Jan Kubis, special representative of the secretary-general and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation concerning Iraq on August 8, 2018, in New York. Photo: UN
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — In an update to the UN Security Council, UNAMI head Jan Kubis emphasized that a quarter of the population in southern Iraq face emanate water outages.
Kubis touched on a number of subjects, but water shortages were perhaps the most poignant in a fragile country, rebuilding after ISIS, and that has yet to form a new government following the parliamentary election on May 12.
"Furthermore, in the five southern governorates, it is expected that the water scarcity will increase over the coming months, putting about 25 percent of this 2 million population at risk of experiencing water service outage, water-borne related diseases and possible displacement," said Kubis
More than 1.1 million Iraqis are currently displaced. The country is supposed to be in stabilization and rebuilding stage post-ISIS. Protests have already rocked southern and central provinces over a lack of basic services and jobs.
"UNICEF, IOM and UNHCR, in coordination with the Ministry of Municipalities, Construction, and Housing and local governmental bodies, have begun to take stock of the Government of Iraq's mitigation activities to identify potential gaps in coverage as the situation worsens over the coming hot and dry months," added Kubis.
He noted that Iraqi Prime Minister has attempted to address the problem through chairing a meeting of the Supreme Water Committee on June 27.
"UNDP, on its part, has provided support to the government to develop Iraq’s strategy on regional cooperation for transboundary water management," Kubis explained.
UK Permanent Representative to the UN Karen Pierce is presiding over the UN Security Council for the month of August.
Much of Iraq's water comes from mountain runoff into dams and rivers located in the Kurdistan Region and disputed areas.
Iraq's northern and eastern neighbors also have contributed to shortages by damming rivers.
He noted that Baghdad has "requested the Government of Turkey to delay the filling of the Ilisu Dam."
The UNAMI head "praised" Iran for expressing that it is open to dialogue on the water management issues.
The Supreme Water Committee "also agreed on the way forward to engage bilaterally with Turkey and Iran on the sharing of transboundary water resources," Kubis added.
While over-usage and an inability to recycle water is a concern for Iraq, Kubis also pointed to climate change
"On climate change, UNDP conducted a capacity building event from 10 to 12 June for 25 high-ranking officials from climate relevant institutes in Iraq," said Kubis.
Iraq's government is highly dependent on oil, but many of its people outside of cities rely on water sheds for agriculture and animal husbandry.
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