Taking small steps for big results
UNDP Jordan moving towards environmental sustainability
January 12, 2023
The energy sector in Jordan carries the heavy burden of leadership in securing and ensuring energy for a country that suffers from a scarcity of fossil fuel resources, combined with regional instability and conflicts. According to statistics from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Jordan currently imports around 93% of its energy which represents approximately 8% of its GDP. All these makes the key challenge for the Government to reform efforts to reduce dependency on imports and diversify the energy mix. Following that, the Government took a more sustainable pathway for the energy sector by adopting strategic goals including investment in renewable energy, reduction of energy consumption via increasing energy efficiency, and developing a Memorandum of Understanding for electric interconnection with some neighboring countries.
The recently published National Energy Sector Strategy (2020-2030) is a ten-year plan that sets the roadmap to increase self-sufficiency through the utilization of domestic natural and renewable sources, reduce energy consumption by improving the energy efficiency measures in different sectors, and reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by 10% by the year 2030. Some progress has already been made over the years through the renewable energy market expansion in Jordan based on economic incentives and a modern legal framework that supported investments, resulting to the share of renewable energy growth from 0.7% in 2014 to over 13% in 2019, with an estimated avoidance of carbon emissions of nearly 1.5 million tonnes in 2018 (IRENA, 2021).
In this context, the UNDP Jordan office was selected to participate in a national initiative supported by the Ministry of Environment in 2019 aimed at applying Sustainable Facility Management Guidelines (SFMG) in 16 facilities across Jordan (government buildings, NGOs, and industrial facilities). Under this initiative, facilities are expected to apply sustainability guidelines in their operations. As an overarching step between Jordan’s national plan to invest more in renewable energy and UNDP’s Greening Moonshot Initiative, a UNDP Jordan “Greening the Blue Team” was established to plan and monitor how UNDP will apply these guidelines.
As a first action, the team developed an internal policy on Sustainable Facility Management, effective January 2020. The policy addresses the primary sustainability components
with more focus on energy, water, and waste management at the country office. Furthermore, the office has been taking serious steps towards environmental sustainability by introducing a wide range of initiatives, including the replacement of 29 out of 54 conventional air conditioning split units into inverter type - which is more energy efficient by around 30% -, the installation of a 67.41 kWp photovoltaic system in 2021 on the office’s parking lot to cover 67% of the electrical energy consumption in the UNDP premises, the replacement of all existing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, and the changing of the conventional fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles.
But the actions are not limited to energy efficiency only; the office has also been successful in applying other sustainability measures such as introducing the first recycling programme for plastic, glass, paper, and e-waste and introducing indoor plants in office spaces to increase oxygen concentrations and improve staff health.
By the end of 2022, UNDP Jordan is expected to save about 86% of its electricity consumption and carbon emissions compared to its 2016 baseline year, with the saved energy consumption estimated to be about 230 mWh, and a reduction in their carbon emission of 130 tCO2e by end of 2022.