06.12.2016 - UNESCO Office for Iraq

UNESCO and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation join hands for sustainable water management in Iraq

A little girl from Kurdistan fill up the water

Baghdad, 6 December 2016 - UNESCO and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have signed an agreement to foster scientific research and further develop national capacities for the sustainable management and use of groundwater resources in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The new joint project called "Safeguarding Applied Management of Water Resources (SAMoWaR) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq" will complement UNESCO's on-going scientific cooperation with the Iraqi water sector carried out in the context of its programme "Advanced Survey of Hydro-geological Resources in Iraq, Phase-II (ASHRI-2)" and funded by the European Union.

On this occasion, Officer-In-Charge of the UNESCO Iraq Office, Mrs. Louise Haxthausen said "This partnership demonstrates the vital role of scientific research, cooperation and capacity development to address growing humanitarian needs and life-line support via an improved access to safe water in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It will lead to informed decision making and boosted effectiveness in water resources management ultimately benefitting thousands of vulnerable people, including IDPs and refugees in the region“.  

SDC’s Head of the Division Global Water Programme, Mr. Johan Gély said "The project aims at improving sustainable management of water resources in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and will complement our longstanding efforts on the political level under the Blue Peace Middle East Initiative to enhance cooperation in the Tigris basin”.

SAMoWaR will deliver information on groundwater resources suitable for emergency relief in particular towards IDPs, refugees and host communities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. New exploration wells will be developed tapping into shallow groundwater. Iraqi water authorities will be equipped with both, operational and managerial capabilities to apply international best practice in integrated groundwater management.


Effective implementation of SAMoWaR will start in January 2017, and will be undertaken in close cooperation with Iraqi partners, namely the Ministry of Water Resources in Baghdad, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources in Erbil.


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