Urgent action could save Iraqi Marshlands

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer hopes that the end of hostilities in Iraq and subsequent rehabilitation will include a full assessment and action plan to restore the "Marshlands of Mesopotamia".

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer hopes that the end of hostilities in Iraq and subsequent rehabilitation will include a full assessment and action plan to restore the "Marshlands of Mesopotamia".

Studies disclosed at the 3rd World Water Forum held in Kyoto, Japan (16-23 March) indicate that of the 10% of the marshlands left, one-third has disappeared in the past two years. Two years ago, the UNEP drew the world's attention to the plight of the marshlands and its unique culture, the marsh Arabs who are heirs to the 5,000-year-old Babylonian and Sumerian civilizations.

UNEP's Post Conflict Assessment Unit drew up action plans for Afghanistan, and stands ready to assist in any project to restore the wetlands.

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