COP25: Jordan Presents Efforts Towards Strengthening Water Governance System

December 14, 2019

During COP25

MADRID- During the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 held in Madrid, Jordan presented its efforts towards strengthening water governance systems in an event organized by UN-Waters on Climate-Resilient Water Management Approaches.

The event informed participants on key findings of the UN-Waters Policy Brief on Climate Change and Water, supported by case studies presented by member states and experts from different countries on several themes identified by policy brief.

The level of water scarcity in Jordan poses serious challenges and calls for innovative solutions for saving and reuse, especially since Jordan is one of the most water scarce countries in the world with a chronic water balance deficit of 20 per cent. 

The water deficit is further exacerbated by an influx of 1.4 million Syrian refugees and the fluctuation of the precipitation trends over the last two decades; resulting from the climate variability and the increase of drought frequencies and severity. The water and irrigation sectors also suffer from the vulnerability of the provisioning services of the natural ecosystems such as flood mitigation, soil conservation, nutrient cycling and pollination.

Drought represents a serious challenge undermining the growth and development. In Jordan, seasonal drought occurs during early winter and spring seasons. The rainfall patterns occurring in short seasons have prompted the overuse of surface and underground water to meet the needs of domestic, agricultural and industrial activities.
Since 2016, UNDP and GoAL-Waters Programme have supported Jordan to take systematic steps towards strengthening drought management in the country. During this time, a Drought Management Unit was established at the Ministry of Water, a water sector policy for drought management to guide actions across sectors at different levels of drought was also developed and endorsed by the Cabinet, while water efficiency measures and pilot projects that demonstrate innovative solutions for water saving and reuse have been tested at municipal level.

At present, work is underway to strengthen local knowledge on the effects of drought and climate change on the water resources in different basins to prioritize drought response options through multi-stakeholder dialogues to inform the policy makers and drought management planning. Furthermore, a national roadmap to strengthen the water governance more broadly is in the making.

Head of Policy and Strategic Planning Directorate, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Adel Alobeiaat, said Jordan did not have clear national or sectoral policies towards drought management responding to its impacts in the past: “However, our partnership with UNDP and Goal Waters support, has enabled us to form a genuine drought governance system based on a spirit of collaboration and partnership with all key players.”