Finance State Secretary Werner Gatzer and Development State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth returned yesterday (May 3, 2023) from a joint trip to Iraq. The focus of the trip was cooperation in economic development after the fight against the so-called Islamic State. The two state secretaries met, among others, the Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammed Shia Al-Sudani and the President of the Kurdistan Region-Iraq Nechirvan Barzani for talks.
Iraq is already suffering massively from the consequences of climate change and, according to the United Nations, is one of the five countries most affected by climate change. Germany and Iraq therefore want to focus their future development cooperation more on the fight against climate change.
Cooperation on migration also played a special role in the talks. In January in Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Iraq’s Prime Minister Al-Sudani agreed on a joint work program on the subject of migration, which covered both the return of Iraqi refugees living in Germany without a residence permit and support for Iraq in the economic reintegration of returnees and targeted immigration of skilled workers to Germany.
State Secretary Werner Gatzer: “The talks have shown how important the joint efforts of the German government and the Iraqi government are to stabilize the region. It must continue to be the goal of our work to show people perspectives that will enable them to improve their living conditions, also against the background of the challenges of climate change.”
State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth: “With our support for reconstruction after the terror of the so-called Islamic State, we have shown that Germany is a reliable partner for Iraq. We now want to build on this with a long-term cooperation that supports the country in areas such as economic development, job creation and dealing with the consequences of climate change. Iraq is already suffering from severe sandstorms, temperatures of more than 50 degrees and a lack of drinking water. Climate change threatens to destroy the development gains that Iraq has made in recent years. This can result in new conflicts between the population groups. In the area of migration cooperation, I am pleased that Prime Minister Al-Sudani has confirmed that, in addition to the immigration of skilled workers to Germany, an agreement should also be concluded on the return of refugees from Iraq who do not have a residence permit. The BMZ will support reintegration in Iraq.”
In order to mitigate the effects of climate change, Germany and Iraq recently signed a joint project for a sustainable water supply in the southwest of the country. Here, 130,000 people in the Muthanna region are to have access to clean water. Germany is investing 62 million euros, Iraq is contributing 14.4 million euros. Iraq is affected by climate change in two ways. On the one hand, the country is one of the main victims of climate change. On the other hand, the oil produced in Iraq contributes massively to climate change. Therefore, in addition to combating the effects of climate change, it is just as important to reduce Iraq’s economic dependence on oil as nearly its sole export and energy source. At the same time, a diversification of the economy away from oil creates important new perspectives for the growing young population. Germany wants to support Iraq in this.
Since 2014, the BMZ has invested 2.1 billion euros in the reconstruction of Iraq. Jihadists of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and the uprisings between different religious groups had caused great damage to the country since dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003 and American troops left the country in 2011. For example, the BMZ supported the construction of a new university library in Mosul after the IS had burned most of the books there. Since 2014, water and sanitation have also been improved for up to 4.5 million people, 3.9 million people have been able to access health care and around 1.5 million children have had access to education.
With the support of the BMZ, 4.2 million internally displaced persons have already been able to return to their homes. More than six million people were displaced in 2014 by the terrorist organization IS or as a result of fighting between IS and Iraqi government troops.
Source: Federal Ministry of Finance
Amei Schüttler is an editor at Mittelstand-Nachrichten and writes about innovative products and the doers in German-speaking medium-sized companies. For questions and suggestions, please use the following contact details: