Petra to join the National Protected Areas Network

Jan 10, 2017

Part of the Event

Under the patronage of the Minister of Environment Dr. Yasin Khayat, Petra was announced as a new protected area under  the National Protected Areas Network.  The announcement comes in preparation of its official declaration according to the national by laws. This important step has been achieved through a UNDP’s Project entitled “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation in Tourism Sector Development in Jordan (BITS)”, which is supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented in Petra by Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA). The announcement is made after a comprehensive work and joint efforts by all concerned agencies and after preparing all the needed details for the nomination file  including studies and annexes as per the Natural Reserve and National Park Regulation at the national law.

The development of Petra nomination file would not have been possible without the great support and cooperation of different responsible parties especially Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA), the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, UNDP Jordan and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).

Dr. Yasin Khayyat, Minister of Environment stated that the Ministry of Environment and among its priorities is concerned to involve all concerned partners including international donors, national institutions and local communities to support the national efforts towards conserving the unique  biodiversity resources of Jordan in order to sustain them as a main attraction for tourism and as an asset for ecotourism, as well as contributing in awareness raising of the importance of conserving such natural resources in a participatory manner to ensure the appropriate support to local communities.

The Ministry is collaborating with Royal Society for The Conservation of Nature (RSCN) to carry out a number of projects and activities aiming at institutionalizing nature conservation and its different components in Jordan, Dr. Khayyat added.

Dr. Mohammad Nawafleh, PDTRA President said that the unique Nabatean monuments are not only what distinguishes the magic of Petra; as this city flourishes with natural and other artistic assets, such as the enormous biodiversity and the distinct species of plants and animals live that is recorded there. The biodiversity in Petra is signified by the existence and distribution of unique types of plants, and animals, in addition to Petra’s ecological and natural characteristics, which will contribute to enhancing the development tourism in the city.

Dr. Nawafleh also added that PDTRA is working on a trial model for the declaration of Petra as a nature reserve in addition to being protected archaeological one, especially that Petra has main characteristics to be one of the best natural world heritage, in addition of being one of the world cultural heritage sites, such as its charming geological heritage and the great biodiversity and climate change

On her part, Dr. Zena Ali Ahmad, UNDP Jordan Country Director highlighted the importance of Petra joining the national protected areas network, and that this achievement will get both local and global echo; especially that this declaration coincides with the announcement of this year as the International Year for Sustainable Tourism. It is also in line with a number of national strategies, goals, priorities and the 2025 Jordan vision.

This important step comes along with the kick off of implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the world leaders in September 2015, in which a number of goals focuses on protecting the wild life regulations and environmental resources.

UNDP Country Director also thanked all the partners who supported UNDP to achieve such a dream, especially PDTRA and the Ministry of Environment, in addition to the local community members.

Announcing Petra as one of the national protected areas has a great effect on both the local and the international level. Locally; it helps Jordan to meet PA commitments; as by the year 2020, 4% of Jordan terrestrial area is expected to be achieved, the Petra protected area will increase the National PA percentage by 0.5 % (513 square Km) to be 2.15%. It will also support in protecting and promoting biodiversity as a fundamental part of planning in development efforts, focusing on the value of biodiversity as an asset for tourism promotion in Petra. And it will enhance the enforcement and create public awareness on Petra’s unique biodiversity.

At the international level; it’s worth mentioning that Petra proposed protected area lies along one of the world’s largest bird migratory flyways.  Soaring birds in particular (such as raptors, storks, and ibises) which makes Petra an attraction site for bird watchers from all over the world.

Also, results of different field surveys indicated that a total number of 750 species of plants, 28 mammals (including 3 carnivores, 1 artiodactyl, 11 bats, and 9 rodents), 36 amphibians and reptiles, and up to 122 species of birds were recorded during in Petra. At least 3 mammals, 4 reptiles, and 4 birds have global and/or regional IUCN threatened status.  At least 42 species of plants are either threatened or endemic to Petra. 2 species the recorded mammals and one reptile have conservations status (threatened and/or endangered). In addition, 8 species of birds are either globally or regionally threatened, some of which were noted to breed in the study areas and therefore are identified as key species.

It's worth mentioning that this great achievement comes within the framework of UNDP project “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation in Tourism Sector Development in Jordan”, which is supported by the Global Environment facility (GEF), and implemented through a great strong partnership with different governmental and non-governmental institutions, in three main areas which are: Rum, Dibeen and Petra protected areas.

for Media&Communications

Phone: +962 6 5100420


Fax: +962 6 5100430

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Jordan 
Go to UNDP Global