About This Project


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the project Sumereen: Sumerian Youth for Economic Development and Cultural Heritage in mid-2020. Funded by the European Union (EU), the project supports socio-economic growth through eco-tourism and cultural heritage preservation in the Governorate of Thi Qar, south of Iraq. It is implemented in partnership with the Governorate of Thi Qar and non-governmental organizations, namely Un Ponte Per, Humat Dijlah, Safina Projects and Carlo Leopardi Studio.

The overall objective of Sumereen is to promote the Governorate of Thi Qar as a tourist destination, including the conservation of tourist infrastructure in Ur archaeological site and the Marshlands; the provision of vocational training in eco-tourism and environmental conservation; and the creation of jobs for local communities, specifically youth and women. Under this project, UNDP and partners are working to create employment opportunities through the initiation of eco-tourism in Thi Qar, while improving the efficacy of conservation measures for the Iraqi Marshes and Ur. Download the Sumereen fact sheet to learn more. Within the site of Ur, in the framework of Sumereen project, we will construct a fence to protect part of the archaeological site, as well as build a visitors tour consisting of a car park, pedestrian walkway, bathrooms and educational panels. In addition, we will lay the groundwork for a future visitors center.

Among the activities contributing to promoting eco-tourism in Thi Qar is the creation of Urima website. This platform provides historical and scientific context of the archaeological site of Ur and features artifacts unearthed from Ur and housed in museums around the world. Furthermore, it provides the public and visitors with background data of the site, practical information on how to visit, the opportunity to take a virtual tour, and much more.

The two-year project Sumereen is part of the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development. The programme aims at contributing to the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq through enhancing good governance at the local level. It is working to improve the ability of selected governorates to efficiently manage local government and public services. Economic growth and job creation are prioritized, with a focus on green projects and the inclusion of youth and women. Learn more about the programme through downloading this fact sheet.

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