6 Ensure environmental sustainability

Where we are?


Jordan, as it is the case in many other countries, faces several environmental challenges caused by the scarcity of water and natural resources, as well as limited agricultural land, scarcity of traditional energy resources and the fact that Jordan is located in a semi-arid area, where the desert constitutes about 80% of the Kingdom’s entire land.

Jordan pays great attention to the provision of a decent life for all citizens and to the achievement of sustainable environmental development, through environmental sustainability goals within the framework of national development policies, in addition to taking the necessary measures for preserving the environment and the optimal use of resources. This is considered as a main cornerstone in all aspects of economic and social development. The protection of natural resources against pollution is therefore considered as one of the most important strategic objectives of the Jordanian Government, in addition to the fact that the concept of sustainable development is integrated within all strategies
of the ministries and development institutions. To complete the national efforts exerted to this effect,
the Ministry of Environment has developed the environmental policy and plan of action. The Royal Water Commission also approved the water strategy entitled “Water for Life 2008-2020”, while the Royal Energy Commission approved the national energy strategy 2007-2020. Moreover, the Ministry of Agriculture issued the “Agriculture Document of 2009”. All these strategies constituted a national plan of action for the conservation of natural resources and implementing the principles of sustainable development.

Despite the development of many relevant sectoral strategies and policies, Jordan however remains one of the poorest four countries in per capita water share throughout the world. Despite the strenuous efforts exerted by the Government in managing the limited water resources and in the search for additional resources, the per capita share is still diminishing due to the natural and imposed population growth, which occurred over the past decades as a result of political and security developments in neighboring countries, which exerted pressure and affected Jordan’s efforts and development plans aimed at providing water that could meet the country’s development needs. Accordingly, the per capita share of available water decreased from around 3,600 cubic meters per annum in 1946 to less than 150 cubic meters per annum in 2008. This is considered as being severely lower than the World
Water Poverty Line of 1,000 cubic meters per annum.

Targets for MDG7
  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
    • Proportion of land area covered by forest and proportion of species threatened with extinction
    • CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
    • Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
    • Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
    • Proportion of total water resources used
    • Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
    • Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source
    • Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility
  4. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
    • Proportion of urban population living in slums