By Hana Namrouqa – May 07,2017

AMMAN — Representatives of the country’s 124 environmental NGOs on Sunday urged the government to engage with the civil society in environment-related decision making.

At their first national conference, the country’s environmental NGOs called on the government to consult with them in the environmental decision making process, claiming that they are often sidelined.

President of the Jordan Federation of Environmental NGOs, Omar Shoshan, said that Jordanian environmental NGOs are home to skilled and qualified environmental specialists, who are more than capable of supporting the country’s environmental policymaking.

“Environment NGOs are capable of, and keen to achieve, true and efficient partnership with the government in environmental decision making and in the implementation of grassroots projects to address unemployment and reduce poverty, while ensuring environmental sustainability,” Shoshan said.

He stressed the important role of civil societies in the country’s sustainable development, outlining the multiple challenges they face in the process.

Shoshan urged the government to fully utilise the potential of the environmental NGOs operating in the Kingdom, noting that, as most of them are located outside of the capital, they could assist the government in boosting the country’s socioeconomic development.

“Regardless of the challenges that environmental NGOs are facing, we call on them to continue tapping the potential of entrepreneurship for the implementation of different projects that achieve a safer environment, protect natural resources and generate job opportunities,” he highlighted.

Meanwhile, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Deputy Resident Director and Coordinator of Regional Programmes, Richard Probst, stressed that the gathering of the country’s environmental NGOs sends a strong message, noting that the world has recently witnessed positive environmental developments.

“For the first time in history, such a powerful group of NGOs in the environment sector gathers. It is my true conviction that the civil society movement can only be strong in two statements; number one is unity and diversity and number two is “think global, act local”, Probst said, addressing the NGOs’ representatives at the opening event.

The one-day conference was organised by the federation in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and was held under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma Bent Ali.

It aims to provide a platform for the country’s environmental NGOs to exchange knowledge and expertise in the implementation of projects, secure funding for their projects and explore entrepreneurship opportunities in the environment sector.

Meanwhile, Ehab Eid, vice president of the Jordan Federation of Environmental NGOs and executive director of the Royal Marine Conservation Society, indicated that the federation seeks to hold a similar national conference for environment NGOs annually.

Eid highlighted that the federation, which was officially launched in 2014, seeks to boost the country’s environmental movement, noting that it has nine member NGOs with diverse specialties in the environment sector.