Full story

Iraq contains many natural and important archaeological sites eligible for nomination on the World Heritage List; the marshes of southern Iraq consider one of these sites  are eligible for nomination, because it consider as one of the most important aquatic ecosystems in the world and in respect of the outstanding universal value. For this purpose it has been the implementation of joint initiative between the Ministry of Environment and both UNEP and UNESCO aims to take advantage of the nomination of the marshes as a mixed World Heritage process (natural - culture).
That such a large work does not vacate the national partnership of various relevant authorities, culminating in the announcement of the site on the World Heritage List, what is presented by the Ministry of Environment of this joint achievement is not equivalent to the suffering of our people in the marshes of southern Iraq, who were the main affected  and  witnessed  history deeply the tragedy lived by the draining of the marshes and displace them from their presence that extends to a depth where the age of the Sumerians.

In this regard, we would like to put in your hands the details of the story of this important project is as follows:

Project goals:

  • Nomination of marshes of southern Iraq on the World Heritage list.
  • Preparation of a national team to prepare a nomination file, and are utilized them in nomination of the rest of the natural sites which are eligible for inclusion on the World Heritage List.
  • Raising awareness of the local people in the sustainable using of natural resources.
Ministry of Environment Procedures
First: A national committee was formed headed by the Ministry of Environment and the membership of both the related ministries and provincial councils in southern Iraq to develop a coordination mechanism to accomplish the work of the nomination file, a membership was represented by:
  • Tourism and Antiquities
  • Planning
  • Water Resources
  • Municipalities
  • Higher Education
  • Science and Technology
Second: Plans, forms, mechanisms of work, and meetings have been prepared throughout the years of the project, with support and award of the Ministry of Environment and which is totally funded it from its budget.
Third: A technical coordination with international organizations to conduct the work of the completion of the file from the point of view, namely:
  • UNEP
  • IUCN
  • Regional Center World Heritage
Fourth: A national team was formed and headed by Ministry of Environment alongside membership of both representative’s relevant ministries and civil society organizations; this team task is preparing the nomination file instead of using international organizations to do that. The purpose behind this step was to qualify national team works the full nomination forms and writes the file marshes of southern Iraq besides the rest of the natural areas that qualify for nomination within the World Heritage list.
Fifth:  To do this (writing file)it is Required to qualify this team and subjected to the training courses and workshops relevant to this subject, where the team was formed specializing on natural file  headed by  Ministry of the Environment and a another one focus on cultural file headed by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and under the supervision , follow-up and support from Ministry of Environment Considering that the site will be nominated as a mixed World Heritage (natural and cultural)
Sixth: Prepare a team works where they involved in a series of workshops organized by international bodies as follows:
The first workshop: Administrative Planning of Protected Areas for a period of    1-7 / 10/2011 the first phase
The second workshop: Management Planning Workshop on Protected Areas for the period from 12-16 / 2/2012 the second phase
The third workshop: Definition of World Heritage Convention and to start preparing a draft nomination file for the period of 1-19 / 2/2012
Fourth workshop: Explaining the concepts of outstanding universal values ?? for a period of 4-8 / 6/2012
Fifth workshop: management and protection of natural sites for the period from 22 - 26/4/2013
Sixth workshop: prepare a red lists of endangered species for the period 3-6 / 2013
Seventh workshop: Demarcation of the border and determine the quality of the nomination in addition to explain the concepts of chapters nomination writing for the period from 8-10 / 6/2013 file.
Eighth workshop / reviewing what has been accomplished in the cultural side of gathering information, identifying archaeological sites within the boundaries of the property, setting standards, and explaining the concepts of chapters nomination files’ writing  for the period from 16-20 / 2013
Ninth workshop: prepare an administration plans for the sites, review a progress in writing the nomination file, and prepare maps for the period from 18-22 / 8/2013
Through these workshops they learnt how to apply the World Heritage concepts and its terminologies, including a criteria property inclusion on the World Heritage list, mechanism of applying the outstanding universal value’s concepts, reviewing the number of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, in order to clarify the nomination process to the World Heritage List.
     Definition of World Heritage Convention , files nomination for sequential sites, importance of comparative analysis, outstanding  universal  value of the sites in more detail to explain and publicize the importance of comparative analysis as  one of the key steps in justifying the nomination to provide the Iraqi marshes file as World Heritage serial and mixed site (natural and cultural), this process is seeking to analysis and comparison of a property with other similar sites in the world (whether these sites on the world Heritage List or outside, which is necessary for the application of the concept of outstanding universal value of the property and to focus on the  comparative analysis  serial sites , prepare comparative analysis of it  based on that value, and how to prepare red lists part the species endangered
Seventh: Conducting a desk and field environmental and cultural studies pave the way to write a nomination file reflect a property inherent in the marshes of southern Iraq, the values were issued all these studies within the publication, and these studies are an important source of information for preparation and writing nomination file.
Eighth: Determine nominations criteria based on all the activities and events during the last period which include preparing   a survey study of the marshes site which seeks to evaluate all values at the property, in addition to consultations and discussions among the members of the national team has been the adoption of the following:
Natural side: there are two criteria, IX criterion means that vital environmental processes and X criterion means to species and their habitats in terms of the natural part of the file
Cultural side: the third criterion seeks that the property presents as a testament to a unique civilization is still alive was or ceased to exist, while the fifth criterion, seeks to be a great example of the practice of traditional rights in land use or sea water, representing the cultures of human or interact with the environment
Ninth: Phase of the preparation of nomination file:
A:  moving towards prepare of the Iraqi marshlands nomination file as a World Heritage site which consider the final outcome of the project (natural and cultural management the Iraqi marshlands registration on the World Heritage list). By all national and international agencies, expected results and the main lines of this phase were the following:


  • The file is complete and ready for submission to the World Heritage Centre at the end of 2013
  •  Follow the twin-track approach to the fact that the property holds the qualities of the natural and cultural values  in parallel by both the natural and cultural groups through targeted training, a common understanding of the requirements of the World Heritage, in particular determine the constituent parts of the series, determine boundaries and buffer zones which include cultural and natural values, preparation of maps include all the relevant data, and the unification of the two parts of the file.
  • Determine trainers with provision of the team’s training needs of the property category, and the values of the World Heritage, the collection of documents analyzing, producing maps and develop a framework management, and start writing and reviewing different sections of the file, and specific time-frame in accordance with the agreed plan of
  • This phase culminated in the preparation of nomination file and the Management Plan frame, both consists of 600-page.

Tenth: Sign of the nomination file:

  • Signing the nomination file by His Excellency the Minister of the Environment, Mr. Sargon Lazar Saliwa and Minister of the Tourism and Antiquities Mr. Lowaa Sumaisem in 23/01/2014 to complete the last formal step in the nomination file for approval and the presence of the President and members of the national committee project team to prepare the file and donor representatives of UNEP and UNESCO, and a representative of the Italian government funded the project.
  • File delivery to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris on 01/29/2014 in order to be evaluated and reviewed this process which take one month.
  • Received a letter from the UNESCO World Heritage Center in Paris, fulfillment the file to all insertion and admission requirements.
  • Initialize and prepare for visiting of international experts to the candidate's property in order to demonstrate the extent adapted it to the requirements of listing on the World Heritage List and the acquisition statement of outstanding universal value.
  • the project was approved in Istanbul on 17/07/2016

Eleven The project  implemented series of , community and awareness  workshops in the South of Iraq in order to raise awareness about  the importance of Iraqi marshlands registration on the World Heritage list.
Twelve: Visiting UNESCO experts to the property
Thirteen: management plan

  • The plan management of the property was prepared in cooperation with international experts.
  • The plan management has been translated by the Ministry of Environment.
  • A national team has been formed headed by the Ministry of Environment represented with Mr. Deputy Minister / Dr Abdul Aziz Jassim Hamadi and the membership of the relevant authorities in order to prepare a graceful plan natural side its first meeting held on 11.30.2016.

First: Highlight the global importance of the marshes area in southern Iraq from nature and heritage aspects as it contains traces of cultural and natural civilization
Second: Complete the nomination file by the national authors of several national destinations
Third: Establish a national team able to prepare a nomination files for future sites that holds natural and cultural qualities to be the foundation of the team in the preparation of other files.
Fourth: Iraq has helped global advisory bodies in guiding and directing the national team and in the completion of certain studies that paved the way for all nomination file
Fifth: Forming partnerships and scientific relations between the Iraqi national staff and international experts and open-mindedness on the findings of the world in a different science.
Sixth: Documenting Iraq's national experience in the preparation of the file (which consists of 600 pages) by Iraqi expertise in UNESCO and made it as model for the work of national role model globally.
Seventh: implementation of the issuance of a number of environmental studies that reflect the ??inherent values in the property.
Iraqi efforts succeed to put the site on the World Heritage list.

السياحة البيئية