In 2016, the marshlands of Iraq were listed a UNESCO world heritage.
Water means life and the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris serve as important food and water sources for the Iraqi population: be it as an economic livelihood for fishermen, buffalo herders, or families who harvest reed. The population living along the rivers realised that the cultural heritage of the Marshlands is drying out and 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 since the water flows from North to South, a joint effort from all communities is needed to improve the situation.
The dialogue programme “Clean Tigris” brings city mayors and other decision makers, academics, active members of civil society and artists living along the two main rivers Euphrates and Tigris and the Marshlands in Iraq into a dialogue. Together, they develop sustainable solutions to fight water pollution and strive to improve the water management in the country.
In a nutshell, Clean Tigris in 2020, encompassed the following activities:
- 10 online workshops with local and international experts on water legislation, international water conflicts, transboundary conflict resolution and negotiation games, as well as the impact of climate change in Iraq and gender dynamics of water conflicts.
- 2 workshops with city majors and the BDZ Leipzig
- 14 videos and animations, 25 animated infographics and 8 videos by participants for our social media. In their short handy filmed videos, the participants give us a glimpse of their very personal stories with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The videos will be accessible on our dialogue platform.
- 1 social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram #cleantigris
- 1 dialogue platform/ project website
- 1 ‘visualise it’ project with students of the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT) at the TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences)
- 1 research publication with international and local researchers on water challenges in Iraq
- 1 comic book with 3 Iraqi comic illustrators raises awareness to the importance and history of the two streams of Mesopotamia. The book introduces us to Enki, sumerian god of water and creation. The readers then follows the beginnings of mankind up to a dystopian vision of a world without water.
The dialogue programme gives civil society and city majors 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.
In 2021, the dialogue programme will be intensified: city mayors, politicians and decision makers work jointly with academics, active members of civil society and artists on a Memorandum with concrete policy recommendations. The programme will also open up for stakeholders from Northern Syria and Turkey. In the end of 2021, a water festival with cities and activists along the two main streams is planned.