20.05.2012 - UNESCO Office for Iraq

First Lady supports UNESCO initiative to protect the Marshlands

First Lady of Iraq with Minister of Culture Dr. Liwaa' Smeisem (right) and UNESCO Coordinator Sami Al-Khoja/ © UNESCO Iraq 2012

In her most recent endeavors to support culture and heritage, First Lady of Iraq H.H. Hero Ibrahim Ahmed jointly with UNESCO visited the Marshlands were H.H. met with Iraqi officials urging them to enhance efforts to protect this distinctive landscape.

On 19 May 2012, H.H. Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, accompanied by UNESCO coordinator in Kurdistan-Iraq Mr. Sami Al-Khoja, made a field boat visit to the Marshlands, where she was briefed on the actual situation there and on UNESCO' latest efforts to restore and protect the unique environmental and cultural identity of the Iraqi Marshlands.

After this special visit, H.H. and Mr. Al-Khoja had several meetings with members of the provisional council in Missan, one of the three governorates bordering the Marshlands. After discussing the procedures that could be taken on the governorate level to protect and conserve the Marshlands, parties agreed on holding a future meeting gathering representatives from the three governorates (Missan, Thi-Qar, and Basrah) to establish a coordination mechanism that will allow the elaboration of inclusive responses.

In the same context, Iraq's first lady met with Minister of Culture and Antiquities Dr. Liwaa' Semeism to discuss among other culture related topics, the touristic potential of the Marshlands and ways to invest it. Famous for their remarkable natural landscape, the Marshlands could be one of Iraq's most prominent touristic sites if invested properly.

With the aim to protect and restore the Marshlands, UNESCO is joining its Science and Culture expertise with the Iraqi government, sister UN agencies, and other national and international stakeholders to set an inclusive management plan and prepare the Marshlands mixed nomination file for it to be inscribed on the World Heritage list. The First Lady of Iraq is extending its support for this commitment that represents the honest international recognition of the value of this region to the past, present, and future of our planet.

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