UNESCO is contributing to the natural science sector’s development, especially through water resource management and protection of biodiversity.
Natural Sciences activities of UNESCO Iraq contribute to both short and long term reconstruction efforts by building institutional and technical capacities for water resources management, supporting science and technology institutions, and protecting biological diversity through the development of environmental policy and networking Iraqi scientists with local and international communities.
Although Iraq once boasted one of the most advanced science and technology sectors in the world, decades of war and sanctions have left the institutions, professional networks and human capacity of the sector in a dysfunctional state. The infrastructure of technical institutions and universities suffer from war damage and neglect. Many scientists, scholars and intellectuals left the country, and those who stayed faced intellectual isolation under sanctions.
As the UN strategy for reconstruction and development in Iraq expanded to tackle the immediate and expanding humanitarian crisis, short-term emergency assistance was prioritized alongside existing long-term development.
UNESCO continues to implement activities that target the most urgent science and technology needs, specifically in the area of water and environmental management. Working in collaboration with relevant ministries, UNESCO aims to develop joint science and technology programmes engaging Iraqi scientists, researchers and engineers in development activities.