Thursday, July 9, 2009

Request for signatures to preserve biodiversity and cultural heritage of marshes: urgent need for water

This petition has been signed by the 500 Iraqi scientists and participants in the Third Scientific Conference on the Rehabilitation of Southern Iraqi Marshes. Over 22 percent of the marshes have been dried up through a combination of drought and upstream water diversions. The animals and people of Iraq are suffering terribly. Please help spread the word! Sign this petition and alert our government to support the Iraqi's in obtaining water rights for the marshland area.

Appeal to save the Mesopotamian marshes

History has recorded the honourable stand of many personalities, international trends and organizations in denouncing the crime of marshes desiccation during the 1990s and onwards. Iraqi scientists respect and appreciate highly that stand and consider it as the foundation stone which has later gathered the efforts to rehabilitate the marshes and save its people and its biota.

The desiccation of the marshlands led to catastrophic consequences on the environment and the eco-cultural heritage of the region. Large number of plant and animal species disappeared, the biodiversity has changed drastically, the migrating bird ceased coming for their natural breeding habitat, air temperature increased in the surroundings and the air became rather dusty. Most important of all is the loss of the long lasting eco-cultural heritage of the Mesopotamian marshes.
During 2003, the efforts of several international organizations and governments to restore the marshland have begun, and soon after almost 70% of the original marshlands were restored successfully. This has not been achieved without the sincere efforts of several governmental and international organizations. Unfortunately, rehabilitation of the marshes did not proceed as it was hopped for and the environment began to deteriorate again owing to water cut by some of the 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 insuring and assigning a specific share of water for the Iraqi Mesopotamian marshes enough to restore and preserve its biodiversity and its long lasting cultural heritage.

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