Activities  Sustainable Resource Use Mesopotamian Marshlands
Renforcement des capacités
Changement global
Utilisation durable des ressources
-Lac Balaton
-Système d'observation des marais de la Mésopotamie
-Les marais de la Mésopotamie
· Introduction
· Coupures de presse
· Mai 2003: L'eau de retour dans les marais desséchés de la Mésopotamie
· 28 Mai 2003: Communiqué de presse
· 23 Mai 2003: Présentation PowerPoint
· 22 Mars 2003: Le "Jardin d'Eden" au sud de l'Irak risque de disparaître d'ici 5 ans
· 2002: Photos
· 2001: Rapport
· 13 Août 2001: Communiqué de presse
· 18 Mai 2001: L'étude du PNUE tire la sonnette d'alarme sur la disparition des marais de la Mésopotamie
-Lac Balkhash
-Eau douce en Europe
-Water for Peace
-Bassin du Nil

Des experts demandent une coopération internationale sur la réhabilitation des marais de Mésopotamie

Genève, 28 Mai 2003 – Une réunion de quelque 50 experts organisée à Genève par le Programme des Nations Unies pour l'Environnement (PNUE) a conclu que has concluded that the social and environmental fabric of Iraq’s Mesopotamian Marshlands has been so extensively damaged that interested governments and organizations will need to collaborate if they are to help Iraqis ensure a successful revival.

Last Friday’s meeting (23 May) gathered together scientists, aid and development officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations to share ideas and information on the Marshland’s problems and their possible solutions.

Participants included representatives of Assistance for Marsh Arabs and Refugees Intl., BirdLife International, the Eden Again Project, the Iraq Foundation, IUCN (The World Conservation Union), the Royal Holloway Institute, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, UNEP, the World Health Organization, DHI Water and Environment (Denmark) and the US Agency for International Development.

The experts welcomed UNEP’s offer to establish an Internet database on issues and projects related to the Marshlands and to organize a second roundtable discussion later this year.

The Mesopotamian Marshlands have been devastated in recent years by declining water flow and by the Iraqi government’s policy of systematically draining the marshlands during the 1990s. Some 100,000 – 200,000 so-called Marsh Arabs are still thought to live in the region.

New satellite images analysed by UNEP, however, now reveal streams nourishing the marshlands back to life and drainage canals swollen by an increase in water levels. Formerly dried out areas have been inundated as floodgates have been opened, embankments breached and dams emptied upstream.

Meanwhile, new challenges – including the staking of agricultural claims on dried land and concern that resuscitating the marshlands will also revive malaria and other water-borne diseases – seem set to complicate efforts to return the Marshlands to their original state.

Note to journalists:

To view or download the most recent satellite images of the marshlands as well as UNEP’s 2001 report, “The Mesopotamian Marshlands: Demise of an Ecosystem”, visit

For more information, please contact:

Eric Falt at +254-2-62-3292, +254-733-682656 (cell) or ;
Nick Nuttall at +254-2-62-3084, +254-733-632755 (cell) or ; or
Michael Williams at +41-22-917-8242/8196/8244, +41-79-409-1528 (cell) or .