Iraq Forms Panel to Protect Natural Heritage Sites
|May 16, 2014||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
Iraq Daily News -
A national committee has been formed to protect Iraq‘s natural heritage sites, support its nature preserves and enhance environmental tourism, the Ministry of the Environment said May 9th.
The committee will work to further the goals set out in the National Strategy for the Protection of the Environment for 2014-2017, ministry spokesman Ameer Ali al-Hassoun told Mawtani.
It will focus on preserving areas of ecological diversity and nature preserves and will work to have these areas listed as heritage sites in order to secure international support, he said.
The new committee, headed by the Ministry of the Environment with representation from the Ministry of Tourism and other government agencies, “is the first such technical committee of its kind in Iraq that is concerned with the issue of natural heritage”, he said.
As part of its goals to make this year a year for the environment, the ministry has started several projects and programmes to develop and improve the environment in collaboration with other ministries and entities, al-Hassoun said.
The committee will draft periodic reports, recommendations and resolutions as well as monthly and quarterly follow-up reports on proposed or active initiatives for the protection of sites of ecological diversity and cultural and humanitarian heritage, he said.
It will seek to strengthen the overall environmental situation of these places and find ways to ensure they develop and flourish, he said.
“The new committee will strive to care for the natural sites and preserves, including the marshes, which recently were recognised as world ecological protectorates by UNESCO, the old caves, the water springs, lakes and the various areas known for their unique nature,” ministry media director Mustafa Majeed told Mawtani.
The committee, to be headed by environment ministry technical undersecretary Ali Allamy, will conduct a study of the general situation of these environmental sites to find ways to effectively develop and protect their natural and ecological resources, as these are national riches, he said.
A Collective Effort
The new committee also will solicit international expertise, assistance and support to preserve Iraq’s natural heritage landmarks and list them as cultural and ecological heritage sites, Majeed said.
Developing and preserving nature preserves and landmarks requires collective, partnered effort in order to attain the hoped-for results, he said, noting that it is necessary to plan these projects on “the principle of sharing responsibility with the other relevant institutions”.
Iraqi MP Habib al-Tarfy, who serves on the parliamentary health and environment committee, described the national natural heritage committee as a “real and positive step”.
“The existence of this national committee had been a priority and an urgent need in view of the important and effective role it could assume in protecting the natural formations — which have exceptional cultural and humanitarian value — against spoilage, destruction and depredation, as well as in supporting their resources and ecological diversity,” he said.
“These irreplaceable properties represent our national humanitarian wealth, and therefore it is necessary we expend all efforts, both locally and internationally, to protect them against any dangers or threats, and take measures needed to preserve them and safeguard their unique natural beauty,” he said.
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