Jordan Authorities To Flag and Key Red Sea Green Beach Projects

coral bay beach hotel photoThe Red Sea is a wonder of the world.

Comparing to the Great Barrier Reef in terms of coral diversity and beauty, lack of environmental awareness in the Middle East (in Jordan, Israel and the countries below them), are causing the demise of coral and other marine life.

Now, a new global program that recognizes hotels and beaches meeting eco-standards is being adopted in Jordan, according to the Jordan Times.

They say it’s a first for the Middle East, but is Jordan really an obvious green leader?

Several enterprises in the port city Aqaba are taking on the challenge of earning the The Green Key and Blue Flag initiatives, two programs started by the international Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) programmes. A recent member of the FEE, Jordan marine authorities are keen on implementing eco-friendly programs in Jordan. It’s good for tourism, the authority realizes: Fadi Sharaiha an executive from the Jordan authorities says that encouraging eco-friendly standards at both hotels and beaches, is an important part of the developing tourism industry in Aqaba.

“It makes good business for them and promotes tourism while also protecting the environment from the increasing investments here,” he said.

Award criteria focus on environmental management, technical demands, and the involvement of guests, staff and suppliers, and cover fields such as water, waste, energy, environmental management, use of chemicals and open spaces, and food and beverages, reports the Jordan Times, noting that is the first time the programme has been introduced in the Middle East.

Three Hotels On Board

Three hotels in Aqaba are interested in participating. “Their applications are in the process of being audited and hopefully by springtime we are going to announce the first two or three hotels awarded the Green Key eco-label in Jordan,” said Sharaiha.

Major hotel chains in Israel have already adopted some of the requirements needed to earn the FEE seal of approval, such as giving guests the option of re-using bath towels, using thermal solar panels to heat water and asking guests to conserve water.

I personally laud Jordan for taking on this new eco-challenge (one blogger tells Green Prophet that garbage in Aqaba is blowing right out of the lidless bins into the sea), but one shouldn’t ignore the magnanimous efforts the Israelis on the other side of the beach have already done – flag or no flag.

Flag and key all efforts

While Jordan beaches may be the first in the Middle East to earn a flag or green key, Israel authorities are still generations ahead of any country in the Middle East in terms of monitoring water pollution, coral health, global warming effects on the Red Sea and marine research in general. Not that environmental awareness is a competition or something…Many Jordanian scientists come to Israel to learn from the IUI scientists in Eilat, for example, but none give Israel credit or mention for what they learn. If they do it’s in a whisper. Why? Because in the Jordanian world, to learn from Israel is akin to collaborating with the enemy.

I look forward to a time when people can give credit where credit is due, and step out of line once and while for the environment’s sake. Still, hats off to Jordan for getting involved in environmental awareness. And hats off to the The Middle East Environmental Network for continuing to find excellent environment news kicking around the Middle East.

::Jordan Times

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9 thoughts on “Jordan Authorities To Flag and Key Red Sea Green Beach Projects”

  1. Daniella says:

    Guillaume – Environmental problems do cross international borders, however, they are not created in a vacuum. For example, the regional water shortage is exacerbated for Jordanians and Palestinians, who get a much smaller per capita share of regional water resources than Israel, which overconsumes and even exports water from the Golan Heights to Scotland.

    For now, organizations such as Friends of the Earth Middle East ( do work across the divide by joint Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian projects addressing the Dead Sea and regional water and land quality. There is also an Israeli-Palestinian project to protect local aquifers by jointly treating Palestinian sewage, and IPCRI has some sewage treatment projects,too.

    But the unresolved status of the Palestinian territories, including the environmental damage of the Israeli settlement project, as well as the different backgrounds – Western, urban, liberal Israeli values versus Eastern, rural and traditional ones in places like the West Bank and Jordan make the gaps hard to bridge. Moreover, when a political situation makes it difficult for you to even fuel your oven (see post below on the situation in Gaza) it is asking a lot of people to think out long-term environmental solutions.

  2. Guillaume, we try all the time. The problem is that most Arab countries are not willing to sit at the table with Israel. If you can broker the meetings, maybe peace will come…
    – Karin

  3. Very interesting article. Do you think it would be possible for the countries in the Middle East to sit on the table and to overcome all the hatred?? I mean the Middle East appears to me as a very fragile ecosystem, so regional cooperation is more than needed. In this article you mention that Israel is still perceived as the enemy, but how strong is that??

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