World Bank, GEF Partner with Iraq for Environmental Initiatives to Combat Chemical Pollution

Iraq has launched a multi-million-dollar initiative to combat chemical pollution in the country in collaboration with the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Environment Minister Nizar Amedi said on Thursday.

Praising this “crucial shift” in the country’s efforts to mitigate pollution, Amedi said the projects mustered unprecedented international backing, with a total financial aid grant amounting to $20 million.

In a press conference he held earlier today, the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Environmental and Climate Affairs, Ali al-Lami, said the initiative has two primary objectives.

“Firstly, setting the national plan to implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in motion. Iraq officially acceded to the convention under Law 45 of 2015,” he said, “in order to achieve this goal, various partners, such as the Ministries of Electricity, Agriculture, Industry, Minerals, and Municipalities, should join hands.”

“The project activities will emphasize the secure and environmentally sound disposal of expired and damaged pesticides, as well as the removal of Askarel oils and 1,300 tons of contaminated transformers,” al-Lami added, “comprehensive institutional support will be extended to all relevant ministries in order to facilitate the implementation of the Stockholm Convention, the development of pertinent strategies, the updating of related laws and legislations, and the enhancement of laboratory capabilities for conducting analyses and measurements of persistent organic pollutants.”

The second project, entitled “Highly Polluted Sites in the Liberated Areas / Phase 2,” seeks to build upon the first phase, which involved the assessment of numerous highly polluted sites across six provinces liberated from ISIS terrorists. This endeavor will be executed in close coordination with the World Bank, which has provided essential support for the initiative.

Al-Lami noted that, based on the outcomes of the first phase assessments, specific locations will be designated for environmental cleanup and rehabilitation.

“This process is designed to re stabilize those territories and ensure the establishment of a secure and clean environment that is conducive to the ongoing reconstruction efforts in the liberated provinces,” he said.

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