Shafaq News/ Iraq and the European Union issued a joint declaration on sustainable development, green transition, governance, regional connectivity, and sustainable finance.
According to the declaration:
The EU and Iraq, in the framework of implementation of their Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 2012, will deepen and intensify cooperation with a view to boost economic reforms and sustainable green transition.
As defined in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the EU and Iraq recall and acknowledge the great importance of sustainable and social development, which should go hand in hand with economic development. The two sides reiterate the importance of enhancing cooperation to consolidate, deepen and diversify their relations in areas of mutual interest based on respect for sovereignty, equality, non-discrimination, the rule of law and good governance, respect for the natural environment, and mutual benefit. Furthermore, the EU and Iraq recognize the need to support Iraq's efforts to continue political reforms and economic rehabilitation.
In this regard, the EU and Iraq recognize the need to address climate change globally, in line with their international commitments, particularly the Paris Agreement. As a part of these efforts, they are determined to work together towards Sustainable Development Goals and make progress in the decarbonization of energy and transport. Furthermore, close cooperation to enhance regional connectivity through digital, energy, and transportation networks is essential to encourage and sustain stabilisation and peace in the Middle East. This includes mobilizing sustainable finance towards these aims to meet the sizeable investment needs in Iraq and the region, notably through possible cooperation between Iraq and European development and trade finance institutions. These efforts align with the EU's Green Deal and the Global Gateway initiatives.
Sustainable development and green transition
The EU lauds Iraq's commitment to fostering renewables and improving the country's energy efficiency potential towards the green energy sector. Furthermore, the EU and Iraq attach great importance to the electricity and gas market reforms in Iraq, including the modernization of the electricity grid, and agree on the need for actions to reduce unnecessary gas flaring as much as possible and to use the saved gas instead for domestic electricity production.
The EU commends Iraq for ratifying the Paris Agreement and encourages Iraq to follow up on the required steps to implement its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
Noting Iraq's high vulnerability to the impact of climate change and environmental degradation, the EU and Iraq acknowledge the importance of defining clear targets and stepping up action to address the most pressing challenges linked to emissions reduction – including fugitive emissions – water management and adaptation to climate change.
The EU and Iraq agree on the role that decarbonization pathways – especially for the electricity sector – can play in terms of significant additional growth and productivity gains.
The EU expressed readiness to assist Iraq in urgently tackling climate adaptation and environmental degradation challenges through the transition towards sustainable, fair, and resilient economies.
The EU and Iraq reaffirm cooperation on Iraqi (re)-commitment to incremental reforms, including regulatory frameworks and enabling environment for the private sector, addressing and improving the broader governance and primary service delivery, and enhancing transparency and fighting corruption.
The EU and Iraq intend to enhance cooperation in improving regional electricity interconnections and promoting stronger regional transport connections. Furthermore, the two sides reaffirm air safety as a key priority in their bilateral relations. Therefore, the EU will continue engaging with the Iraq Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) and monitor the ICAA's safety oversight capabilities.
The EU supports the Government of Iraq in its efforts to address underlying structural imbalances and advance much-needed reforms on economic diversification, strengthening the private sector, women's economic empowerment, and attracting investments to tackle unemployment challenges, with a particular focus on youth, women, and displaced populations.
The EU, in cooperation with European Development Finance Institutions, such as EIB and potentially EBRD, are ready to work closely with the Government of Iraq to advance engagement with financial institutions to boost private sector development, including in banking, and improve the investment environment in the country through diversification, sustainability, and inclusiveness, in particular by supporting operations in Iraq that are aligned with Global Gateway priorities, notably on climate-related investments.