Press Release

Sweden contributes USD 10.2 M to Iraq's agriculture sector in Southern Iraq to mitigate climate changes

20 November 2022

Baghdad, 17 November 2022 - The Government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and represented by the Swedish Embassy to Iraq and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Iraq have signed a four-year, SEK 112 million* (US$ 10.2 million) agreement to enhance climate resilience of vulnerable agriculture households in Missan, Al-Muthanna, Najaf and Thi-Qar Governorates.

Activities under the agreement include providing technical assistance; strengthening water management institutions and the water distribution system and enhancing the strategic framework and stakeholder engagement for a climate resilient agricultural development.

Implementing this project, in cooperation with Ministries of Agriculture, environment, water resources and other national and local stakeholders, will also tackle existing challenges in the development of major value chains by promoting climate smart agricultural practices to mitigate the impact of climate changes and enhance household and community resilience .

Ambassador of Sweden to Iraq, H.E. Jessica Svärdström says “Sweden maintains its commitment to improving the wellbeing and livelihoods of women and men in rural communities in southern Iraq with enhanced climate smart agriculture practices and management of natural resources, backed by policy support.”

FAO RNE ADG Dr Abdulhakim ElWaer: “its historical moment as Iraq is carrying the burden of climate change implications on Agriculture, water, environment and welfare of Iraqi people. This generous support will address these issues and I wish to thank the Governments of Sweden and Iraq".  “This partnership between SIDA and FAO Iraq came in timely manner given the water scarcity issues that Iraq’s agriculture is facing which are expected to be worse over time”. “We are extremely grateful for this contribution which will be instrumental in tackling these challenges and enhancing the climate resilience of local communities,” said FAO representative Dr Salah el hajj Hassan.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mithaq Al Khafaji, said: “This is very important project to mitigate the impact of climate change and water scarcity challenges on the vulnerable families especially in the south of Iraq. I want to address my sincere appreciation to the government of Sweden represented by H.E the Ambassador on this generous contribution, and thanks to SIDA and FAO for making this achievement”.

Iraq Deputy Minister of Environment. H.E. Dr Jassim Alfalahi: “It’s a great opportunity to implement this important project aimed at minimizing the impact of climate change not only for current, but also future generations. Thank you, the Government of Sweden and FAO, for supporting Iraqi people”.

Salah Elhajjhassan

Salah Elhajjhassan

Mr Hajj Hassan, a national of Lebanon, holds a Ph.D. in Plant Production from the University of Agriculture, Damascus, Syria; a Master of Science degree in Plant Production and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering, both from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
He started his career in 1984, as Senior Research Assistant in the Agricultural Research and Education Centre (AREC), American University of Beirut. From 1987 to 1991, he was Coordinator of the Student Training Programme, and also Agriculture and Horticultural Teacher for the Faculty of Agriculture, at the Lebanese University.
From 1991 to 1995, he worked as Agricultural Engineer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Bekaa Regional Office, Zahlah and was then assigned to the Agricultural Research Institute in the Tal Amara station, first as Head of the Crop Production Department and subsequently in charge of the Plant Protection Laboratory. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the Kfardane Research Station (Agricultural Research Institute). In 2008, he became Visiting Scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Coordinator of a project with the International Centre for Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.
In 2010, he served as Advisor to the Minister for Agriculture of Lebanon. In 2011, he became President of the Pesticide Scientific Committee, Head of the Phytoplasma Committee and Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (ARDP) (EU-funded project). From 2010 to 2013, he represented Lebanon in negotiations with EU, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. During his career, Mr Hajj Hassan also carried out a number of other functions. He represented the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) in several research programmes with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the American University of Beirut. He was Coordinator of the Mashreq/Maghreb project with ICARDA, representing Lebanon in the Steering Committee, as well as being the Head of the Sugar-beet Delivery and of the Wheat Delivery Committees. For a number of years, Mr Hajj Hassan worked for the preparation of FAO TCP projects and served as the National Director of a TCP project. He joined FAO in January 2014 as FAO Representative in Yemen. Mr Hajj Hassan succeeds Mr El Zubi as FAO Representative in Iraq.

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