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Press centre

Joint news note

Survey on the state of the environment in Iraq launched

BAGHDAD, 22 September 2011 - The Government of Iraq, in cooperation with UNICEF and the European Union, today launched the findings of a survey on the state of the environment in Iraq. Assessing the conditions of the water, sanitation and garbage disposal services, the survey provides the first comprehensive understanding of environmental conditions and services across Iraq since 2005.

“This survey provides data which will greatly assist in the development of appropriate policies to change the reality of our environment” said the Minister of Planning, Dr. Ali Yousif Al-Shukri.  “By taking the necessary measures to improve the health of the citizen, the standard of living, as well as raising awareness about the environment within communities we will contribute significantly to its improvement.”

The results obtained from surveying 425 utilities in all of Iraq’s 18 governorates mark an important improvement over the data obtained in the previous survey, which covered fewer utilities and only 16 Governorates. The survey findings show that 79% of the population has access to the drinking water distribution network, leaving one in every five Iraqis without access to safe drinking water. In rural areas, those without access to safe drinking water doubles to two in every five Iraqis. Similarly, in the waste collection sector, while 66% of the overall population has access to waste collection services, the majority are in urban areas with only 8% of all people living in rural areas receiving garbage collection services. In the sanitation sector, 17% of the population does not have access to adequate sanitation services.

“The findings of this survey make it very clear that there is a major disparity in access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and waste disposal services between those living in urban and rural areas” said UNICEF's Representative, Mr. Osama Makkawi. “In order to ensure these services reach the vast majority of children as well as the overall population, all efforts must now be taken to provide them to those who are most in need; Iraqis living in rural areas.”

The survey shows that the main challenges facing the water, sanitation, and waste disposal sectors are: fluctuations in the supply of electricity which cause inefficiencies in the operation of all utilities; shortages in equipment and machinery; the need for wider public awareness of the role of citizens to conserve water and improve sanitary waste disposal practices; and the need for enhanced capacity of technical and administrative officials to improve the overall provision of quality services.

“Good water policies are based on solid data and statistics. The survey results are very important to ensure a proper functioning water and sanitation sector in Iraq in the future " said the European Union’s Ambassador to Iraq, Mrs. Jana Hybásková. “The EU is and will help to build the water knowledge needed in Iraq to improve the life of Iraqis and protect the environment for future generations, which is a common priority in the EU – Iraq cooperation”.

The survey is a component of the $10 million project between the European Union, UNICEF and the Government of Iraq to strengthen the government's capacity for improved management of the water and sanitation sector. The survey was conducted over the past year with experts from the Ministries of Planning, Municipalities and Public Works, Environment and Higher Education, the Municipality of Baghdad and relevant institutions in the Kurdistan region.

About UNICEF Iraq
UNICEF has been on the ground in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential. UNICEF is supporting the Government of Iraq
to develop child friendly policies, build the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children, and convene all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes continue to improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, rebuild water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet the needs of the most vulnerable in crisis situations.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:
About EU in Iraq
Helping Iraqi national efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which have a strong two-way link to the peace consolidation process is fundamental for the EU.  The EU’s cooperation focus has been to help Iraq mobilize its own resources for recovery and development, with the support of the international community.  EU support to Iraq from 2003 to the end of 2010 amounts to over €1 billion targeting mainly the following sectors: basic services such as education, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure; political and electoral process; support to refugees and IDPs; rule of law; human rights; and capacity building of Iraqi institutions. 
Water and Sanitation has received in total over €74 million from 2004 to 2010 to provide more water and better water quality through transfer water management skills, policies and water testing methods. The indicative budget for Water and Sanitation for the years 2011 – 2013 is €15 million and will focus on ground water resources, water quality monitoring, and water education.

For more information about EU in Iraq visit:

For further information please contact:
Mr. Abdul-Zahra Al-Hindawi, Spokesman for the Ministry of Planning,
Tel + 9647903327036,

Jaya Murthy, UNICEF Iraq,
Tel + 962796926190,

Salam Abdulmunem, UNICEF Iraq,
Tel + 9647809126782,

Anton Stemberger, EU Iraq, Anton.




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