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Component 3: Capacity Building

Identifying and implementing sustainable marshland management practices requires capacity of decision makers, understanding of community groups, and support of stakeholders. This project has supported multi-faceted capacity building opportunities to build such capacity. Ten training courses on policy and technical aspects of marshland management have been organized. Two study tours have been provided opportunities to senior representatives of government agencies and local groups to examine first-hand the community level actions and capacity building activities, and environmentally sound technology (EST) applications. Given the security concerns, the training courses and study tours have been carried out outside Iraq, in the Western Asia region and elsewhere. The project has also conducted secondary training activities inside Iraq by providing support to Iraqi institutions and by utilizing persons trained in the international training activities as lecturers and organizers. In addition, the capacity of community groups to assess and implement marshland management initiatives at the local level has been built through training and provision of support to implement initiatives as proposed by trained community groups.

Training Courses

This project has provided capacity building opportunities in multiple areas that are deemed necessary to develop a crosscutting response to sustainable marshland management. Such capacity building has been carried out in: policy and institutional aspects, technical subjects, and data management and analysis.

Over 270 Iraqis have been trained on technical, policy and institutional aspects of wetland management. Participants included officials from the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, the Ministry of Water Resource, members of the local Marshlands community and academia. Criteria for selecting training participants have been developed and used to identify suitable candidates. Institutional agreements and arrangements with employers have been negotiated, so that trained experts may be assigned to take part in the actual implementation and management of pilot projects.

Policy and institutional training: Sound environmental management of marshlands, including EST applications, must be based on the integrated water resource management (IWRM) approach. The relevant Iraqi authorities and decision-makers in communities and NGOs have limited understanding of this approach, and how to formulate practical policies and strategies to operationalize IWRM in the Iraqi context. Initiatives for marshland management must also be anchored in local communities. To address this need, capacity building will be conducted in the following topics:

1. IWRM Policy Integration (4-9 April 2005, Amman, Jordan)

2. Wetland Management (19-26 June 2005, Cairo, Egypt)

3. Water Quality Management (6-17 December 2004, Shiga, Japan)

4. Community Level Initiatives (11-16 June 2005, Alexandria, Egypt)

Technical training: Identification, implementation, and management of EST options to provide water, sanitation, and marshland water quality management require specific skills development in four key areas:

1. ESTs for Drinking Water Provision (16-27 May 2005, Osaka and Shiga, Japan)

2. Sustainable Sanitation (6-17 December 2004, Osaka, Japan)

3. Phytotechnology for Wetland Management (6-16 December 2004, Cairo, Egypt)

4. EST Assessment Methodology and Implementation (1-3 December 2005, Damascus, Syria)

Data management and analysis training: Training on the Marshland Information Network (MIN) utilization and uploading has been provided. The MIN system has been linked to the Iraqi Marshlands Observation System (IMOS) to provide regular reporting of satellite and remote sensing data on reflooding and ecological changes. A training programme on remote sensing data analysis has also been conducted to facilitate the IMOS operations.

1. Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Marshland Assessment and Monitoring (6-10 February 2005, Amman, Jordan)

2. Marshland Information Network (MIN) (27-31 March 2005, Amman, Jordan)

Training Manuals

The project has developed training curriculum and training materials for each training course, based on best current knowledge in the field and drawing on existing UNEP and other products as appropriate. For both policy- and technical-oriented training, the training curriculum has included a train-the-trainer component, and supplied materials to enable the trained experts to carry out site-specific training of local teams and communities at the pilot sites. Training Manuals consisting of participant’s and trainer’s handbooks have been developed for the ten training courses in English and Arabic. They have been distributed in print and in CD-ROMs to Iraqi ministries and academic institutions. Training materials have also been made available for downloading.

Study Tours

A high-level study tour has been organized in conjunction with the Public Symposium in Tokyo, Shiga and Osaka, Japan during 25-31 August 2005 to provide opportunities to visit and evaluate ESTs currently being implemented in Japan, to consider their potential applicability for the Iraqi Marshlands. Another high-level study tour has been held in conjunction with the International Workshop on Iraqi Marshlands Management in Shiga and Osaka, Japan in December 2006, to provide opportunities to examine local level initiatives and to learn about EST applications.

Secondary Training

The aim of the secondary training support has been to ensure the localization and ownership of training activities within Iraq to educate a larger number of citizens and communities on options for marshland management. The project has organized six training courses inside Iraq during this phase, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Water Resources, and the Universities of Basrah and Thi-Qar as follows.

  1. Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) (13-19 December 2005, Thi-Qar University)
  2. Community Level Initiatives (21-24 December 2005, Thi-Qar University)
  3. Phytotechnology for Wetland Management (4-11 December 2005, Basrah University)
  4. Water Quality Management (27 December 2005 - 10 January 2006, Ministry of Water Resources)
  5. Marshlands Information Network (4-8 December 2005, Ministry of Environment, Baghdad)
  6. Marshlands Information Network (18-22 December 2005, Ministry of Environment, Thi-Qar)

Financial support as well as the training materials in Arabic and English have been provided by UNEP to enable suitable replication of training courses inside Iraq. Persons that have participated in the project training courses held outside Iraq have helped to organize and deliver lectures. Due to its success, this model for secondary training within Iraq has been continued in the subsequent phases of the project.

Community Level Initiatives

Community level initiatives for marshland management have been carried out in Basrah, Thi-Qar and Missan governorates based on proposals submitted by local community NGOs, namely Marsh Arab Council, in partnership with the local Environment Directorates, and the Governorate Council of the three governorates.

  1. Basrah: "The Environmental Awareness Campaign for Marsh Arabs" has been conducted in Basrah, consisting of ten public meetings that focused on building awareness of key environmental problems facing the Marshlands.
  2. Thi-Qar: The Marsh Arab Council of Thi-Qar has undertaken "the Initiative to Raise Awareness of the Dangers of Fishing Using Poison within the Marshlands Environment." The work has been carried out in cooperation with theThi-Qar Governorate Directorate of the Ministry of Environment.
  3. Missan: "The Initiative to Develop an Understanding among Marshland Residents in Missan on the Importance of the Marshland Ecosystem" has conducted an intensive five-day course for religious leaders and a training course for young people on the importance of marshland environment.