Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, February 22, 2013

What is your advice for Iraq?

We get an email newsletter from Iraq Business News and they resently posted a question: What advice do you have for Iraq?  Here was our answer:

As Iraq rushes to develop, folks at Nature Iraq (an Iraqi Conservation organization) feel that the environment is being left out of the equation at every turn. But to do so is a perilous path that Iraqis may long live to regret because once the land, air and water are degraded and its rare species are gone, it is very expensive and possibly impossible to turn back the clock. So in addition to the many other good suggestions, we would recommend that Iraq needs to properly address problems in the following 3 sectors:

1. Water – Wake up! Oil is important but Turkey is building the Ilisu Dam and Iran is also building dams on all the tributaries that lead into Iraq. Everyone inside and outside the country is on a dam-building frenzy … the losers will be everyone downstream and the rivers themselves. Also pollution from oil development, sewage and garbage is only going to get worse. This is a problem that can’t be ignored and the health of the country is rooted in it.

2. Land & Air – Chronic pollution to land and air; desertification … this issues make any possibility of “sustainable” development in Iraq nothing but a pipe-dream. Of course, Iraq’s going to develop its oil … even we environmentalists know that. But one day that oil will run out and what sort of country will be left then?

3. Biodiversity – The planet is in the midst of a massive species extinction. Iraq has signed on to the Convention on Biological Diversity but must implement it to have any hope of protecting its biological resources.