Countries in the Middle East should take notice that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is making great efforts to improve Jordan’s environment as well as that in the region.
One of the foremost environmental societies in the Kingdom is the Jordan Environmental Society, which was established in 1988, during the reign of King Ab dullah’s father, King Hussein.
Like the SPNI in neighboring Israel, the Society is a non-governmental and non-profit organization whose propose is to improve the environment and improve its basic elements.
These elements not only include ones like air, water, soil and animal life, but human beings too.
Since it’s founding, the JES’s 15 branches have been involved in a number of projects, including water pollution awareness, waste management (including medical wastes), biogas and other alternative energy sources, reducing air pollution in metropolitan areas, recycling of plastics, solid wastes, and other substances; and many others.
The Society works with and receives funding from a number of local and international entities, including the Jordanian government, USAID, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the French and Swedish governments, WHO, and many other organizations.
The JES works closely with the Jordanian government’s Ministry of Environment (which helped organize Earth Hour in Jordan) on a number of issues affecting the environment in Jordan, especially in regards to safeguarding and improving the country’s water resources and the disposal of solid wastes.
A comedy theater production entitled Recycling, and put on by the JES, is said to be the first of it’s kind in the Arab world, points out the importance of solid wastes management, and its profitability.
Cooperating with the Ministry of Environment in Jordan, the JES has been conducting training courses similar to those done under the former program of King Hussein’s Environmental Management’s Training Program since 2003, and with special emphasis on environmental impact assessment relating to the development of various projects in the environmental field.
Those completing the training are given a comprehensive certificate signed by both the Environmental Ministry and the JES. The training program has been expanded to include members of other regional environment organizations, including the training of 150 employees from the Iraqi Ministry of Environment.
The JES has been very active in the Australian Clean up the World project, which had it’s beginnings in 1993. This project, in which Jordan is a member with 150 other nations, encourages creating greener cities and communities, by improving their streets, parks, waterways, and motorways to reduce the amount of wastes that are put upon them.
The JES is currently working in cooperation with a large number of international environmental organizations, including some in the Palestinian Authority.
They have yet to form a working agreement with Israeli environmental organizations, although there are joint projects being worked on by the Jordan and Israeli environmental ministries, including projects to clean up the Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat, including an agreement to cooperate in maintaining the core elements of a recently initiated ecosystem management program in the northern sector of the Gulf. It would be nice if non-governmental environmental organizations could work together as well. But political problems, all too common in the Middle East, will need to be put aside first.
[image via eviljonias]