Roadmap for Climate Justice in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq

 

The IRO Organization for Community Development, in partnership with the Human Network for Health and Humanitarian Affairs, organized a workshop focusing on developing a strategy for advancing climate justice in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as part of the Climate Change Defenders Program (CCDP). The event brought together numerous academics, civil society leaders, and environmentalists. It covered a range of topics essential for creating a practical framework for civil society groups and other stakeholders to address the impact of climate change on various aspects of human life. The workshop resulted in the identification of key elements for a climate change advocacy program roadmap, which are as follows: 

Current Situation

The current situation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq regarding the government, civil society, and private sector's efforts to address climate change is characterized by several challenges and deficiencies:

  1. 1- Laws, Regulations, National Plans & Strategies: The existing legal and regulatory framework, as well as national plans and strategies, are not robust enough to effectively address the region's climate change needs. This indicates a lack of prioritization and comprehensive policy measures to combat climate change.

  2. 2- Institutional Readiness: The capacity of government institutions to formulate and implement climate change policies and programs is low. This lack of institutional readiness hampers the region's ability to respond adequately to climate-related challenges.

  3. 3- Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: There is a gap between the government's climate policies and their actual implementation. Adaptation and mitigation strategies may exist on paper but are not effectively integrated into government practices and decision-making processes.

  4. 4- Civil Society Engagement: Civil society organizations have limited capacity and engagement in climate change initiatives. This could be due to a lack of resources, awareness, or support from the government.

  5. 5- Private Sector Involvement: The private sector in the Kurdistan Region lacks awareness and incentives to engage in climate-friendly practices. Additionally, enforcement of environmental regulations by the private sector is low, indicating a need for stricter enforcement mechanisms and awareness campaigns.

  6. 6- Public Institutions: Public institutions in the region require greater awareness and capacity-building efforts to effectively address climate change challenges. This includes training and education for public servants to integrate climate considerations into their work.

Challenges Faced in Climate Change Action

a. Lack of Awareness

  • - Develop educational campaigns to raise awareness about climate change among the general public and decision-makers.
  • - Highlight the urgency and consequences of climate change.

b. Weak Coordination

  • - Facilitate better coordination and communication between civil society groups and government institutions.
  • - Establish platforms for dialogue and collaboration.

c. Unexpended Environment Funds

  • - Advocate for the allocation and effective use of environmental funds for climate-related projects.
  • - Ensure transparency and accountability in fund management.

d. Gaps in Laws and Regulations

  • - Identify specific gaps in existing laws and regulations related to climate change.
  • - Lobby for the creation and amendment of legislation that addresses these gaps.

e. Weakness of Environment Institutions

  • - Work on strengthening and reforming environmental institutions to make them more effective in addressing climate issues.
  • - Advocate for adequate funding and staffing of these institutions.

f. Lack of Financial Support

  • - Mobilize resources to provide financial support to civil society organizations working on climate change.
  • - Seek funding from international donors and partnerships.

Interventions

 

1. Awareness Raising:

  • Develop and implement educational campaigns to inform the public about climate change and its impacts.
  • Organize workshops, seminars, and public forums to engage communities in climate discussions.
  • Utilize social media, documentaries, and other media channels to reach a wider audience.

2. Enforcing Laws, Rules, and Regulations:

  • Advocate for the enforcement of existing environmental laws and regulations.
  • Monitor and report violations, and work with legal authorities to hold offenders accountable.

3. Amendment of Laws and Regulations:

  • Collaborate with policymakers to draft and pass new environmental legislation that reflects current climate challenges.
  • Advocate for amendments to existing laws and regulations to address emerging environmental issues.

4. Involvement of the Private Sector:

  • Promote sustainable business practices within the private sector.
  • Encourage companies to adopt green technologies and reduce their carbon footprint.

5. Creating Pressure Groups:

  • Form coalitions and alliances with like-minded organizations to exert pressure on policymakers and corporations.
  • Organize protests, petitions, and lobbying efforts to influence decision-makers.

6. Promoting Environmental Media:

  • Support and amplify environmental journalism to ensure accurate and impactful reporting on climate issues.
  • Develop partnerships with media outlets to increase coverage of climate-related topics.

7. Monitoring Air Pollution:

  • Deploy air quality monitoring stations in key areas to track pollution levels.
  • Share real-time air quality data with the public and authorities to promote transparency.

8. Networking of Organizations:

  • Facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among environmental organizations.
  • Host regular meetings and conferences to foster cooperation and synergy.

9. Activating Coordination with Government Institutions:

  • Establish a formal dialogue mechanism between civil society and government agencies responsible for environmental issues.
  • Collaborate on policy development, implementation, and monitoring.


10. Activating the Environmental Fund: - Advocate for the allocation of resources from the government's environmental fund to support climate-related projects and initiatives. - Ensure transparency and accountability in fund utilization.

11. Appointment of Environmental Judges: - Advocate for the creation of specialized environmental courts or the appointment of judges with expertise in environmental law. - Ensure swift and fair adjudication of environmental cases.

Interventions

Roadmap Goals

Goal: To reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide).

Potential Stakeholders:

  • Environmental protection and improvement Board
  • Directorates related to the Environmental protection and improvement Board
  • Academic Institutions (for research and innovation in emissions reduction)
  • Private sector and companies (for implementing sustainable practices)
  • Environment Institutions and NGOs (for advocacy and awareness)

 

Strategies:

  • Develop and implement emissions reduction policies and regulations.

 

  • Promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
  • Encourage sustainable transportation options.
  • Foster carbon offset initiatives and reforestation projects.
  • Monitor and report on greenhouse gas emissions regularly.

 

Goal: Adaptation to Climate Change

 

Potential Stakeholders:

  • Environmental protection and improvement Board
  • Directorates related to the Environmental protection and improvement Board
  • Academic Institutions (for climate research and adaptation strategies)
  • Local media (for raising awareness about climate change impacts)
  • Grassroots and CBO (for community-based adaptation initiatives)

 

Strategies:

  • Conduct vulnerability assessments to identify climate risks.
  • Develop climate adaptation plans for various sectors (e.g., agriculture, water resources).
  • Invest in resilient infrastructure and disaster preparedness.
  • Provide training and resources for communities to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Promote sustainable land management practices.

 

Goal: Educating and raising public awareness

 

Potential Stakeholders:

  • Academic Institutions (for research and education)
  • Environment Institutions and NGOs (for public outreach)
  • Local media (for disseminating information)
  • Grassroots and CBO (for community engagement)

 

Strategies:

  • Create educational programs and curriculum on climate change.
  • Organize workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns.
  • Develop a climate communication strategy for the region.
  • Use social media and online platforms to reach a broader audience.
  • Foster partnerships with schools, universities, and community groups.

 

Goal: Enhancing national and international stakeholders’ Cooperation

 

Potential Stakeholders:

  • Health and environment committee at the Kurdistan Region parliament
  • Environmental protection and improvement Board
  • Directorates related to the Environmental protection and improvement Board
  • Academic Institutions (for international research collaboration)
  • Private sector and companies (for sustainable business partnerships)
  • Environment Institutions and NGOs (for international climate advocacy)
  • Local media (for promoting regional and international cooperation)

 

Strategies:

  • Establish a regional climate change council or task force.
  • Engage in international climate agreements and partnerships.
  • Foster collaboration with neighboring regions and countries.
  • Share best practices and lessons learned with international counterparts.
  • Advocate for increased climate finance and support from international organizations.