Jordan, Mafarq - The United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP)  and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) launched a project which aims at scaling up innovation in water management for climate security in Northern project. The project was launched in Jerash, in the presence of the Governor of Jerash and representatives of government agencies, NGOs, the private sector and donors. The project will be implemented over two years with the aim of strengthening the management of water resources in the governorates of Jerash and Mafraq with a grant of $450,000 as part of the regional SDG Climate Facility  project: Climate Action for Human Security in the Arab States.

The project adopts an inclusive climate security approach which goes beyond climate adaptation solutions in addressing the impacts of climate change, and in meeting the needs of Syrian refuges, and their host communities. Moreover, it aims develop appropriate mechanisms to strengthen local capacities in creating innovative change to water management.

The project aims to develop entrepreneurial water security projects in the governorates of Jerash and Mafraq. It will capacitate innovative SMEs in the water sector to enhance an enabling local environment in the local market and contribute to the development of innovative solutions to realize water security. It will also contribute to achieving sustainable development through the creation of additional job opportunities for Syrian refugees and host communities in Mafraq and Jerash. The full engagement of women at the community level in the activities of the project will be ensured and can be replicated and scaled up for a longer-term sustainable development. 

In his welcoming remarks, HE Governor of Mafraq Mr. Yaser Al-Odwan stressed the importance of finding solutions to the political, economic and social challenges that are facing the Kingdom, mainly those related to climate and water, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, through support of innovative ideas that contribute to solving the water crisis the Kingdom, Mafraq governorate in particular, is suffering due to increasing demand by the Syrian refugees and host communities.

Governor Al-Odwan said that cooperation is key to achieve the objectives of the project and the best results in all sectors, the environment and society in particular. 

“Sweden is proud to support the implementation of the resilience pilot in a second Governorate in Jordan after its’ inception in Jerash in June. This pilot project shows that many of the Sustainable Development goals can be included in one project. For example, through this resilience grant we aim to tackle climate impact, gender equality, water conservation and sustainable economy. The project also links to a regional platform which includes similar pilots – all to be part of the Swedish funded SDG-Climate Facility with the aim to enhance regional cooperation around climate-oriented solutions. This approach is well needed, and supported by Sweden through our regional MENA-strategy, as many of the challenges of the region are transboundary. For example, oceans and fresh water sources are shared, climate change sees no borders and all countries feel the pressure of the present conflicts.” Her Excellency Alexandra Rydmark, Ambassador of Sweden to Jordan,

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Jordan Ms. Majida Al-Assaf said this project is aligned with the national strategies and environment protection and sustainable development plans and priorities and seeks to fulfill the needs of both host communities and refugees.

Ms. Al-Assaf added that UNDP supported several water projects that were aimed to rationalize water consumption in the governorates, including several initiatives that improve access to safe drinking water and support farmers with modern irrigation technology to decrease water consumption.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative underlined the significant engagement of community in the development process. The project that is implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), engages local communities in finding practical and entrepreneurial solutions to improve water supply and promote responsible water resource management in the governorates of Mafraq and Jerash. Additionally, it will focus on the raising the awareness of the community in Mafraq and Jerash on water shortage and the best practices on rationalization of water consumption, she said.

During her remarks, Sujala Pant, Chief Technical Advisor/Project manager, SDG Climate Security Project highlighted that, “climate change issues are not unique to Jordan. We have observed similar patterns in other Arab countries. We need to identify tailored climate-security solutions that respond to the needs of communities in both rural and urban contexts. And we need to do this through a whole-of-society approach, which creates partnerships across government, private sector, civil society organisations, and development partners. The pilot project in Mafraq is an important steppingstone on the way to a larger, more coherent, regional approach to solving climate impacts."

From their end, Sida highlighted that Sweden is proud of the first resilience pilot to Jordan. The pilots under the SDG-Climate Facility are showcasing solutions for vulnerable communities to tackle the climate crisis and when possible bring in private investments for sustainability. It’s inspiring to see that climate smart innovations can also generate improve life quality.

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