Water Scarcity And Climate Change Trigger Migration In Iraq

SIPRI, NUPI Research Launched

26 Apr 2022 by The Water Diplomat
NEW YORK NY, United States

On the 5th of April, climate and development security research institutes Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) released a summary on climate, peace and security in Iraq which links water insecurity, climate change and migration in the country.

The aim of the research series is to inform the UN Security Council (UNSC) on climate-related and development risks in selected countries which are on the agenda of the UNSC. 

The summary on Iraq highlights the vulnerability of Iraq to the impacts of climate change which are caused by its physical exposure to weather extremes, a strong dependency on natural resources, and the environment of conflict, poverty, political instability and corruption.

Iraq’s water supplies are largely dependent on cooperative agreements with upstream riparian countries Iran and Turkey, which themselves have been suffering severe droughts over the past few months.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for at least 25 percent of the population, which is practiced predominantly on either rain-fed or irrigated smallholder farms.

Rural livelihoods are negatively affected by reduced water availability and increased variability of rainfall: temperatures have been rising, especially over the past decade, while both rainfall and the number if rainy days is also decreasing over time. During 2021 strong declines in food production have been witnessed, even in the normally productive north of the country, and there has been an increase in rural to urban migration, with over 1 million people currently internally displaced.

It is recommended that the government of Iraq and development partners make use of analytic tools for climate-induced risks which can be incorporated into the national adaptation plan.

Additionally, the water sector is outdated and is in need of reforms to modernise both irrigations systems and water policies and practices.   

Download full fact sheet: NUPI_Fact_Sheet_Iraq_April2022_FINAL#2.pdf

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