“Water governance in Iraq: Enabling a gamechanger”, Tobias von Lossow (Clingendael Institute, The Netherlands)

Iraq finds itself amid a water crisis that far exceeds previous experiences with water scarcity and acute shortages. Declining quantity and quality of water, outdated and damaged infrastructure, and inefficient water use have uncovered deficiencies in existing water governance, severely affecting the country’s socio-economic, political, and security situation. In the last years, basic water supply services in the south repeatedly broke down during the summer months which contributed to widespread antigovernment protests, particularly in 2018 (BBC News, 2018). The current state of Iraq’s water sector needs to be understood against the background of the country’s tumultuous history. Iraq remains marred by autocratic regimes prioritizing power politics over good governance, consecutive wars, foreign military interventions, fragile security and political instability. This has prevented the country from effectively addressing water challenges despite the increased attention that has been given to water (-related) issues in recent years.

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