Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Iraqi scientists and the participants in
The Third Scientific Conference on the Rehabilitation of Southern Iraqi Marshes

Appeal to save the Mesopotamian marshes

History has recorded the honourable stand of many individuals, international organizations, and the sentiment of the world in denouncing the crime of marshes desiccation during the 1990s and onwards. Iraqi scientists respect and highly appreciate that stand, and consider it as the foundation stone from which to build the rehabilitation of the marshes and to save its people and biota.
The desiccation of the marshlands led to catastrophic consequences for the ecological and cultural heritage of the region. These consequences include the following: large numbers of plant and animal species disappeared; the biodiversity has been reduced drastically; migratory birds have ceased coming to the marshes for their natural breeding and wintering habitat; air temperatures have increased in the surrounding areas; and air quality has become hazardous to human health due to high levels of particulates and other toxics. Most important of all is the loss of the long lasting eco-cultural heritage of the Mesopotamian marshes.
During 2003, the Iraqi people began rejuvenating their beloved marshes, and coming home to the lives that they and their families had lived for many generations. They were assisted by several organizations and governments to restore the marshes, and soon after almost 70% of the marshlands were successfully rehabilitated. (Should credit be given to the Iraqi government also? The Minister of Environment, etc?) Unfortunately, rehabilitation of the marshes did not proceed as it was hoped for and the environment began to deteriorate again owing to regional drought and reduction of water supply from neighboring countries.
The scientists and researchers gathered in the 3rd International Conference on the Rehabilitation of the Iraqi Southern Marshes appeal to governments of the neighboring countries and international societies to help by insuring and assigning a specific share of water for the Iraqi Mesopotamian marshes. For thousands of years the cultures and ecosystem of the al Ahwar marshes have flourished and been sustained through life giving waters; we request enough water to restore and preserve the biodiversity and long lasting cultural heritage of this region. enough to restore and preserve its biodiversity and long lasting cultural heritage.

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