Iraq: Ministries of Environment and Water Resources collaborate for the conservation of marshlands of international importance
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On 16 July 2014, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Water Resources of Iraq announced their commitment to develop joint plans and activities for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. They will also collaborate in the management of the Hawizeh Marsh, a Ramsar Site since 2007, submitted for inclusion in the list of World Heritage Sites.
The Hawizeh Marsh, located at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, hosts many animal and plant species, including the endangered Basrah Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis, Euphrates Softshell Turtle Rafetus euphraticus and Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli.
Due the construction of dams and years of drought, in 2010 the marshes had lost half of the area they covered in 2008 and were placed on the Montreux Record, the list of threatened Ramsar Sites.
|The Hawizeh Marsh. Copyright: Lew Young|
During a meeting in July 2014, Dr Ali Al-Ami, Technical Deputy of the Ministry of Environment, Mr Hani Fakhri, Director General of the Center for Restoration of Iraqi Marshlands (CRIMW) - Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Sameera Abd Mohi, Associate Director General of the CRIMW and Mr Hassan Wrewoush, Thi-Qar Government Council Member, agreed on the partnership and on the next steps, including the development of a management plan for the Hawizeh Marsh.
The Ramsar Secretariat welcomes this new collaboration and looks forward to the development of plans and projects to improve the status of the Hawizez Marsh and other wetlands in Iraq.
Continuing efforts to conserve the unique Iraqi Marshes, March 2014