Wala’a Ali Farhan: Researcher specializing in public policies and sustainable development

The Millennium Sustainable Development Goals introduce seventeen developmental objectives, with the first aimed at the eradication of poverty and the thirteenth focusing on addressing climate change. A notable characteristic of these United Nations goals is their interdependent impact, where each goal influences and is influenced by the others. Today, global climate changes have a direct impact on poverty levels. In Iraq, significant climatic challenges have emerged post-2003, which have directly affected the country’s poverty levels. These climatic shifts necessitate the implementation of public policies to address climate change issues, as environmental degradation can adversely affect production and employment, particularly impacting the most impoverished and vulnerable population segments. This could also lead to a decrease in international oil prices, impacting the country’s public finances. This situation raises a crucial question: What is the extent of climate change’s impact on poverty in Iraq?
First: Indicators of Poverty in Iraq
Poverty is defined as “a decline in living standards below a certain level within economic and social standards.” The World Bank identifies poor countries as those where per capita income is less than $600 annually, encompassing 45 countries, mostly in Africa, with an average per capita income of less than $300 annually in 15 of these countries.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) defines poverty as more than just a lack of income, resources, or the assurance of a sustainable livelihood. It encompasses multiple dimensions including hunger, malnutrition, limited access to education and essential services, social discrimination, exclusion from the community, and a lack of opportunities to participate in decision-making.
According to UNDP reports on poverty indicators in Iraq, the 2014 report noted that the Multidimensional Poverty Index was at 0.05, with 13.3% of the population living under these conditions, equating to 4236 individuals per thousand, where the intensity of deprivation was 39.4%, and 7.4% of the population was at risk of multidimensional poverty, with 2.5% living in extreme poverty. The dimensions of deprivation from overall poverty were also 2.5%. In terms of education, the rate was 50.1%, in health 38.6%, and living standards 11.3%.

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