Prior to the Save the Tigris Campaign Strategy Meeting, 9-11 May, Erbil, Iraq
The current political and security crisis in Iraq has aggravated the water crisis in Iraq. The water situation is more complex than ever. That is why the Save the Tigris Campaign redefined its vision and goals at the ICSSI Conference in Oslo in October 2014. Now, from 9-11 May in Erbil, international and Iraqi activists gather to compose a concrete strategy for the coming period. The strategy will have a national and an international dimension with two aspects: the first is the right for Iraqis to have an equal share of water from existing water infrastructures such as the current dams on the Tigris River, and to be consulted on every water infrastrucure to be built on the Tigris River. The second aspect is to provide sufficient protection to the Iraqi water infrastructure. As part of the strategy, several activities and events will take place within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the southern part of the country in the next year. A brief sketch of these upcoming activities was already given in March.
International activists from the UK, Germany, USA, Belgium, Italy and Turkey will take part in the strategy meeting in Erbil, together with Iraqi activists from Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Duhok, Baghdad, Basrah, Najaf. The international participants represent different environmental organizations Un Ponte Per (Italy), Cornerhouse (UK), Countercurrent (Germany) and the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive (Turkey), and comprise most of the campaign’s Steering Committee. The local activists have a wide range of backgrounds, since the aim of the campaign is to mobilize all layers of civil society. Some of them are University professors or researchers (Salahaddin University in Erbil or the Marine Science Center in Basrah) while others represent civil society organizations and NGOs (such asthe Kurdish network Ekopotamya, Al Masalla in Erbil or the Iraqi Network for Social Media in Baghdad, among others). All of them will sit together, network and share their experiences, challenges and ideas in order to work out the strategy for the upcoming period, focusing on 3 components: awareness, advocacy and research. Campaign goals and priorities for the Kurdistan region and for the Baghdad and southern region will be determined during the gathering on 10 May, followed by advocacy meetings on 11 May with Kurdish politicians. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the statement which will be released on 12 May.