Iraqi marshlands, June 2006


Eden: Marshlands of Mesopotamia, photographic exhibition by MedWet and Embassy of Canada at Ecofilms Festival, 20-25 June, Rodos, Greece

A photographic exhibition on Eden: Marshlands of Mesopotamia jointly organised by MedWet and the Embassy of Canada will take place during the course of the Ecofilms Rodos International Film + Audio Visual Arts Festival, 20-25 June 2006, Rodos, Greece.

Eden portrayed in the exhibition is the largest wetland in the Middle East. It is an expansive oasis flooded by waters of mountains in Turkey and Iran that then flow into the Gulf of Persia. Home to the civilization of the Sumerians, it is also important for communities of Marsh Arabs who have lived in that area for centuries. A population of about 100,000 Ma'dan, as they are known, live in Mesopotamian wetlands today and their well being is linked to the wise use of the wetlands.

As about one third of the wetlands of Mesopotamia have been drained and lost over the past 30 years, it is important to protect what remains. With support by the Ramsar Convention, Iraq and Iran agreed, during the High-level Conference on the Restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshlands (co-organised by UNEP and ROPME (Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment), held in Manama, Bahrain, 28 February- 1 March 2005), on working together towards the wetland's designation as a transboundary Ramsar site.

Thirty-seven color prints with portraits of Marsh Arabs, village life, wildlife and landscapes taken during a Biodiversity Survey organised in 2005 will be displayed in the exhibition. The photographer, Mr Mudhafar Salim, participated in the Survey undertaken as part of a Canada-Iraq Marshlands Initiative (CIMI) to restore the wetland.

A mediaeval building, located at walking distance from the Ecofilms venues, will host the exhibition. Located in the old city of Rodos, the 'French lodging' forms part of a row of mediaeval buildings lining the Street of Knights.

Sponsored by the Embassy of Canada the exhibition is also supported by the Prefecture of the Dodecanese islands, Greece, as well as the Ecofilms Festival.

Sofia Spirou
Communications Officer
MedWet Coordination Unit
Villa Kazouli, Kifissias & Lambraki 1, 14561 Athens, Greece
Tel: (+30) 210 - 80 89 270 Fax (+30) 210 - 80 89 274

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