The Republic of Iraq has a total area land of 437,370 square km of which 22.9 % is arable. In 2010, Iraq’s total population was estimated at 32,297,391, with 67% living in urban areas, which was mainly due the development of education and health services, and increased job opportunities in cities. The country’s GDP per capita is US$2,320 and the national poverty rate is 22.9% (World Bank 2010, est.). Iraq’s economy is dominated by the oil sector, which contributes about 60% to national GDP. The agricultural sector contributes about 5% to national GDP, with total employment estimated at 23.4% in 2008 versus 29.7% in 2006. Despite the continued decline, agriculture remains important to the livelihoods of many Iraqis.
Iraq is topographically divided into four regions: (1) the great Mesopotamian alluvial plains of the Tigris; (2) the Euphrates Rivers; (3) the mountains in the north and east; and (4) the desert in the south and west. The country’s climate is mainly of the continental and subtropical semi-arid type, except for the north and northeastern mountainous regions that have a Mediterranean climate. Over 40% of the country is desert, and is sparsely populated due to harsh weather conditions. For water supply, Iraq mainly depends on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which originate outside of the country. In many parts of the country, good quality water is sparse due to salinity. Desertification and water scarcity due to river flow fluctuations render Iraq vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities