By Hana Namrouqa – Jan 12,2017

AMMAN — A newly endorsed plan on green economic growth is aimed at leading Jordan into a sustainable economy that creates more jobs and achieves social inclusion while leaving the least negative impact on the environment, green economists said on Thursday.

The National Green Growth Plan lists 24 projects in six sectors where the potential for implementing green investments is feasible, while at the same time, it addresses barriers facing the implementation of green projects, according to Jihad Sawair, director of the Green Economy Unit at the Ministry of Environment.

“The six sectors in which green economic projects are viable are water, energy, agriculture, waste management, transport and tourism,” Sawair told The Jordan Times in an interview.

He underscored the importance of Jordan’s shifting towards a green economy, noting that implementing green projects under a sustainable economy is especially critical in two of the main challenging sectors — water and energy.

“The Kingdom imports 97 per cent of its energy needs, and its annual consumption of electricity rises by 5 per cent annually. At the same time, the country is also among the world’s water poorest nations,” Sawair noted.

The projects under the plan feature renewable energy ventures to generate electricity using wind and solar powers, according to the official.

In the water sector, the proposed projects seek to increase the efficiency of the water distribution system and infrastructure, raise public awareness on water use, maximise the use of treated wastewater for agricultural and industrial purposes, and also powering the water pumps via renewable energy, he explained.

The projects will be funded through a variety of financing mechanisms from the public sector, the private sector, donor agencies or by partnerships between the private and public sectors.

Sawair underscored that green economy in Jordan was institutionalised in 2014, when the Cabinet approved the formation of a high level national steering committee for green economy, and a unit for green economy was set up at the ministry.

“The unit seeks to promote the concept of green growth among stakeholders, support ministries in developing green growth projects, engage the private sector in the green development process, tackle environmental and resource limitation challenges and set the grounds to convert them into business opportunities in a sustainable manner,” he said.

In addition, the team of the Green Economy Unit at the ministry works to enhance the green financing environment in Jordan, while serving as a platform to develop initiatives and programmes for green growth.

The National Green Growth Plan was funded by the German federal environment ministry and is being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and the Global Green Growth Institute.

Meanwhile, the manager of the National Green Growth Plan, Ahmed Amra, highlighted that green growth helps address the Kingdom’s most urgent challenges in economic growth and employment opportunities, energy security and access to clean water, as well as environmental sustainability and climate change.

Amra noted that the plan is a roadmap to a gradual transition into green growth, highlighting that it also applies green growth as a practical approach that builds upon existing government strategies, mainly the Jordan Vision 2025 development blueprint, and demonstrates pathways to achieving them in a sustainable way.