Iraq

UNICEF and UNV - Joint Press Release: International Youth Day 2021 Youth-led action for climate resilience [EN/AR]

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Young people take the lead to tackle climate change and protect their environment in Iraq

Baghdad 12 August 2021-The 12th of August marks the International Youth Day every year, a day to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions, and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal, and equitable engagement.

This year’s theme, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, highlights the success of global efforts through the meaningful participation of young people.

In the region, Euphrates & Tigris rivers are currently experiencing drought conditions, resulting in lower river flow, and affecting dam storage. The current season is the second driest in 40 years. Iraq is anticipating a serious drought this summer following a particularly dry winter and reduced river flow caused by upstream damming programs by riparian countries.

Climate change has potential impacts on food security such as reduction in wheat production, decrease in surface water storage, drying of shallower wells due to insufficient groundwater recharge, and an increase in the cost of water. If the dry conditions continue, and the water reservoirs are not replenished, the population will face an acute water shortage for irrigation of the next cropping season.

To mark the occasion, young people, the change-makers for a better future, converged and led the discussion on issues around food security in their communities in Fallujah, Anbar district. The event was attended by Anbar’s Governor, Dr. Ai Farhan AlDulaimy, and UNICEF Iraq Representative,
Sheema SenGupta. An online discussion event on youth engagement in food security led by young people also took place in Duhok governorate.

“As we celebrate young people together with our partners, we must ensure they are heard and included in the decision-making process, by highlighting solutions developed by them to address food security challenges.” said Sheema SenGupta, UNICEF Representative to Iraq during the event.
Zain provided entertainment and distributed some promotional materials. The agencies commended all their partners including Zain for being allies to young people in Iraq

UNICEF and UNV are working closely with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to mainstream civic engagement and volunteering among young people across Iraq for sustainable development, including for environment and climate change. A new national innovative initiative is being jointly set up, with the aim of providing young people with access to a wide range of engagement opportunities in different sectors.

The two UN agencies reiterate calls for an inclusive mechanism that ensures support from decisionmakers to address the youth’s needs to overcome the situations and work together in bringing change to their community. We must come together and show our commitment by dedicating resources to young people to achieve sustainable development for all.

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Media contacts:

Miguel Mateos Munoz Chief of Communication – UNICEF Iraq mmateosmunoz@unicef.org +964 7827820238

Innocent Kafembe Digital Communication Specialist – UNICEF Iraq ikafembe@unicef.org +964 783352569