Deal signed to achieve land degradation neutrality in northern Jordan

[29-01-2023 03:00 PM]

Ammon News - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) signed an operational partnership agreement to implement a project aimed at achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets in northern Jordan.

LDN is an approach that takes measures to save lands and sustainably manage them to restore degraded land. An RSS statement released Sunday said the project also helps plan sustainable uses of different lands and preserve the resources of productive lands, increasing their areas and improving their productivity to keep pace with the growing demand for food in line with the national sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The agreement was signed by the RSS Vice President Rafat Assi and Nabil Assaf, FAO Representative in Jordan. A spokesman of the RSS said the project, funded as a grant from FAO's Global Environment Facility (GEF), will be implemented by the RSS and FAO in consultation with the ministries of planning, agriculture, and environment to support national efforts to neutralize degraded lands through forest management and rehabilitation and improving the productivity of pastures and barren lands in the northern governorates as a first stage.

The project also aims to make agroforestry more productive and sustainable, in addition to improving the provision of goods and services obtained from agroforestry.

The RSS stated that the project seeks to implement interventions aimed at adapting to climate change, confronting environmental degradation, and developing policies, strategies, and setting investment programs to support sustainable agriculture and forestry and sustainable farming techniques.

The project will be carried out in four phases. The first phase will focus on identifying indicators of land degradation neutrality, while the second phase includes monitoring land use decisions that affect neutrality and estimating their potential cumulative effects.

In the third phase, initiatives will be implemented to achieve neutrality of land through some practical interventions that enhance the productivity of ecosystems in the targeted areas and reduce land degradation. These interventions entail water harvesting, planting forest trees, introducing sustainable farming techniques, and others. The project's fourth phase encompasses establishing a digital monitoring system to collect information and verify its validity, continuously identifying progress made in achieving LDN goals in Jordan.

"The project will follow a landscape approach in line with the vision of the Global Environment Facility to promote sustainable integrated landscapes and will work at the landscape level, hence integrating sectors, engaging stakeholders, and working at different levels to address the underlying causes of land degradation and challenges related to food security," said Assaf. He stated that the project will support the rationalization of land use in a way that addresses interdependence across multiple ecosystems, promote good governance to align policy directions at the national level, and encourage improvements in sustainable land management.

For his part, Assi said that the project will provide a range of opportunities and capacity-building programs for the beneficiaries of the project, as more than 12,000 beneficiaries will directly benefit from the project, starting from the agricultural communities that live in the different areas included in the project, to all stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental agencies.

He added that the project will provide opportunities for private sector participation, as private sector institutions will participate in stakeholder consultations related to policy development and capacity building.

The RSS is one of Jordan's largest applied research institutions seeking economic and social development through scientific research services, consultancy, and technical support services for local and regional institutions and companies. It undertakes specialized and accredited testing, research work, and consultations for the private and public sectors. It works in partnership with regional and international organizations via a large group of laboratories accredited locally and internationally.

The FAO, on the other hand, is a significant contributor to ‘Jordan Vision 2025’, providing support and activities in four main areas: long-term sustainable management of food, energy and water requirements (resource security), protection and empowerment for those in need through providing a decent life and good jobs for all Jordanians (employment), and promoting gender equality, social inclusion and, natural resource management.

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