Iraq Sustainability Issues

The critcal environmental and sustainability issues of Iraq:

  1. Oil Reserves

Iraq changed its oil reserve currency from the U.S. dollar to the euro in 2000. However, 28% of Iraq’s export revenues under the program were deducted to meet UN Compensation Fund and UN administrative expenses. The drop in GDP in 2001 was largely the result of the global economic slowdown and lower oil prices. Iraq suffered economic losses of at least $80 billion from the war. From 2020, oil production is expected to increase only marginally, reducing overall economic growth, as the Government of Iraq (GoI) cannot afford to significantly increase investments in the oil sector.


  1. Gender Inequality

More than 24 percent of Iraqi women claim to have been married before the age of 18, indicating a very high rate of child marriage. Additionally, 8 percent of women claim to have been victims of female genital mutilation. These data and other statistics rank Iraq 123 out of 189 countries on the U.N.’s Gender Inequality Index. Overall, 26% of Iraqi women are illiterate against 11% of Iraqi men. For youth aged 15–24 years, the literacy rate is 80% for young women, and 85% for young men. Girls are less likely than boys to continue their education beyond the primary level, and their enrolment numbers drop sharply after that.


  1. The Health Care system

A hospital-oriented, capital-intensive model that requires large scale imports of medicines, medical equipment and even health workers—is inefficient and access is inequitable in Iraq. Although the system ran fairly effectively, little health service data was collected. This led to a lack of cost-effective public health interventions, and the services only partially matched population health needs. To this day, the levels and distribution of available human resources for health is inadequate. Health expenditure in Iraq was 5.54% of the GDP as of 2014. Its highest value over the past 11 years was 5.92 in 2013, while its lowest value was 3.00 in 2006. Currently 96.4% of Iraqis are without health insurance. There is no health insurance system to serve the public, so they rely on the Iraqi central government-run public health care system, with little advocacy or diversity of treatment options.


  1. Environmental Issues

Water demand is increasing in Iraq due to population growth.

There has been severe degradation of Iraq’s biodiversity due to a number of factors, including unregulated hunting and harvesting of threatened species, trade in endangered species, high salinity and ecological pollution, uncontrolled development and a lack of protection in many of Iraq’s most important biodiverse sites ion growth, environmental considerations, and economic development.

Results reveal a significant drought exacerbation over Iraq during the period of 1998–2009, and identified two significant drought periods of 1998–1999 and 2007–2008 during which severe to extreme droughts covered about 87% and 82% of Iraq, respectively. Their results also showed that drought has become more intense in the central and southwestern parts of Iraq compared to the northern and southeastern parts.


  1. Poverty

The ISIS-affected government has created social, economic and security disruptions, all of which deeply impact poverty in Iraq.  This violence has increased civilian mortality and left parts of the country outside of government control, which have lead to massive internal displacement. Ninety-five percent of Iraq’s exports are from oil. Despite this wealth, Iraq’s weak government and chronic political unrest have caused the country’s poverty rate to drop to 18.9 percent.

51 percent of Iraqi households are crowded, some with as many as 10 people living in one home. Crowding is particularly severe among the poor, lying at 81 percent compared to the 44 percent of the non-poor.