i. Climate change context
According to the World Bank Climate Change Portal, Jordan is a middle-income country with a population of about 10 million. The country occupies an area of approximately 88,700 km2 and is divided into 12 provinces. Around 80% of the country is unpopulated desert, where annual precipitation is less than 50 mm. Approximately 90% of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the northwestern quadrant, where rainfall is highest and water is most accessible.
The World Bank Climate Change Portal mentions that only 10% of Jordan’s land is considered suitable for agricultural production, predominantly in high-rainfall areas of the highlands and the Jordan Valley. Jordan’s land is arid and includes an extension of the Arabian desert. Water scarcity, desertification, and degradation of arable land are the most pronounced effects of climate change. As one of the four driest countries globally, Jordan’s water scarcity is also the most significant impediment to economic growth and development. The country has witnessed noticeable adverse impacts and is becoming the fourth water-poorest country in the world. Its drying climate, population increases through a succession of refugees (mainly Syrians and Palestinians), and disadvantaged downstream location on the Yarmouk–Jordan River system increase the vulnerability of the nation’s freshwater resources.
The Global Carbon Atlas indicates that Jordan’s emissions were around 2.5 t CO2 per person in 2020, placing it in the middle range of emitting countries. According to Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector (2016), Jordan’s energy sector was responsible for 73% of emissions.
Jordan signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, ratified it in 1993, and acceded to the Kyoto Protocol as a Non-Annex-I country in 2003. It signed the Paris Agreement on climate change in April 2016 and ratified it in November 2016, with entry into force in December 2016. Jordan accepted the Doha Amendment in January 2020.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Ministry of Environment is the national Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point. The Ministry is primarily responsible for overseeing the policy and legal frameworks that guide the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, including developing National Communications to the UNFCCC and the 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2021). The Ministry is responsible for coordinating climate change governance at the national level and managing its implementation. In its strategic vision and objectives, the Ministry include climate change as an integral strategic theme. The Ministry has five environmental sectors: climate change, environmental monitoring, hazardous substances and waste, nature conservation, and green economy.
The Ministry of Environment established the Climate Change Directorate in 2014. The 3rd National Communication (2014) notes that one mandate of the Directorate is “To create or supervise the establishment/ implementation of education, scientific, research, training and awareness programmes on climate change, consistent with Article 6 of the Convention, among various stakeholders and guiding public participation.” (p. 2019)
The Jordan National Committee on Climate Change, established in 2001, is the national platform for integration of multi-stakeholder dialogue and planning on climate change. It includes stakeholders directly associated with climate change sectors in Jordan, such as the Ministry of Environment, universities, institutions, and organizations. The Committee is headed by the Minister of Environment and is the national administrative body for the secretariat of the UNFCCC. The Committee establishes its specialized thematic legal and technical groups on a permanent or ad-hoc basis, according to the subject of the discussion theme.
The Ministry of Water and Irrigation monitors the water sector, water supply, and wastewater system and related projects. The Ministry evaluates planning and management and formulates national water strategies and policies, research and development, and information systems. In 2021, the Ministry launched a report on the water sector’s efforts to combat the effects of climate change, discussing the projects, campaigns, and partnerships implemented to tackle the climate change issue.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources aims to achieve a secure sustainable supply of energy and optimal utilization of natural resources. According to the Energy Sector Green National Action Plan 2021-2025, the Ministry works in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the Global Green Growth Institute, an international intergovernmental organization established in 2012 at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The Institute’s vision is a low-carbon, resilient world of strong, inclusive, and sustainable growth. Its mission is to support members in transforming their economies into a green growth economic model. The partnership identifies 12 priority actions to achieve green growth through the energy sector. The majority of these actions contribute to the objective of climate change adaptation and mitigation, which is considered a climate action priority.
The Ministry of Agriculture promotes efficient water use in irrigation and achieves high economic returns of irrigated agricultural products, preserving forest areas and biodiversity and protecting the vegetation cover. The Ministry runs the National Agricultural Research Center, which aims to achieve sustainable development by deploying agricultural research results to increase production, preserve natural resources, and maintain ecological balance. One of the Center’s projects noted in the annual report 2019 is Adapting Mediterranean Vegetable Crops to Climate Change-Induced Multiple Stress.
The Ministry of Health undertakes all health affairs in Jordan. The Ministry contributed to the Adaptation to Climate Change to Sustain Jordan Millennium Development Goals’ Achievements Program, which helps Jordan address key strategic issues through achievements related to water and climate issues.
The Jordanian Meteorology Department, an independent department of the Ministry of Transport, monitors weather, issues early warnings of climate events to minimize loss of life and property, and contributes to sustainable development.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education is responsible for primary and secondary education in Jordan, and for vocational education.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research oversees higher education in Jordan. The Higher Education Council and the Higher Education Accreditation Commission are sub-bodies of the Ministry.
The Educational and Environmental Curricula Division at the Ministry of Environment‘s Communication and Environmental Awareness Directorate works jointly with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to form a database of the environmental content in the current academic curricula of Jordanian schools and universities. Their goal is to identify the best means and tools required to develop environmental education and create generations who are aware of the importance of maintaining the environment. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research assumes responsibility for public and private higher education institutions, while the Council of Higher Education sets policies, approves establishment of institutions of higher education, supervises private universities, distributes government subsidies and additional fees to public universities, and formulates the principles for students’ admission.
According to the updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2021), the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is also aware of the impacts of climate change. The Ministry has initiated a green growth plan for the tourism sector focused on resource efficiency and sustainability, which could be strengthened by integrating a climate change response strategy.
The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1993 by a group of concerned Jordanian ecological divers, headed by Her Royal Highness Princess Basma bint Ali. The Society aims to contribute to climate change mitigation through the conservative and sustainable use of the marine environment in Jordan.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
As the national Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point, the Jordanian Ministry of Environment operates under the mandate of the Environment Protection Law (law no. 52 of 2006) which is Jordan’s most important tool for environmental protection. Until late 2014 the Law contained no clear reference to climate change. The revised Environment Protection Law (2017) aims to protect the environment while emphasizing the role of the Ministry in environmental protection, developing policies, preparing plans and programs, working on forecasting climate change, identifying the involved sectors, following the implementation of international environmental agreements, and protecting biodiversity.
The Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Law (no. 13 of 2012) from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources aims to encourage renewable energy conservation. Article 3(b) refers indirectly to climate change through contributing to environmental protection and achieving sustainable development. However, the Law does not mention climate change.
The Climate Change Bylaw n.79 (2019) aims to implement Article 30 of the Environment Protection Law (2017). The Bylaw sets the roles and responsibilities of Jordan’s National Committee on Climate Change and its structure, along with the roles and responsibilities of ministries in the national context of climate change. The Climate Change Bylaw n.79 (2019) highlights in its Article 7(d) that the Ministry of Education will include the concepts of climate change in curricula and training programs for teachers.
Water for Life Jordan’s Water Strategy 2008–2022 (2009) is a sectoral water strategy (public and private) that was applicable at the national level from 2008 to 2022. Jordan’s vision was to fulfill certain objectives by 2022, including drought management and adaptation to climate change, through appropriate policies and regulations.
The National Climate Change Policy of the Hachemite Kingdom of Jordan (2013–2020) was the first national policy on climate change by the Ministry of Environment. It was formulated to accommodate all national climate change priorities for action, to achieve a proactive and climate risk-resilient Jordan, and to retain a low-carbon but growing economy “with healthy, sustainable, and resilient communities, sustainable water and agricultural resources, and productive ecosystems in the path towards sustainable development” (p. 8). The Policy emphasizes the important roles of education, raising awareness, and capacity building to address the effects of climate change.
Jordan 2025, A National Vision and Strategy (2015; also called Vision 2025) was launched in 2015 under the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. The Vision charts a path for the future and determines the integrated economic and social framework that will govern economic and social policies. These policies are to provide opportunities for all in a dialogue-based participatory system with all stakeholders, including the private and public sectors, civil society organizations, and parliament. Climate change is stated clearly under the Environment Sector as a priority to develop a legislative framework for climate change organizations to maximize the benefits, minimize the negative impacts, and build national capacity. However, no specific key performance indicators under the environment sector target climate change communication and education.
The Aligned National Action Plan to Combat Desertification 2015-2020 (2015) developed by the Ministry of Environment is a national roadmap to influence key stakeholders to address desertification, land degradation, and drought through effective advocacy, awareness, and education.
The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020 (2015), developed by the Ministry of Environment, addresses the direct and indirect causes of biodiversity loss, focusing on the issues of governance as the backbone of successful Action Plan implementation. The Action Plan stresses “implementing a national outreach, education and awareness raising program on wildlife protection and sustainable hunting/collection” (p. 69).
The Climate Change Policy for a Resilient Water Sector (2016), developed by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, sets clearly defined rules to manage the scarce water resources in Jordan efficiently and sustainably. However, the Policy does not mention climate change communication and education.
A National Green Growth Plan for Jordan (2017), developed by the Ministry of Environment, aims to build a national green growth strategy based on five interlinking outcomes, including greenhouse gas emission reductions and avoidance. The Plan highlights the importance of sustainable, green growth to contribute to global and national efforts to mitigate climate change.
The Agriculture Development National Strategy 2020-2025 (2020) by the Ministry of Agriculture aims to increase the agricultural gross domestic product as a share of total gross domestic product, from US$ 3.8 billion (JOD 2.6 billion) now to US$ 5.1 billion (JD 3.66 billion) by 2025. The Strategy also aims to boost the added value of agriculture to US$ 3.5 billion (JOD 2.48 billion) from US$ 2.2 billion (JOD 1.6 billion). The Strategy focuses on mitigating the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and land degradation.
The Ministry of Environment Strategic Plan 2020-2022 (2020) is a reference point to steer green growth projects and integrate green policies and investments, to achieve a quality leap in sustainable production and consumption patterns. The Strategy addresses climate change mitigation and adaptation through executive mechanisms, including financial tools and technology transfer.
The National Climate Change Policy Adaptation Plan (2021) seeks to “mainstream climate change adaptation in the development planning processes to enhance climate resilience and adaptive capacities and reduce climate vulnerability within all relevant sectors in Jordan” (p. 5).
According to the 2nd Biennial Update Report (2020), Jordan is rapidly and effectively enhancing its relevant institutional and policy framework for addressing climate change challenges in all related sectors, including agriculture, energy, and transport.
The updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) developed by the Ministry of Environment discusses driving Jordan’s post-COVID-19 recovery process into a lower-carbon and more climate-resilient development pathway steered by national green growth priorities. This would take place with full commitment to the provisions of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement and would paving the way for a future climate change long-term strategy.
Education and communication
The National Education Strategy (2006) by the Ministry of Education guides the operations and implementation of annual development activities. Among the Strategy’s key principles is the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all Jordanians that will enable them to keep up with rapid change in the challenges of citizenship and the structure of the economy. However, the Strategy does not refer to climate change communication and education, sustainable development, or environmental education.
The Jordan Poverty Reduction Strategy (2013) aims to both contain and reduce poverty. Among the overall goals of the Strategy is “to alleviate the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation upon the members of poor and vulnerable households” (p. 9).
The Education Reform for Knowledge Economy Phase 2 (2013) developed by the Ministry of Education is a multi-donor sector program designed to build on the achievements of the first phase, which ran from 2003–2009. The Reform is based on five key components: establishing a national school-based development system, monitoring and evaluation, developing teaching and learning, improving access to inclusive learning through a special focus on early childhood education, and improving physical learning environments. However, the Reform does not include any reference to climate change communication and education.
The Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 (2018) is Jordan’s national education sector plan. The Plan’s mission is to reach human resources development objectives that will enable Jordan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, reflected in the development of social, economic, and environmental levels. The Plan also calls for school curriculum revision by 2022 to include local and global concepts such as human rights, social development, gender equality, and sustainable development. However, the Plan does not reference climate change communication and education.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
Many Jordanian documents specific to climate change refer to climate change communication and education in terms of ‘environmental protection,’ ‘energy conservation,’ ‘sustainable development,’ and ‘water resilience.’ For example, the National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2013-2020 (2013) mentions Jordan can contribute to environmental protection and achieve sustainable development through renewable energy and improve its efficiency in various sectors.
The National Climate Change Policy Adaptation Plan (2021) does use specific terms for climate change responses, such as ‘adaptation’ and ‘mitigation.’ For example, the Plan aims to support research and capacity building programs in climate adaptation through funding research activities at universities and academic institutions. The Plan further proposes to reorganize climate financing in Jordan by creating strong intersectoral coordination between government agencies.
The Environment Protection Law (2017) makes ‘environmental protection’ a key element. The Law asserts that setting general policy for environmental protection, preparing and developing the necessary plans and programs, and following up implementation are essential for sustainable development.
References to climate change communication and education are absent in education-specific materials, like the National Education Strategy (2006), the Education Reform for Knowledge Economy Phase 2 (2013), and the Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 (2018). However, terms such as ‘environment,’ ‘sustainable development,’ and ‘nature preservation’ are used in Science and Social Science subjects.
The Climate Change Policy for a Resilient Water Sector (2016) includes the term ‘water resilience’ to refer to future pressures on Jordan’s water supply. In the Policy, water resilience requires making use of a range of solutions including integrated water resource management and education and training of farmers.
Jordan’s 3rd National Communication (2014) refers to climate change communication and education in terms of ‘capacity building,’ ‘enhancing awareness,’ and ‘sustainable development.’ For example, the document refers to “supporting the mainstreaming of climate change education, awareness and capacity building in all relevant developmental sectors” (p. 26).
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
According to the World Bank, Jordan’s public expenditure on education was 9.9% of its gross domestic product in 2019. However, there is no publicly available information on the specific national budget allocation for climate change communication and education.
The Jordan Environment Fund was established in 2009 under the Environment Protection Law (2006) of the Ministry of Environment, to help Jordan advance its national goals for environmental protection and sustainable development. The Fund is governed by its Bylaw (No. 18 for the year 2018) through its Board of Directors, which comprises representatives from the public and private sectors. The Chairman of the Board is the Minister of Environment. Fund activities include supporting activities that contribute to environmental protection and conservation, developing environmentally friendly practices, supporting initiatives that promote resource efficiency, and contributing to sustainable development. The Fund is an implementation arm for the Ministry of Environment and the Government of Jordan in enabling key environmental strategies and plans, including the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and the National Green Growth Plan (2017).
In 2021, Jordan received a US$ 25 million grant from the Green Climate Fund to support Jordan’s objectives in climate change policy (2013–2020) by building the adaptive capacity of communities and institutions and by increasing the efficiency of water management systems. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will implement the 7-year project in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and relevant Ministries, public and private institutions, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. The Government of Jordan will contribute US$ 6.1 million in co-financing to the project, while FAO and UNDP will contribute US$ 1 million and US$ 1.06 million, respectively.
According to the 2nd Biennial Update Report (2020), Jordan received support from international donors to fulfill its national climate change commitments. For example, the total budget to implement the project titled Awareness Raising on Solid Waste Management Practices for the 2020 timeframe was US$ 572,457.50.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
The Ministry of Education is responsible for school education in Jordan. The Climate Change Bylaw n.79 (2019) requires that the Ministry of Education include climate change concepts in the curriculum and training programs for education staff.
The National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2013-2020 (2013) highlights the importance of designing and preparing focused climate change education programs and curricula on all levels of education to address climate change challenges and opportunities in Jordan, in a wider context of green growth.
The Ministry of Environment Strategic Plan 2020-2022 (2020) aims to provide environmental education for sustainable development. The Ministry strives to achieve this by putting environmental issues, including climate change, into the focus of formal and non-formal education.
The Adolescents and Youth for Climate UNICEF Jordan Country Office (n.d) recognizes the importance of climate change in Jordan and suggests promoting climate literacy by extending environment action clubs in schools, Makani centers, and Ministry of Youth centers in all governorates in Jordan.
Cultivation of youth climate leaders through capacity development workshops, covering technical and scientific background of climate change, climate policy on national and global levels, the role of gender equity in climate action, climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, and the design of environmental initiatives and their integrated management. (p. 2).
Similarly, the National Climate Change Policy Adaptation Plan (2021) calls for integrating climate change impacts and adaptation into education through “developing an enhanced, unified, common entry level education curriculum that includes new themes on climate change and environment” (p. 43). However, the Plan gives little detail on how to proceed.
Climate change-related issues are included in Jordan’s formal education systems through multiple topics and activities. For example, the Social and National Education textbook for Grade 4 has units that deal with preserving natural resources, specifically water. The Arabic Language textbook (2018) for Grade 5 encourages environmental responsibility and protection of the school area through water and energy management, food, and garbage recycling. The textbook includes a reading and comprehension text on climate change under the title of Save Earth (p. 96–97). The Geography textbook (2018) for Grade 6 includes a unit about climate, weather patterns, and meteorological variables. The Earth and Environmental Science textbook (2018) for Grade 11 looks more explicitly at the issue of water scarcity in Jordan. The Science Education textbook (2017) for Grade 8 tackles the importance of protecting the food chain to maintain an ecological balance. The learning dimension most prevalent in the subject textbooks is cognitive, based on knowledge sharing and memorization. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
Beyond the curriculum, the Directorates of Education provide school students across Jordan opportunities to engage in environmental learning through extracurricular activities. For example, in the Liwae Bani Oubaid Directorate of Education, the Edon mixed school organized a competition in 2017 under the title of Protecting the Environment. Students were encouraged to make drawings and write essays about environmental challenges. Some drawings picture emissions and polluted water and waste gathering. Students benefited from practical sessions on preservation strategies. Students also participated in cleaning their schoolyards and planting vegetation.
The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan, in partnership with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Education, initiated a project in 2015 entitled Young Climate Leaders; Autumn School. This project aimed to educate students about climate change, enable them to understand and interpret information related to climate change and its consequences in Jordan, and develop visual solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. Activities included comprehensive training workshops by experts in climate change, offered to students from 11 Eco-Schools in Amman. Training included interactive games to deliver a clear message, knowledge, and links with the theoretical materials provided.
The Eco-Schools program designed by the Foundation for Environmental Education was initiated in Amman and Aqaba in 2009, with 15 candidate schools awarded this designation for the first time at the end of the 2009/2010 school year. The program aims to help students lead environmental change toward sustainability through engagement in environmental activities at the school and community levels. Today, the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan, as the national operator, is working with more than 200 schools from Amman and Aqaba. Recently, the program was expanded to include new areas in Jordan’s northern regions, such as Irbid, Mafraq, Ramtha, and North Shouna, and the Disi in the southern region of Jordan. The program’s themes are water, energy, waste, biodiversity, global citizenship, and well-being. However, climate change themes are not specifically included.
Jordan’s 3rd National Communication (2014) states that school curricula include environmental concepts in general and climate change issues in certain grades. The Communication also stresses the need to re-evaluate curricula to improve students’ education on climate change issues. In particular it identifies the following recommendations for education:
Start systematically integrating climate change aspects, emphasizing on provisions of this policy into different grade levels of schools and other relevant components of the academic framework; re-evaluate the curricula aiming at better educating and raising awareness of the students on climate change issues with emphasis on special departments teaching environmental sciences and management and issues related to climate change; mainstream a comprehensive and progressive climate change science and updated information into existing curricula starting with elementary schools up through secondary schools and universities. (p. 224)
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020 (2015) calls for designing and implementing a series of specialized Training of Trainers programs for academic lecturers in biodiversity.
The Queen Rania Teacher Academy, established in 2009, is a non-profit organization that aims to support and empower educators with the skills to become creative and diligent professionals who are well-equipped to nurture and lead future generations. The Academy offers innovative and evidence-based professional development programs. The Academy provides the Environment Education Program, which focuses on helping teachers introduce environmental themes into their lessons and practical activities for their schools. These activities address environmental challenges such as saving water and electricity, reducing littering, and providing school gardens, but activities do not explicitly address climate change.
The Princess Alia Foundation is a registered non-profit, non-governmental organization under the Ministry of Social Development in Jordan. Among Foundation projects was the Sustainable education through renewable energy in governorates affected by the Syrian crisis (2017–2019). This project aimed to contribute to overall efforts to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis in line with the Jordan Response Plan focusing on the Northern governorates (Mafraq, Ramtha, Irbid, North of Balqa’a). The project aimed to train 200 teachers on climate change and related topics, as well as on the importance of social cohesion and community between Syrian and Jordanian students through team building activities. The trained teachers would transfer this knowledge to weekly extracurricular classes.
The Energy Smart Mediterranean Schools Network project is part of the ENI CBC Med Program. The Network focuses on optimizing energy consumption in public schools through innovative, monitoring-based renewable energy and energy efficiency pilot actions. Within the Network’s objectives of increasing awareness and improving energy habits through engaging students and teachers in sustainable energy practices, it conducted the first online and in-person training sessions on energy in 2021 in Jordan. The training used energy teams, each including a headteacher, two teachers, and ten primary level students from five public Jordanian schools, distributed in four different climatic zones: coastal, inland, western mid-mountain, and high mountains.
Jordan’s 3rd National Communication (2014) states that efforts should be made to “develop tools and methodologies to support climate change training and skills development through collaborative efforts and provide training programs for groups with a key role in climate change communication and education, including teachers” (p. 224).
iii. Climate change in higher education
The National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2013-2020 (2013) states that one main priority and measures in climate change education is to reflect the need for climate change adaptation professionals in the curricula of higher education and to mainstream comprehensive and progressive climate change science and information into existing university courses.
The Aligned National Action Plan to Combat Desertification 2015-2020 (2015) calls for orienting higher education curricula to address desertification, land degradation, and drought-related issues at national universities to improve the knowledge of graduates.
The University of Petra works on campus greening, where environmentally friendly practices and education combine to promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices on the campus. The green campus concept offers the opportunity to redefine environmental culture and develop new models by creating sustainable solutions to the environmental, social, and economic needs of humankind. Green Campus status is achieved by making significant progress in cross-campus community collaboration. The University of Petra organized a symposium in 2019 entitled Climate Change Adaptation Strategies, with focus on Jordan. This event aimed to promote interactions, motivate discussions, and encourage collaborations among the global community on adaptation strategies to buffer climate change threats. The University of Petra is committed to protecting the environment through implementation of an effective waste management program that includes recycling, a crucial waste management activity that helps conserve resources and land spaces and reduces waste disposal costs.
Al Ahliyya Amman University takes a leading role on climate change. In 2020, the University pledged its support to a call for universities to declare a climate emergency, reaffirming its position as a global leader in sustainability action and research. As part of that commitment, the University agreed to adopt a target of net-zero emissions by 2030. It will continue efforts to increase recycling rates across its campus, reduce water use in its facilities, reduce energy use, and cut CO2 emissions. The University will also look to expand its expertise in climate change research, which has influenced government policies across fields in both Jordan and abroad.
The minor course of study on Climate Change and Sustainability Policy at the University of Jordan is an interdisciplinary program for undergraduate students funded by the European Commission Tempus under coordination of the UNESCO Chair for Information and Communications Technology in Education for Sustainable Development and the University of Crete, Greece. The Climate Change and Sustainability Policy minor consists of core courses, elective courses, and a required capstone course in three concentration areas: 1) Climate Change, Environment, and Society; 2) Climate Change, Economics, and Public Policy; and 3) Climate Change, Science, and Technology. In 2019, the Water, Environment and Energy research center at the University of Jordan organized a 3-day workshop entitled Climate change and ways to limit its effects. More than 50 experts, academics, and specialists in environmental affairs and climate change from local, regional, and global universities and research centers participated.
The EGREEN 3-year project, begun in 2016 and co-financed by Erasmus+, aimed to ensure that universities in Syria and Jordan offer quality education. It supported development of online modules delivered on the Moodle learning platform. Twelve EGREEN modules were developed and implemented in six Jordanian and three Syrian universities. EGREEN modules allowed environmental engineering students to deepen their knowledge on climate change, preparing to face their future professional challenges.
The updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) recognizes the need to improve scientific research capacities for observation of ecosystem changes, habitats, and species vulnerability due to climate change, while generating field data as supportive evidence.
Jordan’s 3rd National Communication (2014) calls for “increasing support for scientific research in climate change issues and enhancing the role of researchers and scientists in the climate change policy making process” (p. 27).
For education, awareness, and research, the 3rd National Communication (2014) notes that climate change policy in 2013 proposed to strengthen the Jordan research portfolio on climate change and promote policy-supporting research to bridge the gap between research and policy makers, resulting in informed and scientifically justified resolutions by policy makers.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
The Ministry of Environment runs several projects, including Adaptation to Climate Change to Sustain Jordan Millennium Development Goals’ Achievements, funded under the Millennium Development Goal’s Environment and Climate Change thematic window and aligned with the priority area of Enhancing Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change. This joint program addresses Jordan’s long-term adaptation needs through, for example, sustained access to improved water supply sources despite increased water scarcity induced by climate change.
The National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2013-2020 (2013) calls for developing specific training and capacity building programs for the entities responsible for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
The Aligned National Action Plan to Combat Desertification 2015-2020 (2015) suggests designing and implementing training workshops and capacity building workshops for more sustainable ecosystem management. However, climate change communication and education are not mentioned.
A National Green Growth Plan for Jordan (2017) reports a need for capacity building in renewable technology and energy storage and for training on renewable energy technology feasibility studies and installation. However, no further explanation on strategies of action is given.
The ClimaSouth project (2013–2015) supported climate change mitigation and adaptation in nine South Mediterranean countries, including Jordan. The project was implemented over 48 months with a total budget of around US$ 5 million, provided by the European Union. Among the project activities was organization of a 2014 seminar in Amman with the Ministry of Environment on general climate change capacity building. The seminar tackled climate change mitigation and adaptation tools in Jordan.
Eco-Peace Middle East is a project-based non-governmental organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Among the organization’s projects is climate change. Eco-Peace’s current projects include Youth Education, which uses transboundary water problems as a meeting platform to create positive interaction among youth of the region.
Jordan Eco-Park (previously known as Sharhabil bin Hassneh) is managed by Eco-Peace Middle East. This Eco-Park is considered a leading model for preserving ecologically important habitats In Jordan. It was established with several ambitious goals, including protecting the Jordan River Valley and spreading awareness of the environment. Workshops at the Eco-Park educate guests about the civil issues of creating a sustainable relationship with the environment. These workshops teach about composting, geodome building, ecological gardening, wetland preservation, and gray water use, among other topics. However, climate change is not explicitly mentioned.
Generations For Peace and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jordan co-hosted the first Local Conference of Youth in 2021 in Jordan. More than 100 young people engaged with climate experts, giving voice to youth perspectives on the climate emergency and opportunities for climate action. Conference themes included climate change and social issues; climate education to increase awareness; sustainable lifestyles, technology, and environment; health and climate change; water management and sustainable cities; climate policy and advocacy; and youth climate initiatives and policy advocacy.
In 2017, the Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation project organized Water Utilities in Jordan Address Climate Change training for 16 young professionals. The training workshop, hosted by the Water, Energy, and Environment Center at the University of Jordan in Amman, aimed to strengthen capacity building and support application of technical tools in climate change mitigation and carbon footprint reduction in water and wastewater utilities. Also discussed were linking water and climate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the water sector and how utilities access climate finance.
The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan implemented a project titled Confronting the Plastic Pollution Problem in Aqba and Advancing the Status of Environmental Journalism- Phase I in 2020. The project delivered capacity building efforts with journalists and journalism university students on environmental rights and solid waste management to tackle climate change.
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and the Ministry of Environment organized a 2021 national dialogue session on environmental policies in the power sector and the insulation of electrical networks. The session was attended by Environment Minister Nabil Masarweh, Royal Society President Khaled Irani and Director General Yahya Khaled, Regional Director of BirdLife International Ibrahim Khader, and power sector and media representatives. The session shed light on global best practices in electrical insulation to protect migratory birds. It included discussion on developing the environmental policies of the energy sector and concentrating efforts on formulating a national plan to insulate electrical infrastructure that has a serious risk of bird electrocution.
According to Al Ghad News, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, organized a 2-day workshop on global environmental advocacy in Jordan in 2016. The workshop aimed to give participants the required knowledge and skills to advocate for the environment in Jordan. The workshop followed a participatory process that brought together representatives of government, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to explore ways to gain support for all environment-related issues.
According to the updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2021), Jordan is shifting toward a more sustainable solid waste management system. Vocational training of solid waste workers needs improvement, with a focus on introducing key performance indicators for waste collection systems and workers at the municipality level.
Jordan’s 3rd National Communication (2014) calls for “conducting an intensive training program on the development of a greenhouse gas inventory system, including detailed use of [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] guidelines” (p. 27). The Communication reports that “building the capacity of conservation professionals to deal with climate change challenge must be a priority in Jordan, and training programs must be directed towards high-level decision makers, as well as for technical professionals” (p. 168). The Communication states that curricula of vocational training and higher education must reflect the needs for climate change adaptation professionals, as well as professionals in the public and economic sectors necessary for green growth.
i. Climate change and public awareness
Policies such as the National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2013-2020 (2013), the Climate Change Policy for a Resilient Water Sector report (2016), A National Green Growth Plan for Jordan (2017), Water for Life Jordan’s Water Strategy 2008–2022 (2009), and the Ministry of Environment Strategic Plan 2020-2022 strongly emphasize raising awareness and mobilizing stakeholders and students on climate change issues. However, information on what this would entail is not given.
According to an Assabeel News article entitled A call to eradicate environmental illiteracy and include an environmental curriculum in schools (2017), environmental experts and specialists see the need to spread awareness on climate change and to include education topics related to the environment in school curricula. Through this, students can understand what is happening in the world and their surroundings in terms of environmental and climatic factors and changes.
According to the Deutsche Welle Akademie, a conference in Amman in 2016 brought together journalists, political entities, and scientists to discuss Jordan’s media coverage of environmental issues. Their goal was to raise public awareness about the impact of climate change.
The Royal Marine Conservation Society initiated the project Environmental Knowledge Center and the Shell Museum in 2018. Two centers were established at the Marine Park in the southern part of Aqaba to raise awareness and understanding of the marine environment. The aim is also to demonstrate solutions through interactive tools that engage visitors of all ages in understanding the biological component. The Society has run further educational and awareness projects and programs, such as the Together for a Greener Environment (2012) project to promote eco-friendly behaviors by developing an eco-school initiative in Aqaba’s schools. The Proposal Writing Skills for Environmental NGOs in Jordan (2019) project aims to raise the capacity and knowledge of environmental non-governmental organizations in Jordan in proposal writing skills, which address the Green Environment Fund’s focal areas and related environmental conventions. The Out to Sea: Plastic Garbage (2015) project aims to create awareness that plastic garbage has a negative effect on the marine ecological, social, and economic aspects of the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature is implementing a project titled Integrated Water Conservation and Management in Yarmouk Forest Reserve, funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (2018–2021). The project’s overall goal is to apply an integrated approach to managing water natural resources in Yarmouk Forest Reserve, to assure long-term conservation and sustainable use of the natural water system in the area. The project also aims to increase awareness and understanding of water conservation values and empower local community groups to participate effectively in conserving natural water resources.
The Jordanian Climate Change and Environmental Protection Society was established in 2015 as a civil society organization governed by Jordan’s Law on Societies (no. 51 of 2008), under the Ministry of Environment. Society activities include awareness lectures and workshops (such as the climate change and use of alternative energy awareness workshop) to restrict harmful practices for the environment, working with local communities and other civil society organizations to adjust regulations for better environmental protection, and collaborating with a wide range of environmental experts for advice and support.
In a future where climate change will amplify the expected scarcity of water resources in Jordan, the updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) focuses on increasing community awareness, behavioral change, adoption of water conservation measures, energy efficiency, and energy- and water-saving devices to achieve sustainable development. The Contribution calls for investing in youth as future decision makers and key stakeholders contributing to adaptation to climate change, through awareness and empowerment tools.
Jordan’s 3rd National Communication (2014) suggests conducting awareness campaigns for communities, individuals, and institutions to raise awareness of climate-related risks to their environment and livelihoods and to offer possible adaptation responses. This could be achieved through effective communication from scientists, experts, and civil society organizations, including concepts in the curricula of schools and universities.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
The Environment Protection Law (2017) reports that “public official institutions and public institutions with environmental information shall do what is necessary for maintaining it [environmental information] and providing the Ministry with it” (p. 4).
The National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2013-2020 (2013) suggests that “the measurement and reporting of GHG emissions and the reporting of climate change actions in Jordan are important to provide policymakers with the information for mitigation policy” (p. 17). To further increase knowledge and insight about climate change impacts on water supply, the Policy promotes making existing climate information, knowledge, and tools available to support adaptation decisions and actions by “mainstream[ing] comprehensive and progressive climate change science and information into existing curricula starting with elementary schools up through secondary schools to universities” (p. 42).
According to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020 (2015),
By 2017, a centralized national environment information system (JEIS) is established and operational where national initiatives on biodiversity information systems will be harmonized and integrated; state of national biodiversity report (GIS enabled) will be published; and series of scientific research protocols on biodiversity research will be developed and updated regularly. (p. 80).
Jordan’s 3rd National Communication (2014) stresses the importance of open access to relevant climate change information, specifically meteorological data. Among the actions suggested for climate change action is “development of a legal structure that adheres activity data producers to submit information to the Ministry of Environment” (p. 27). Other measures to disseminate widely relevant information on climate change include “translation into Arabic language and distribution of popularized versions of key documents on climate change, including national assessment reports and other reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (p. 224).
The updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) emphasizes the importance of developing new methods and tools for preparing for, coping with, and recovering from outbreaks of climate-sensitive diseases, such as early warning systems based on environmental information.
iii. Climate change and public participation
The National Climate Change Policy Adaptation Plan (2021) “encourages wider participation and involvement in adaptation measures to strengthen the resilience of Jordan to climate change” (p. 57).
According to the National Climate Change Policy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2013-2020 (2013), the Ministry of Environment and the National Committee on Climate Change should “secure the required platform and network for active stakeholder participation in all aspects of sustainable development activities” (p. 39).
The Green Generation Foundation, with Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Ministry of Environment, implemented the Youth Engagement in Jordan’s National Climate Policy Project in 2017. This Project aims to prepare a generation of young Jordanians with a conscious commitment to environmental issues. The Project focuses on building the skills and capacities of young leaders in debates, research, and leadership on contemporary environmental issues to be future climate negotiators representing Jordan. The Foundation implemented the Climate March 2016, which extended from Amman to Aqaba, to highlight the role of Jordanian youth in creating an environmentally safe future by influencing local policies and gaining environmental support in societies.
The updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2020) reports that “there is a strategic need for enhancing institutional and coordination conditions to improve community participation in the identification and addressing climate change impacts at community level in urban areas” (p. 47). The Submission proposes “mandating urban municipalities to lead community-based initiatives for responding to climate risks through institutional restructuring and capacity development” (p. 47).
i. Country monitoring
Monitoring of climate change communication and education had not been assigned to any specific ministry or agency in Jordan at the time of this review. The updated submission of Jordan’s 1st Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) mentions a great need to conduct research studies and monitoring programs on climate change impacts and environmental indicators. The Submission reports that Jordan developed a multi-tiered integrated monitoring, reporting, and verification system that covers public sector renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The system is a database for greenhouse gas emissions at project, ministry, sectoral, and national levels. However, it currently covers only renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. It was planned to be fully functional with a registry of climate mitigation measures by the end of 2020, covering transport and waste sectors and the energy sector. This is not yet complete because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Statistics, established in 1949, is the only central statistical agency authorized to perform statistical operations at the national level. The Department has an Environmental Statistics Department to collect environmental data from official sources and to coordinate and classify, analyze, and disseminate to create comprehensive national environmental information. The Environmental Statistics Department implements specialized environmental surveys to provide data and field statistics related to energy, water, waste, and environmental expenditures under International and regional methodologies. It makes recommendations to serve planners, workers, researchers, and those concerned with the environment. The Environmental Statistics Department publishes environmental reports annually. However, climate change is only infrequently referenced in the reports. For example, the Environment Statistics Report 2014-2015 only refers to the international climate change conventions that Jordan has signed.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 Global Competence Framework developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a triennial survey of 15-year-old students. The Jordan assessment of student awareness under the topic of Global Issues, which includes climate change, showed that Jordanian students had less knowledge than their peers from other countries.
Jordan’s Sustainable Development Report (2021) aims to monitor progress in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Overall climate change performance in Jordan indicates that significant challenges remain from CO2 emissions in fossil fuel combustion and cement production.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined Jordan’s education sector plan, the Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 (2018), and the national curriculum framework, the National Education Strategy (2006). Neither document explicitly references climate change, environment, sustainability, or biodiversity.
The Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 (2018) references climate change once, environment once, and sustainability 5 times.
The National Education Strategy (2006) reference sustainability once. Neither document explicitly references biodiversity.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.