THE DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR
MR. GHULAM ISACZAI
Excellencies, Distinguished guests, and colleagues,
Let me begin by thanking H.E. Aoun Diab, Minister of Water Resources, and his entire team for following-up on Iraq’s accession to the UN Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes by forming this Inter-ministerial Committee for the implementation of the Convention and inviting and organizing for this inaugural meeting. The Convention provides an opportunity for boosting Iraq’s domestic water management and governance frameworks, as well as a solid basis for strengthening cooperation with Iraq’s riparian countries.
I would like to strongly encourage Iraq to benefit of the accession and implementation of the Convention to address its pressing water problems.
Water is a cross-cutting issue; hence I would like to echo what my Colleague Francesca, Chief of the Transboundary Cooperation Section from UNECE, said yesterday, that an inter-ministerial committee structure for the implementation of the Convention is of utmost importance to address the water issues effectively, holistically, and in an inclusive manner.
From our side at the United Nations, we have established a Water Task Force comprising water experts from different international organizations and think tanks to provide technical assistance and advice to the Government on water issues. our advocacy and engagement on water challenges in Iraq have increased significantly, reflecting our commitment to supporting the country in addressing its looming water crisis.
To effectively address Iraq’s water challenges, we must work jointly and transparently. The water challenges must be addressed through a whole of government and whole of society approach, and approach that is inclusive and engages the Iraqi people.
On our side at the United Nations, we will continue to actively engage with our government counterparts.
Let me close by saying that the Implementation of the Convention, the work of the Water Task Force and of international community must feed into an overall Government-led strategy to address the water issue. Furthermore, we need follow-up of meetings with defined workplans and milestones, and the Government needs to lead the process and develop ownership.
The United Nations stands ready to support. I wish you all fruitful deliberations.