KRG President urges comprehensive strategies to tackle climate change challenges

Highlighting the severity of the situation, KRG President Barzani referenced recent statistics indicating the alarming rate of desertification and displacement in Iraq due to climate change-induced factors.
KRG President Nechirvan Barzani delivering his speech at the symposium, Sunday May 12 2024. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
KRG President Nechirvan Barzani delivering his speech at the symposium, Sunday May 12 2024. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A symposium titled "Drought and the Impact of Climate Change on the Political, Economic, and Demographic Situation of Iraq" convened in Erbil, the Kurdistan Region, on Sunday, drawing the participation of key officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq.

Among the dignitaries in attendance were Federal Iraq's President Latif Rasheed, KRG President Nechirvan Barzani, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, and KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, alongside numerous notable guests and consular representatives.

In his address, KRG President Nechirvan Barzani underscored the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address the short-term and long-term challenges posed by climate change in both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

Highlighting the severity of the situation, KRG President Barzani referenced recent statistics indicating the alarming rate of desertification and displacement in Iraq due to climate change-induced factors.

"It is imperative that both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) adopt a more proactive approach to addressing climate change through robust policies and programs," KRG President Barzani asserted.

Emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts between regional and federal institutions, KRG President Barzani called for enhanced environmental awareness and education initiatives to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and promote sustainable practices.

"The cooperation between Kurdistan Region's institutions and Federal Iraq's is essential to effectively address the challenges posed by climate change," KRG President Barzani stressed, urging concerted action to safeguard the environment and secure a better future for all.

Iraq's alarming air pollution levels, highlighted in the latest report by the Swiss agency IQAir, underscored the pressing nature of the discussions.

With Iraq ranking second for the most polluted climate globally, the detrimental impact on public health is undeniable, with harmful particles saturating the air Iraqis breathe on a daily basis.

Read More: KRG, Iraqi officials convene symposium on drought, climate change impacts

Environmental experts have identified a range of contributing factors to Iraq's air pollution crisis, including inadequate infrastructure, emissions from refineries, vehicular exhaust, and the concentration of factories in urban areas.

Additionally, rural-to-urban migration has further exacerbated environmental strain.

The symposium also shed light on the devastating toll climate change has taken on Iraq's agricultural sector. With approximately half of the country's agricultural land rendered infertile due to climate-induced degradation, the economic repercussions are profound.

Moreover, the nexus between climate change and health was highlighted, with an estimated 30,000 individuals annually suffering from cancer as a result of environmental factors.

As Iraq grapples with the far-reaching consequences of climate change, the symposium served as a platform for dialogue and cooperation, reaffirming the commitment of regional and national leaders to address these pressing challenges and safeguard the well-being of current and future generations.