Project to build resilience to cope with climate change in Jordan through improved water use efficiency in agriculture sector

By JT – Mar 18,2021

AMMAN — The Green Climate Fund (GCF) on Wednesday approved a $33.2 million project to build climate resilience in Jordan through better water management practices, according to a statement from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). 

This is Jordan’s first GCF project and it comes at a crucial time, as climate change and growing water scarcity threaten the country’s food and water security.

The project will benefit 212 416 people (47 per cent of whom are women) in four target areas in the Dead Sea Basin — the Karak, Madaba, Tafilah and Maan governorates — which are particularly vulnerable to climate change and climate-induced water stress, the statement said.

A $25 million grant from the GCF will support the objectives of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s climate change policy (2013–2020) by building the adaptive capacity of communities and institutions, and by increasing the efficiency of water management systems in the country.

FAO will implement the seven-year project in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and a number of relevant ministries, public and private institutions, NGOs and other stakeholders.

The government of Jordan will contribute $6.1 million in co-financing to the project, while FAO and UNDP will contribute $2.06 million ($1 million and $1.06 million respectively).

With FAO’s expertise and the government’s commitment, “this project will increase the country’s capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and ensure the long-term, sustainable development of its agricultural sector”, said Environment Minister Nabil Masarweh in the statement.

‘A paradigm shift’ for water resources

“Urgent action is needed to make water management systems more efficient to prevent further soil degradation, reduce water stress, and increase agricultural productivity in Jordan. The project, which is designed for measures at the national, community and household level, will bring about a paradigm shift in the way scarce water resources are harvested, planned for, and used in agriculture as well as in homes,” said Nabil Assaf, FAO representative in Jordan, in the statement

“By promoting innovative approaches to sustainable water management and empowering women as agents of change, farming communities and households will become more resilient to climate change,” Assaf added.

Multiple actions have been integrated into the project design to ensure maximum impact and long-term, transformational change in the way water is collected and used. The project will focus on promoting innovative solutions, such as harvesting rooftop rainwater, using water-saving domestic devices, and using reclaimed water to improve water security. It will also help build households’ resilience to climate change through extension messages — tailored to men and women — on climate adaptation measures and weather forecasts, and training that empowers rural women as agents of change for climate change adaptation.

Another import action includes mainstreaming gender-sensitive adaptive tools and practices for improved water management in the national policy and educational framework and the administrative, economic, and social frameworks of target areas.

The project will also generate numerous socio-economic co-benefits. More business opportunities will be created for entrepreneurs trained in installing rainwater harvesting structures, and more jobs will be created for young people seeking employment in these enterprises. As agricultural productivity increases through improved farming practices, fertiliser use will decrease — a win-win for people and the environment.

Agents of change in a challenging climate

Women play a key role as agents of change for climate change adaptation. In rural areas of Jordan, women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than men are, particularly because they face unequal access to resources, barriers to decision-making processes, and limited mobility, the statement said.

They are also more dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, but these resources are threatened by climate change. By addressing these challenges, the activities under this project will enhance women’s access to resources, services, and information so they can adapt to climate change and protect their livelihoods, read the statement.

This project stands to benefit not only Jordan, but also its neighbouring countries in the water scarce region, the statement said.