Volunteers in Mosul on November 25 planted the first trees in a campaign to green the war-ravaged city in northern Iraq. With funding from the French government, the climate project is an initiative of the Mosul Eye collective and has the support of local authorities, Rudaw states.
“Such a beautiful day to inaugurate #GreenMosul at [Northern Technical University] to start the planting of more than 5,000 trees across what will now be more than 20 sites,” Mosul Eye tweeted.
The Mosul Eye began as an online blog founded by historian Omar Mohammed when the city was occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS) occupied the city. It publishedtrocities during its three years of brutal rule.
The “Green Mosul” initiative was announced in July 2020 after Mosul Eye saw success with its campaign to restore and enrich the University of Mosul’s library.
Nineveh Governor Najim al-Jabouri declared November 25 “Green Mosul” day, according to the Mosul Eye, and “A percentage of the national budget of Mosul will be dedicated to trees every year.”
An olive tree was planted for Pope Francis “as a symbol of peace and fraternity,” according to Mosul Eye. The pope visited Mosul earlier this year, where he prayed for hope and peace in order to overcome the consequences of war and hatred under ISIS rule.
The 5,000 trees will be planted in several key areas, including the University of Mosul. Jabouri said during an inauguration ceremony on Thursday that he has assigned local authorities to assist with the project.
“All government and non-government institutions should work on making the whole province green,” he said, adding that his administration will not allow people to build houses “unless they have planted at least one tree.”
Mosul Eye welcomed the governor’s support in a tweet, saying they are happy that planting a tree is also a requirement to get permission to open a business.
Mosul’s infrastructure and the environment were severely damaged when ISIS took the city and during the military offensive to retake it.
Governor Jabouri said the agriculture sector in Iraq has been “significantly ignored.”
Iraq is facing an environmental crisis caused by climate change and years of mismanagement of the country’s natural resources. On November 24, the World Bank warned the country is running out of water, and the government has slashed irrigation for winter crops by half.
In November, members of the Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegations at the 26th United Nations Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom, have told media that they are committed to climate action. Read more about their support of COP26 targets – reducing methane emissions, cutting gas flaring, and others – here.