by Hana Namrouqa | Oct 20, 2014 | 22:47

DEAD SEA — The Environment Ministry on Sunday signed four grant agreements with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) to improve the management of solid municipal waste, adaptation to climate change and protection of ecosystems.

The agreements, which were signed on the sidelines of the Eco-Cities of the Mediterranean 2014 Forum, are worth 6.5 million euros (around JD5.9 million) and will tackle three of the Kingdom’s critical challenges, Environment Minister Taher Shakhshir said.

The first agreement seeks to address the increasing amount of solid waste generated in governorates hosting Syrian refugees, which has placed a surging pressure on waste collection and management, particularly in the northern region, Shakhshir added.

Under the agreement, Irbid, Mafraq and Karak municipalities will be provided with new motor pools, while municipality technicians will be trained on their maintenance.

The municipalities supported under the agreement are facing challenges in managing their motor pools efficiently, the minister noted.

Under the second agreement, GIZ, on behalf of the German federal ministry for economic cooperation, will implement a project to take ecosystem services and biodiversity into account in national policy decisions.

GIZ will support the Environment Ministry in developing a national biodiversity policy that presents guidelines for the evaluation of ecosystem services and will be referred to Parliament for approval.

In addition, pilot projects will be implemented to support the eco-tourism sector and set up recreational sites and rangeland management.

“We are fortunate that for the first time in Jordan, a big project will address the theme of ecosystem services. This will grab the attention of economy-biased policy makers of the services and economic value which ecosystems can add to the national economy,” Shakhshir said.

The third and fourth agreements seek to support the Kingdom’s efforts in mitigating and adapting to climate change, according to the minister.

“The grant will enhance the ministry’s capacity to implement the National Climate Change Policy endorsed in 2013… and strengthen Jordan’s engagement in global climate change negotiations through the development of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in climate change,”

INDCs are to be developed by Jordan and other countries and announced at the Conference of Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in Paris in 2015, according to the ministry, which said that the conference seeks to launch a new global agreement on climate change.

Through the development of INDCs, Jordan can make a significant contribution to international climate protection, a ministry statement said, and the project will ensure that the Kingdom will assume a pioneering role in international climate conventions and profit from the benefits offered by several international support opportunities open to countries that actively engage in climate change protection.

Barbara Schweiger, head of GIZ’s environmental programme in Jordan, said the Kingdom is taking a leading position in the Arab world in tackling different issues of environmental importance.

“This is why Germany is strengthening its partnership and cooperation, so that Jordanians, through a more sustainable management of the resources of their environment, can be able to benefit with their children from all the opportunities and services provided by the surrounding environment,” Schweiger said at the signing ceremony.