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Kingdom takes ‘holistic approach’ with Climate-Refugee Nexus Initiative

By Maria Weldali - Nov 12,2022 - Last updated at Nov 12,2022

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah’s speech delivered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh has put forward the Climate/Refugee Nexus Initiative, which allocates priority to refugee host countries that are bearing the burden of climate change.

In his speech, the King said: “COP27 now has an urgent task, to kick start a new level of climate action, transformative action that can achieve tangible results faster and more effectively.”

The King noted that Jordan, a country with a proven track record of successful climate responsive projects, is keen to serve as a regional hub for green growth. He also mentioned that the country has already partnered with Egypt, Iraq, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to strengthen the region’s resilience to climate change.

Reiterating Jordan’s commitment to climate action, the King noted that “climate change is no stranger to us; we share similar climate threats with the entire region”,

Further, the King reflected upon the Kingdom‘s climate-related challenges, specifying that rainfall average has fallen by almost half its previous levels in the past 50 years, while the water share per capita has dropped by approximately 80 per cent.

His Majesty also touched upon Jordan’s green recovery programme, which he said comes in parallel with the Kingdom’s Economic Modernisation Vision. He also mentioned that sustainable economic development demands green resources and practices.

Speaking with The Jordan Times, President of the Jordan Environmental Union (JEU) Omar Shoshon said that “His Majesty’s speech is a representation of the highest form of political determination and will with regard to climate action”.

Shoshan stated that his Majesty brought up two important topics in his address, including the need to advance international climate cooperation and the issue of financing climate action. 

The JEU president added that the King also linked climate action with economic development, a correlation that can be seen in Jordan’s climate adaptation projects, the most important of which is the National Water Carrier Project.

Moreover, Shoshan highlighted that Jordan has enough capacity to be the centre of regional cooperation on issues related to climate change, pointing to the fact that the Kingdom has a clear Green Growth National Action Plan for six key sectors, adding that “the stability of governmental policies and funding are critical to avoid volatility in project implementation”.

Shoshan said that putting forward the Climate/Refugee Nexus Initiative is “an act of political intelligence”, as today there can be greater understanding of the interconnection between climate change and refugees, particularly following the latest global developments.

Hala Murad, head of the Dibeen Association for Environmental Development, told The Jordan Times that the initiative is a positive step forward and is critical for countries like Jordan that have received massive waves of refugees.

“It is important not only to politically tackle the issue of refugees through this initiative, but to have a holistic framework that encompasses various approaches,” she stressed, noting that the Kingdom’s status as the second largest refugee host per capita worldwide has given it experience regarding the intersection of climate action and refugees.

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