Press Conference & Courtesy Visits - Summary Report
Support for Environmental Management of the Iraqi Marshlands Project
International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), UNEP DTIE
Date: 7 December 2006
Venue: Tokyo, Japan
UNEP organized a press conference about the progress of the Iraqi Marshlands project in Tokyo, Japan. Speakers included Mr. Tuoma Helou, Deputy Minister of Environment of Iraq, Mr. Hideo Fukushima, Director of the Global Environment division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Dr. Ali Al-Lami, National Coordinator of the UNEP Marshlands project. UNEP staff included Chizuru Aoki, Iraqi Project Coordinator of DTIE-IETC, and Robert Bisset, Press Officer for DTIE. Per Bakken, Director of DTIE-IETC and Hiroshi Sumimoto, Senior Liaison Officer of DTIE-IETC were also present.
The press conference recognized the success of the project, particularly the provision of safe drinking water to up to 22,000 residents, and underscored the need for additional assistance. The representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, which has been as major donor for this project, stated that this project is an actual achievement of sustainable development in a country that has been facing many difficulties, and is a model case of technical assistance for the environment. The fact that this project is rare good news out of Iraq was underscored and reported. The project and the press conference have generated significant press coverage by BBC, Voice of America, Washington Post, Mainichi Shimbun, and the International Herald Tribune, with current total of approximately 120 articles (print and electronic). UN Wire and the UN News Centre have covered the project
Invitation to Press Conference
Courtesy Visits with Government of Japan
Mr. Tuoma Helou, Deputy Minister of Environment of Iraq, also met with His Excellency Mr. Masatoshi Wakabayashi, Minister of the Environment of Japan, and Mr. Masakazu Sekiguchi, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, following the press conference. In both meetings, Mr. Helou, the Iraqi Deputy Minister of Environment thanked the Japanese assistance for the Iraqi Marshland project and UNEP’s involvement, and requested further assistance for the project and other environmental priorities in Iraq.