The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted three delegations from the 2019 United Nations Forum Jordan Study Programme as part of an innovative programme designed to deepen knowledge about UN activities.
The delegations visited UNDP-led environment projects and community support initiatives within an initiative supported by the Government of Japan.
UNDP Resident Representative Sara Ferrer Olivella welcomed the delegation noting the critical importance of youth in shaping solutions to pressing challenges posed by non-inclusive economic growth and environmental protection. She said: “We need the energy and enthusiasm of youth volunteers in achieving prosperity for all and driving change. We are happy to share our experience and achievements of several initiatives addressing environmental protection and livelihoods development anchored in rural local communities.”
One of the delegations with relevant education and environmental-related expertise toured the Al Ekaider Landfill, the second-largest landfill in Jordan in which UNDP is leading efforts to increase capacity and decrease negative environmental impact. The delegation toured boasts the green administration and management building, new buildings including guard and weighing bridge control rooms, and installation of health facilities to improve the safety and health of workers and staff. During the tour, the solar-powered lights and a new green belt of 5,000 trees around the facilities were also on display.
Thanks to the support of the Government of Canada and technical support and implementation by UNDP Jordan, the landfill is witnessing substantial improvements that have had positive benefits for the community. The population served by Al Ekaider landfill is 2,000,000 people, including 25% of which are refugees, and eighty members of the local community received short-term employment. This Solid Waste Management Programme also includes a composting plant in Mafraq, and transfer and sorting centres in Irbid.
Delegates from the Jordan Study Programme were impressed by the positive economic impact of this project on women. Solid waste management is not a traditional sector for women, but in Mafraq, 16 women are packaging compost and are increasing awareness of potential job opportunities for women that will positively impact their community. Beneficiaries reported increased self-confidence and decreased tension between host country nationals and refugees in Mafraq.
Delegates from the UN Forum visited Ma’an Governorate, one of the southern governorates in Jordan. They toured the Future Association for Education and Development, one of the 50 MATEEN Community-based Organizations (CBO) that UNDP has previously supported through the Community Cohesion Grant Mechanism to enhance social cohesion in the Kingdom. The delegates learned about the community-based project, which encourages youth to express their emotions towards various issues and challenges in their communities.
The project had a positive impact on the lives of 350 participants, 55 per cent were women.
Following the introduction, a Q&A session was held between the delegates and CBO staff and beneficiaries. Discussion topics covered the process of the project, timeframe, focus areas, sustainability, and impact. A short presentation was made by the beneficiaries and their parents, describing the lessons learned and the challenges they faced during the implementation. The visit was concluded with a lively discussion about the culture of Jordan, the developmental challenges that the local communities are still facing, as well as ideas about how the community can be further strengthened.
Established in 2004, the UN Forum is a network designed to deepen knowledge and discussion among a wide range of people in Japan interested in UN activities. This study programme, hosted by the UN Forum, is created by the participants themselves and is centred on themes including environment, human rights and refugees.