New publications on Iraq's environment

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IRIS scholars Maha Yassin and Mac Skelton have published new research on Iraq’s environmental challenges as part of the Century Foundation's series entitled “Living the Climate Emergency.” Yassin’s article, “The Space for Iraqi Climate Activism Is Dangerously Small, and Shrinking,” analyzes the activities of Iraqi civil society organizations that are engaged in the environmental space. Moreover, the piece  highlights the challenges environmental activists face in Iraq, where threats of violence cast a shadow over their activities. Elaborating on this climate of fear, Yassin noted:

Today, most environmental activists are careful about how they work, whether in conducting their movements, in their connections with foreign institutions, or even in their more routine activities. The backlash against activism in general has constrained their effectiveness.

Skelton’s article “Iraq’s Climate Change Agenda Must Prioritize Health—for Humans, Animals, and Plants,” advocates for the concept of "One Health" and the importance of integrating a multi-species approach into public health policy in Iraq. He discusses the failures of the government and the international community in developing science-based approaches to environmental monitoring and management. Skelton concludes with a call for enhanced approaches to public health in an era of climate change:

In the coming years, it will be essential for both the Iraqi government and the international community to develop a policy framework for climate change that includes careful attention to the implications for health defined in multi-species, ecological terms.

The two articles were launched during the Century Foundation online event entitled "Facing Iraq's Climate Catastrophe" on September 6th, 2023. Yassin and Skelton introduced their ideas and answered related questions. The online launch event can be accessed below.

IRIS researchers are dedicated to addressing the complex challenges prevalent in Iraq and the wider Middle East region through careful policy research focusing on issues linked to the environment, economy, and governance. As part of its efforts, IRIS has initiated the Iraq Climate Dialogue (ICD), a project aimed at addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. Yassin and Skelton are lead researchers on the ICD project and welcome collaborations with this work.


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