The dialogue programme “Clean Tigris” is a two year project that brings together city mayors, governors, members of national and regional parliaments, academics, active members of civil society and artists living along the two main rivers Euphrates and Tigris and the Marshlands in Iraq. Together, they will develop sustainable solutions to fight water pollution and to improve the water management of Iraq.
In 2016, the marshlands of Iraq were listed a UNESCO world heritage. Water means life and the water of the two rivers serves as an important food and water source for the Iraqi population, and as an economic livelihood for fishermen, buffalo herders, or families who harvest reed. The population living along the rivers realise that the cultural heritage of the Marshlands is drying out and that the surfaces are polluted with plastic waste. In several communities along the rivers, governors and local NGOs are already running initiatives to improve the situation. But as water is floating from North to South, a joint effort from all communities is needed to improve the situation.
The dialogue programme will give the communities the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, learn from one another and develop sustainable solutions together. The programme includes capacity trainings on dialogue and negotiation skills, and extends the knowledge of the participants regarding the current water situation (dam construction, water pollution by industry and households etc), Iraqs legal situation and environmental laws, international conventions and the impact of conflicts on water scarcity. The programme will also discuss the water challenges from a gender perspective and strives to share some good practices from other river countries.
A conference in Baghdad is planned for the end of 2020, where the developed strategies will be shared with a wider audience. In the second year, we envisage an opening of the dialogue to communities in Northern Syria or Turkey and a joint water festival is planned for late 2021.