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‘Jordan needs plan to tackle dire environmental challenges’

By Hana Namrouqa - Nov 06,2018 - Last updated at Nov 06,2018

AMMAN — Climate change and land degradation are some of many environmental challenges chipping away at the earnings of Jordan’s sustainable development, experts in the field said on Tuesday, urging for a draft plan to tackle environmental challenges exacerbated by the region’s political crises.

Experts on environment and sustainable development underlined the close linkage between local and global environment at the First National Conference on Environment and Development in Jordan, organised under the theme "Environment Knows No Boundaries".

Deputising for Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, Minister of Water and Irrigation and acting Minister of Environment Raed Abul Saud, highlighted the importance of coordinating national efforts in all sectors to control the impacts of accelerated development on both local and global environments.

“It is also vital to draw up a road map that tackles environmental challenges and problems resulting from land degradation and climate change on development in Jordan,” Abul Saud said at the opening ceremony of the two-day event.

The minister noted that Jordan “realised at an early stage that ecosystems extend beyond borders and that local environments are part of the global environment”, noting that the Kingdom was among the first countries to sign and ratify the international agreements forged following the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit.

The Rio convention refers to three legally binding agreements which resulted from the 1992 Earth Summit: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The "Environment Knows No Boundaries" conference seeks to highlight the local and global environmental challenges and issues and discuss the benefits that the global environment may bring to drive the sustainable development in Jordan, according to its organisers.

Organised by the Ministry of Environment with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funding from the Global Environment Facility, participants of the conference will address Jordan’s environment in the global context, the environmental dimension in the national development agenda of Jordan, success stories and best practices for sustainable development in Jordan and barriers that hinder the linkages of the local-global environment management system.

For UNDP Jordan Country Director Sara Ferrer Olivella, the Kingdom faces multiple environmental challenges.

“…The country’s environmental problems were worsened by the region’s political crises which led to a huge exodus of refugees, thus putting pressure on the country’s environment and natural resources, especially water and soil,” Olivella said at the event.

The UN official underlined that safe and healthy ecosystems and their productivity are intertwined with the sustainable livelihood of local communities, thus making the protection of Jordan’s ecosystems a national priority.

Outcomes of the conference, which concludes on Tuesday, are planned to be featured at the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, which will be held in Poland on December 2-11.

The conference is expected to finalise the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change under the Paris Agreement Work Programme. It will also include a number of high-level events, mandated events, action events and roundtables, according to the UNFCCC website.

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