Ministry spokesperson Hamid al-Nayef explained to the state-owned newspaper al-Sabah that confronting the desertification by cultivating green belts requires huge sums of money and a clear strategy, stating the amount currently allocated to the ministry is not sufficient.
“Baghdad is an unlivable city, especially in its Rusafa district, due to the lack of green spaces,” Nayef said.
Iraq faces multiple climate threats, including water shortages, desertification, and rising temperatures. Despite these, Baghdad is just beginning to develop a climate strategy. In September, the parliament voted to accede to the Paris Agreement.
Nayef said Iraq once had 45 oases, mostly in Anbar province, which generated economic resources and provided job opportunities. However, only 20 remain, due to destruction by the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014.
The Iraqi Farmers Association said on Monday there are only 15 million dunams being cultivated in Iraq out of 44 million dunams.
There is an increase in desertification and a rise of population in Iraq but Turkey and Iran are more eager than ever to keep water resources for themselves, AFP reported in 2020.
According to a 2020 report published by the National Refugee Council, an estimated 15,000 displacements in Dhi-Qar, Misan and Basra were triggered by water shortages as of January 2019.
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