Iraq: Urgent Need to Balance Dev Goals, Climate Ambition via Diversification

The World Bank Group launched yesterday the Iraq Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) in partnership with the Government of Iraq in a high-level roundtable held at the Prime Minister’s Guest House in Baghdad and attended by high-level officials and international partners, and media.

The Iraq CCDR provides an analytical foundation to address the country’s most pressing development needs and climate challenges simultaneously. It examines the cost of transition towards a less carbon dependent economy and discusses opportunities and reforms to pursue a greener growth model. It presents a matrix of prioritized and sequenced policy recommendations and a climate action agenda which aims to accelerate Iraq’s green, resilient, and inclusive development.

Iraq is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change shocks both in financial and physical terms, including temperature rise and water scarcity. The report captures the interaction between the physical effects of climate change and impacts of the global energy transition. It advocates for energy transition as a lever to tackle Iraq’s inefficiencies of the energy sector, and actions required to overcome the vulnerabilities of the water-agriculture-poverty nexus.

“Iraq faces the challenge of moving away from total oil dependance towards a more diversified, private sector-led economy that creates jobs and builds human capital while building resilience to climate change,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “Climate action in Iraq will need to happen in synergy with adjustment in the workforce, human capital investments and social dialogue to foster the creation of more and better jobs, and more sustainable livelihoods across the country.”

The report prioritizes investments ion green and inclusive growth pathways in ways that reflect their urgency, synergies, and tradeoffs. Financing Iraq’s green transition will require the mobilization of both public and private capital, and strategic deployment of public finance instruments to leverage private finance.

“The Middle East region, especially Iraq, is in an existential fight against climate change and significant measures are required to turn the tides. Iraq needs an ambitious plan to decarbonize its economy and adapt to climate change, and businesses must play a leading role in actioning it. Not only can the private sector help in addressing the funding gaps but it can also harness resources and build capacity to promote green, climate-resilient business and consumer behavior,” said Hela Cheikhrouhou, IFC’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East, Central Asia, Türkiye, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The high-level roundtable will be followed by a series of high-level panel discussions organized jointly with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on December 13 at the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad. The Panel discussions will revolve around three main topics: “Unfolding Climate Ambition: Energy Transition and Decarbonization in Iraq”, “Water and Food Nexus: A Climate Emergency”, and “A Just Climate Transition: The voice of Future Generations”.

World Bank Group Country Climate and Development Reports: The World Bank Group’s Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDRs) are new core diagnostic reports that integrate climate change and development considerations. They will help countries prioritize the most impactful actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and boost adaptation while delivering on broader development goals. CCDRs build on data and rigorous research and identify main pathways to reduce GHG emissions and climate vulnerabilities, including the costs and challenges as well as benefits and opportunities from doing so. The reports suggest concrete, priority actions to support the low-carbon, resilient transition. As public documents, CCDRs aim to inform governments, citizens, the private sector, and development partners and enable engagements with the development and climate agenda. CCDRs will feed into other core Bank Group diagnostics, country engagements, and operations to help attract funding and direct financing.

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