(Reissued as received.)
NAIROBI/GENEVA, 21 March (UNEP) - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that its Post-Conflict Assessment Unit has initiated a desk study of the environment in Iraq.
The study, requested by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer, will be financially supported by the Government of Switzerland. It is aimed at providing a rapid and timely overview of key environmental issues in the context of the current conflict and is in line with the mandate for UNEP's post-conflict activities set by its Governing Council.
Drawing on information available from multiple sources, including current media, government and non-governmental organizationreports on the unfolding conflict, UNEP will prepare a preliminary assessment of the most pressing environmental challenges facing those involved in the post-conflict humanitarian relief and reconstruction effort.
The report will include recommendations for avoiding, minimizing or mitigating risks to the environment and human health, and is likely to identify priorities related to the management of freshwater and waste, as well as means of preventing further ecosystem degradation in Iraq. It will also identify and suggest possible responses to environmental hazards arising directly from the ongoing military conflict.
The UNEP has also made available on its Web site (www.unep.org) a comprehensive set of information on "Conflict and the Environment in West Asia (Iraq, Kuwait and the Gulf Region)". The Web site includes various statistics and assessments conducted after the 1991 Gulf War, as well as other relevant documentation.
For more information, please contact: Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information, tel.: +254-2-623292, mobile: +254-733-682656, e-mail: email@example.com; or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media, tel.: +2542-2-623084, mobile: +254-2-733-632755; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.