In a significant development for environmental cooperation, Iraq and Iran had announced a joint initiative to combat the pervasive issue of sand and dust storms following a visit by an Iranian delegation to Iraq. Nazir Abboud Faz'a, Adviser to the Minister of Environment of Iraq, made this announcement.
In an interview with the Department of Environment's public relations reporter, Mr. Faz'a expressed his gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran for convening a meeting dedicated to combating sand and dust storms. He underscored the global importance of dealing with this environmental hazard, which has captured the attention of nations worldwide.
Mr. Faz'a emphasized the shared challenges faced by both countries, stating, "We know that Iran is affected by dust storms, and our country faces similar conditions. Much of the dust in Iraq originates from foreign sources, impacting Iran's climate after affecting Iraq."
Highlighting the progress made in previous regional efforts, he noted, "Last year, a regional dust conference took place in Iran, resulting in the signing of two memorandums of understanding. This year, we are committed to translating these agreements into practical actions."
Mr. Faz'a expressed readiness for broader collaboration, stating, "In the near future, we will be prepared to cooperate with Iran and other regional countries on dust control, water management, environmental issues, and more. Both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Nations have welcomed our proposals, and we stand ready for cooperation."
He emphasized the expectation of tangible outcomes from the ongoing conference, including joint projects related to dust early warning systems and the establishment of an international support fund. "We hope these projects can be implemented promptly," he added.
The advisor to the Minister of Environment of Iraq also spoke of the broader vision, saying, "We will issue a final statement that we hope will be embraced by all participating countries."
Mr. Faz'a stressed the need for regional coordination in tackling the dust issue, saying, "Dealing with the dust problem cannot be the sole responsibility of Iran and Iraq; it requires regional cooperation." The visit by the Iranian delegation aimed to put previous agreements into action, leading to the decision to commence implementation operations in four provinces of Iraq and two provinces of Iran.
Regarding the root causes of dust storms, he noted the significance of water scarcity and the need for cooperation with neighboring countries in the region. Pilot projects will soon be initiated to assess their effectiveness, with a commitment to continued collaboration if results are positive.
Highlighting Iraq's commitment to environmental priorities, he mentioned, "The new Iraqi government has placed a strong emphasis on the environment and climate change. We recently hosted a national summit in Basra in collaboration with the United Nations, where practical steps were decided upon."
Looking ahead, Mr. Faz'a revealed plans for an upcoming regional meeting involving neighboring countries. The conference will focus on key topics such as the green economy, water management, carbon coexistence, and climate change.
This collaborative effort between Iraq and Iran signifies a crucial step forward in addressing environmental challenges and fostering regional cooperation to combat the persistent issue of sand and dust storms.