Aqaba Jordan resilience to climate change

01-07-2023 10:51 PM
Eman Safouri

The Gulf of Aqaba is a unique environment that includes a wide range of habitats and outstanding marine biodiversity. The Gulf of Aqaba, south of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is the northeastern branch of the Red Sea, and the city of Aqaba is located on the Red Sea coast and has various tourist ports.

The marine environment of Aqaba includes picturesque marine and plant creatures and rare coral reefs, which provide the pleasure of exploring in the depths of the sea, in addition to the many marine activities that the city provides to its visitors.

Climate change is already beginning to affect the Gulf of Aqaba by increasing seawater temperatures, which in turn affect marine organisms and their life cycles. In addition, climate change contributes to rising sea levels, which pose a risk of flooding in coastal areas and can lead to the loss of important habitats such as coral reefs, which are among the most pressing concerns for the Gulf of Aqaba. The climate crisis is a natural disaster as a result of greenhouse gas emissions that have led to a rise in the Earth's temperature.

There is a growing influence and recognition of the need to protect the marine environment from the harmful effects of climate change, and after the international response, Jordan ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1993 and the Kyoto Protocol emanating from it in 2003, in addition to the efforts made by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan through the local authorities and the legislation that has been in place and applied so far in this aspect.

Based on the results of the national vulnerability assessment presented and submitted to the Framework Convention on Climate Change Committee, it is believed that the Aqaba Gulf will be able to withstand the effects of climate change for as long as possible due to its resilient nature, although the effects of climate change are still Not very clear in the Gulf of Aqaba.

A study published by the British newspaper "The Independent" indicates that the repercussions of climate change on the marine environment and coral reefs, in particular, may affect the drawing of international maritime borders. whereas coral reefs represent the basic building block of the marine ecosystem, and climate changes will affect its provisions and reefs in the International Law of the Sea. But the researchers discovered that some corals in the Gulf of Aqaba could withstand extreme temperatures and, over time, transmit their acquired thermal resilience.

The Red Sea contains the warmest waters in the world, which is a very important aspect in light of the rising ocean temperature. Also, by identifying coral reefs that can naturally live in warmer environments, researchers are working to accelerate the genetic exchange that usually occurs over thousands of years, enabling It gives coral reefs a chance to keep up with the rapidly changing climate. And through the Red Sea Project, a pioneering project that was launched by researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in 2021, it anchors an entirely new concept: the use of floating coral nurseries to create stocks of seeds in the wild. Taking into consideration that climate change is affecting coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and shifts in the distribution of marine species.

The royal concern in this respect expressed at the opening session of the seventy-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly was directed by King Abdullah II to launch an appeal to all countries of the world for joint action to confront the challenges and crises they face, especially climate change and its effects.

In this respect, and under the patronage of HRH Prince El-Hassan bin Talal and in cooperation with National bodies and universities, The First International Conference On The Red Sea Ecosphere: Conservation And Management of the Red Sea Marine Environment 2022 was held with the support of the United Nations Development Program and several national companies to introduce the biodiversity of the Red Sea and its environment, exchange information, experiences and studies between universities and research centers, establish a joint database among the Red Sea countries, focus on the role of experts interested in science, technology, innovation, management and others, and coordinate efforts and regional cooperation among coastal states, in which this conference is held periodically every two years.

Jordan prepared early for the threats and opportunities resulting from climate change, and this was crystallized internationally through the ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention on the Law of the Sea to encourage scientific and technical assistance in order to protect the marine environment, among other agreements. This was accompanied by the enactment of many laws and legislations that were followed by many commitments and actual efforts on the ground. And for the Royal Society for the Protection of the Marine Environment, the Management of Marine Areas, the Marine Science Station at the University of Jordan, Yarmouk University, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, and the Ministry of Environment in cooperation and coordination with the relevant authorities they assume the tasks and powers in the interest  and development in this aspect.

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