Executive Summary

The climate crisis is increasing security risks in Jordan. Of the manifold risks Jordan must contend with, most pressing are those with direct implications for water resources which are already under significant strain due to both climatic and human-induced factors. Higher temperatures are leading to more evapotranspiration and reduced rainfall are especially critical, straining the groundwater and aquifer reserves that are already over exploited. Extreme weather events and their impacts, including droughts, flash floods, and landslides, further complicate matters. These risks translate into important implications for Jordanians across a variety of areas, including political, social, demographic and economic realms, especially when combined with pre-existing grievances and especially poverty. Together, these create significant challenges for food, water and livelihood security, affecting the overall health and wellbeing of Jordanians. These interactions are complex and likely to manifest in a variety of ways. However, of particular importance for policymakers are how:

  • Climate change worsens water security and leads to increasing disputes and anti-refugee sentiment, eroding social cohesion.
  • Climate change threatens food and livelihood security and could lead to further environmental degradation, reducing Jordanians’ quality of life and enhancing social discontent.
  • Climate change threatens to exacerbate internal mobility, putting pressure on urban areas and straining already limited resources, which can lead to increased competition.
  • Climate change threatens to stretch government coffers and reduce service provision, negatively impacting the social contract.
  • Climate change threatens critical infrastructure with important implications for energy security.

To manage these issues and mitigate their effects on the population, authorities must ensure that policies, especially around sectors critical to climate change, peace, and security, are climate security sensitive. However, though Jordan is a regional trailblazer in articulating these linkages, climate security currently remains inadequately integrated into policies and processes in either climate or security domains. Integration is lacking in part due to low levels of institutional awareness, both around climate change and climate security links, and general technical capacity limitations around policy development and implementation within institutions integral to managing climate (in)security. With that said, there is increasing awareness around climate change and its social and economic implications, and policies increasingly take these links into account. However, financial constraints inhibit not only their development but also potential interventions that could conceivably occur to mitigate climate security issues.

The necessity of managing and mitigating climate insecurity will only intensify, which means Jordan needs to better identify and respond to climate insecurity. The first step is making sure policies and approaches, and the institutions responsible for managing them, have both the human and financial capital to do so. The table below sets out an action agenda for national, regional and international actors across four time horizons:

– Immediate: Adopt a climate security strategy at the national level and use as basis for future mainstreaming and implementation activities International partners assist in developing a national strategy and embed key priorities within country plans and strategies
– Short Term: Improve climate security awareness at the institutional and community level Improve climate security capacities across all of government Enhance climate security integration within policy plans and processes
Build capacity of key national actors tasked with advancing climate change agenda, including on climate security, adaptation and finance
– Medium Term: Improve climate security knowledge, data and dissemination for better tailored response capacities and decision making
– Long Term: Support climate change and security policy and programme implementation capacity at the national, municipal and local levels

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