$4.3m program to develop Jordan's adaptation to climate change


December, 2009- The Ministry of Environment has launched a $4.3 million programme to develop the Kingdom's adaptation to climate change and sustain its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) achievements.

The programme, financed by the UNDP-Spain MDG Achievement Fund, seeks to identify loopholes in the country's climate change adaptation process and assess the phenomenon's direct and indirect effects on health, nutrition and human security, according to ministry officials.


In 2000, the UN adopted eight goals to be met by all the world's countries by 2015. They include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability and creating global partnerships for development.


The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. A total of 191 states, including Jordan, have committed themselves to achieving these goals by the year 2015.


The Kingdom has progressed in achieving the MDGs, but some of these achievements are being jeopardised in light of the country's water shortage, which could threaten public health, food security, productivity and human security, the programme's coordinator, Munjed Sharif, said recently.


Official figures indicate that the Kingdom has decreased poverty from 21 per cent in 1997 to 14 per cent in 2005 (goal 1), lowered illiteracy by 97 per cent (goal 2), decreased infant mortality to 24 deaths per 1,000 live births (goal 4) and increased water access by 97 per cent and sanitary services by 65 per cent


The programme will assist Jordan in addressing strategic issues, including health and water, by ensuring a sustainable and improved water supply in light of a water shortage blamed on climate change.


A study by the National Statistics Office (ONE) on progress towards the MDGs in eastern Cuba made it possible for U.N. agencies and local authorities to identify which areas should be especially targeted in development efforts, including maternal health programmes, promoting greater access to food, and defence of the environment.


So far, climate change has caused a 30 per cent reduction in the Kingdom's surface water resources, as well as a decrease in the volume of rainfall and agricultural production, both of which the country and the Arab world rely on heavily.


If climate change continues at its current pace, the Kingdom is expected to witness a 1-2°C increase in temperatures by 2030-2050, resulting in diminished aquifers and oases, reduced green cover, and the transformation of semi-arid lands, some 80 per cent of the country's total area, into arid deserts, according to environment experts.


To this end, the programme seeks to boost the country's capability in adapting to climate change impact in order to protect health and achieve food security, according to the ministry.


The programme considers coping with the scant water resources as the key to ensuring the sustainability of Jordan's MDG achievements.


In order to ensure a sustainable supply of water, the programme will improve water quality management systems and ensure a continued supply of clean water to achieve the minimum requirements of hygienic protection.


It will also reinforce capabilities of adapting to climate change impact and develop local institutions' capacities for integral water resource administration.


The three-year programme will be implemented by the WHO, UNESCO, UNDP and FAO.


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