In a ground breaking initiative, The Government of Basra, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and the University of Basra’s Marine Science Centre launched an ambitious mangrove nursery. This initiative, nested in the region’s tidal flats, is poised to yield up to one million mangrove seedlings annually, fostering biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and offering sustainable and consistent income for the local communities.
Governor Asaad Al-Eidani articulated his vision during the launch: “Through a collaborative effort…we are working towards transforming this area into an environmental exemplar.” This endeavour further garnered international support, with the WFP stating that Germany allocated an additional €11 million (US$12 million) towards their work in Iraq.
With a notable return of $4 for every $1 invested, mangrove restoration is a strategic response to the climate crisis. Dr. Ayman Abd Latif Rubayee of the University of Basra predicts the resurgence of local wildlife as a direct consequence.
Ally-Raza Qureshi, WFP Country Director in Iraq, called the initiative “a significant step towards combating the climate crisis and enhancing food security.” This project, he adds, is an essential first stride in a larger journey towards a sustainable future.