On 12 January 2019, the Baghdad Council for Social Cohesion held its first workshop with the Environment and Water masar (path) of the Iraqi Social Forum. The workshop focused on water and environmental pollution challenges. In attendance were 15 trainees from the Baghdad Council as well as representatives of the Environment and Water masar and the Tigris River Protectors Association. The workshop was held at the offices of the Iraqi Social Forum (ISF).
Divided into five parts, the first part of the workshop defined the work of the environment and water masar, its role within the ISF and the specific areas on which it works. The members of the council were briefed on the masar‘s most important achievements. The second part included a brief discussion about pollution, focusing on water and air pollution in particular. Representatives of the Tigris River Protectors Association presented on these critical pollution issues to provide Council members a background that they can use in their environmental advocacy efforts.
The third part of the workshop discussed the great suffering of the Tigris River in Baghdad. Representatives of the Tigris River Protectors Association detailed the main causes of pollution in the Baghdad section of the Tigris River and proposed solutions to combat these causes. The fourth part of the workshop discussed legal actions that could be undertaken to counter ongoing environmental and water pollution, as recommended by masar representatives. Members of the Council were briefed on the most important legal and constitutional provisions on environmental and water protection that can be used in advocacy campaigns to pressure local governments to implement the recommendations of the masar.
The final part of the workshop included a set of recommendations and actions proposed by the masar. Participants agreed on the most important steps, including holding continuous sessions to develop a comprehensive action plan to reduce the pollution of the Tigris River in Baghdad. The session concluded with identifying key decision makers Council and masar representatives aim to meet with, and agreeing on next steps for civil society work.
The Baghdad Council for Social Cohesion is one of the councils operating in four governorates of Iraq (Sulaymaniyah, Baghdad, Fallujah and Misan). The Council works in cooperation with the Information Center for Research and Development and in association with the Iraqi Social Forum, with support from the EU. The Council aims to achieve the recommendations of the various Iraqi Social Forum masarat by bringing together civil society actors and key decisionmakers to solve some of Iraq’s most pressing challenges.
Baghdad Council for Social Cohesion