• Aram Hakim | Senior Communications Assistant

Dana Kamal is a young Iraqi entrepreneur and the owner of GreenScape, a landscaping company that provides high-quality and cost-effective landscape solutions for residential, commercial and urban projects in the Kurdistan Region and wider Iraq. He founded GreenScape in 2013 with a group of ambitious, creative, highly-skilled landscapers and engineers, with a vision of helping clients achieve their ideal outdoor experience.

But in water-strapped Iraq – among the top five countries most affected by climate change globally – those interested in this sector need to get creative. Indeed, Dana’s company recently established a smart drip irrigation system (an innovative method for climate-smart watering) for a pomegranate garden in Halabja.

Installing an irrigation system. (IOM Iraq/2022)

Dana graduated from Salahaddin University with a degree in irrigation engineering, and he has a passion for developing sustainable landscape solutions that can contribute to Iraq's urban development and agriculture sector, while conserving natural resources.

"Our deeper aim is to redesign cities with more nature, to further penetrate the agricultural sector with improved irrigation and to save water. For this purpose, eco-friendly systems are essential to realizing our sustainability plans," he explained.

Though Dana wants to implement sustainable urban projects, he recognizes that in practice, his vision demands a stronger sustainability culture in Iraqi society. In line with this, GreenScape is committed to enriching its systems through the use of sustainable products, improving its design skills and expanding its engineering experience.

Unfortunately, Iraq's private sector faces many challenges, including a lack of supportive industrial policies and limited access to financial and other necessary support services.

“Because clean and renewable energy materials are expensive, there should be efforts to minimize taxes on them. Simultaneously, financing should be made available to enterprises that provide clean and renewable services in order for them to thrive.” Dana said.

With city populations growing and greenery shrinking, new approaches to greening residential areas are needed. An example of GreenScape work. (IOM Iraq/2022)

He believes that the key to creating sustainable landscapes lies in the efficient use of resources, especially water. He emphasizes that “the most important aspect of any garden, whether public, residential or agricultural, is the irrigation system, which ensures survival while minimizing water usage. Our country does not employ advanced irrigation systems in agricultural fields, which has resulted in a loss in greenery in cities and agricultural regions due to rising temperatures and decreasing groundwater and surface water.”

 He Dana continues: "We must not be indifferent to the identified difficulties that have contributed to water shortage. Plan B, which is water management through the use of advanced irrigation systems in agricultural projects, must be implemented."

Dana's mission is to provide the best outdoor experience possible within cities. (IOM Iraq/2022)

With a grant from IOM Iraq’s Enterprise Development Fund (EDF), GreenScape has been able to add solar panels to their production field; purchase new sterilizing equipment and water distribution systems; and acquire greenhouses to produce their own trees and flowers for their projects.

"Before, we had to import the trees and flowers we used, but after the EDF grant we were able to establish multiple greenhouses. We now use our own trees and flowers for our projects, and we were able to hire [15] more employees to maintain our greenhouse and addsolar panels to supply electricity instead of a generator," Dana told us.

Solar electricity was installed to operate the water pump. Image: IOM Iraq / 2022

As of March 2022, IOM has documented approximately 20,148 people in ongoing displacement across 10 Iraqi governorates due to water scarcity and climatic factors. In response to this and to the challenges posed to Iraq’s private sector by climate change, drought-related displacement and limited access to financial and non-financial services, IOM plans to launch EDF-Green, which will be dedicated to supporting environmentally-friendly practices across the country.

 EDF-Green will target innovators in the agricultural sector and those contributing to climate resilience, including those working in waste sorting and recycling, renewable energy, food processing, agriculture and other green areas. The initiative is planned for launch in Sulaymaniyah, Diyala and Baghdad governorates in March and April of 2023, with qualifying green enterprises able to apply for a grant to increase their green activities.

These activities were made possible thanks to support from the Government of Germany, through KfW.

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities