Iraqi President’s Speech at UN’s Climate Ambition Summit 2020: Iraq is Moving into a New, Greener Era

Iraqi presidency

On Saturday, December 12, 2020, the President of the Republic of Iraq, Barham Salih, announced that Iraq was heading into a new, greener era during a speech at the UN-organized Climate Ambition Summit 2020. Salih said Iraq would do much more to support renewable energies and reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants. He pledged to support the private sector in Iraq along with promoting the role of women and youth in economic development.

His commitment comes despite the challenges the country still faces after years of conflict and despite relatively low per capita emissions compared to other countries. During the event – which took place on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change and was jointly hosted by the United Nations, France and the United Kingdom – President Salih noted that, on September 22, 2020, the Iraqi Parliament had voted to accede to the Paris Climate Agreement. Since then, Iraq had started preparing its nationally determined contributions (NDCs). These are the core of the Paris Agreement, and consist of national climate plans highlighting climate actions, including climate related targets, policies and measures governments aims to implement in response to climate change and as a contribution to global climate action. Central to the NDCs is the concept of national determination. Salih said he will consider these NDCs the reference documents for any future environmental policies in Iraq.

The full text of the speech below:

“Their Excellencies,
Mr. Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the Republic of Iraq, I extend my best wishes to you. I would like  to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António  Guterres, the United Kingdom, France, Chile and Italy for inviting Iraq to attend this virtual Climate Ambition Summit.

As everyone knows, as the result of wars and various conflicts, Iraq has been dealing with difficult circumstances for four decades now. These have defined the country and also made it one of the nations most vulnerable to climate change. Economic, industrial and technological development have been hindered and as a result Iraq is not among the major producers of greenhouse gases.

I have the honor to announce that, on 22 September, 2020, Iraq’s Parliament voted to accede to the Paris Climate Agreement. Iraq is heading into a new era, planning on a paradigm shift toward more economic diversity. This includes support for renewable energies and access to environmentally friendly technologies, as well as helping the most vulnerable parts of our society and the most vulnerable regions, those that are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and economic fluctuation.

As well as mobilizing for more pro-environmental actions, we will also promote further investment by the private sector, focus more on young Iraqis and support women’s roles in economic development.

In a prompt response to our accession, Iraq began to work on our own nationally determined contributions (NDC), a vital part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in an effort to build a greener economy between 2020 and 2030. 

In conclusion, I want to wish all of you every success in these noble efforts. I hope this Summit will be a success and that we will all contribute to these vital ambitions on global climate change and reducing emissions.
Thank you.”

Barham Salih
President of the Iraqi Republic”.

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