The European Union and UNICEF, in collaboration with Eni, launch a project to improve the water quality for 850,000 people in Basra

By 2024, the project aims to provide access to improved and climate resilient water services to children, young people and their families in two areas, Al-Baradiya and Al-Jiha watersheds in Basra. This includes 40 schools and 21 health centers.

07 February 2022

BASRA, 07 February 2022. – The European Union (EU) and UNICEF, in collaboration with Eni, launched a project today in partnership with the Basra Governorate, aiming to improve the water quality for 850,000 people in Basra City, including over 160,000 children as direct beneficiaries. The launch ceremony was attended by the Governor of Basra, H.E. Asaad Al Edani, Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation in Iraq, Paula Bulancea, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Iraq, Alberto Piatti, Eni’s Head of Sustainable Development, Walid ElMahdy, Eni Iraq BV Managing Director, and other authorities.

“UNICEF continues to work in Iraq to support a climate-resilient environment, ensure access to safe water and empower young people to be actors of change through civic engagement. This project with the EU in collaboration with Eni will help to ensure the provision of equitable, sustainable, and safe drinking water to vulnerable populations and support sustainable green job creation for young people in Basra city,” said Paula Bulancea, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Iraq.

“We are proud to continue with this important joint programme with UNICEF our strong EU engagement in Iraq and in particular in the South of Iraq, notably in Basra. It is our priority to contribute to improving the quality of life for Basrawis and strengthening the capacity of the water sector to provide for the equitable and sustainable provision of clean drinking water, in close collaboration with the Basra authorities. Applying an employment-intensive approach, we will contribute to creating green decent jobs for Basra’s Youth but also build strong alliances to advance the climate change agenda together with ENI,” confirmed Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation of the EU in Iraq.  

“This partnership is a clear example of how public-private alliances can create added value for local development, contributing to improving people’s living conditions. Eni will provide its Al-Baradiya water treatment plants – each with a capacity of 400,000 liters per hour –under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Oil and Basra Oil Company, and thanks to this joint initiative with UNICEF and the EU we will be able to supply clean drinking water to the community of Basra. By joining our forces we will take one step closer to the achievement of the UN SDGs”, said Alberto Piatti, Eni’s Head of Sustainable Development.

Climate change has a dire impact on children’s lives in Iraq, including increasing water scarcity and salinization, with serious implications on the country´s future. Nearly 3 out of 5 children in Iraq have no access to safely managed water services and less than half of all schools in the country have access to basic water.

As a response and thanks to the project, 350,000 people in two communities within Basra city, will have access to improved and climate-resilient water services. In addition, 1,000 people in Basra city, especially young people, will have improved capacity to contribute to delivering equitable services and promote employment-intensive green growth.

To implement the project, which cost almost $7 million over 3 years, UNICEF will work in close coordination with local authorities in Basra and the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Public Municipalities in Baghdad and in partnership with Basra Water Directorate and private consultancy firms, and through strengthening capacities of local contractors, NGOs, and operators to improve water services management and social inclusion.

The project, launched by the EU and UNICEF in collaboration with Eni, is a new step in the right direction and aligns with joint engagement with the business sector to drive progress towards Agenda 2030 and the SDGs in Iraq and globally.


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