Regional Dialogue on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans for countries in the Middle East and North Africa

UNDP Jordan Resident Representative Speech

January 16, 2024
UNDP Jordan Resident Representative delivers speech at the Regional Dialogue on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans for countries in the Middle East and North Africa

16 January 2024

Your Royal Highness Princess Basma bint Ali, Your Excellency Muawieh Radaideh, Jordan’s Minister of Environment, Representatives of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), esteemed partners, distinguished delegates, and guests,

It is a privilege to stand before you today at this remarkable Regional Dialogue on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans for countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This gathering signifies a pivotal moment in our shared journey towards safeguarding our planet's extraordinary biodiversity.

Allow me to express our sincere gratitude to the Secretariat of the CBD for their sustained efforts in adopting the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which sets out an ambitious plan to bring about a transformation in our societies' relationship with biodiversity by 2030. Our gratitude also extends to the Ministry of Environment of Jordan for their generous support in hosting this essential dialogue.

This Regional Dialogue serves as a significant platform for the exchange of experiences and collective learning pertaining to the revision and updating of national biodiversity strategies and action plans. As we align our endeavours with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, we recognize the importance of establishing and aligning national targets to realize the objectives of this ground-breaking framework.

Indeed, the UNDP has played and continues to play a profound role in supporting environmental initiatives globally and regionally. Beyond borders, our commitment spans diverse environmental projects, encompassing climate change, disaster risk reduction, and particularly, biodiversity conservation. Our efforts towards the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Jordan began with the ambitious restoration of the renowned Azraq Wetland Reserve and the revitalization of the Dana Biosphere Reserve — an initiative seamlessly integrating biodiversity conservation with sustainable local development.
I am pleased to share an important example of our collaborative efforts — the Aqaba Marine Reserve (AMR). Nestled within the unique geographical tapestry of the Gulf of Aqaba, the AMR stands as a testament to a highly biodiverse northern latitude coral reef ecosystem. Home to 157 species of reef-building corals, 120 species of soft corals, 500 fish species, and 1,000 mollusc species, the AMR serves as a sanctuary for endangered species, contributing to its profound scientific and intrinsic significance. Moreover, the incredible resilience of its coral reefs to climate change makes the AMR globally unique.
Our collaboration with Birdlife International, generously funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has successfully integrated safeguards for migratory soaring birds (MSBs) into pivotal sectors along the Rift Valley/Red Sea flyway. This exemplary initiative, acknowledged globally as a GEF best practice, received the prestigious "Good Practice of the Year" award from the EU Renewables Grid Initiative in Jordan.

Through our partnership with the Ministry of Environment of Jordan, we actively contributed to the comprehensive preparations for designating the Petra Archaeological Park (PAP) as a Natural Protected Area (NPA). This initiative vividly illustrates our commitment to preserving not only natural habitats but also cultural heritage, recognizing the interconnectedness of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

I am honoured to share news of our ongoing efforts to update and align Jordan’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, we have reached a significant milestone with the completion of the final draft of the national strategy, actively refining and finalizing the national action plan. Underpinned by our ethos of leave no one behind, this collaboration also saw the establishment of a national biodiversity taskforce, which brought together representatives from various sectors, ensuring that Jordan’s strategy strives to address the needs of all.

Today, I am proud to announce the launch of the Gulf of Aqaba Resilient Reefs Programme, a transformative initiative aimed at unlocking private investment for reef-positive enterprises. Supported by the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, this program aligns seamlessly with our broader commitments to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and health systems resilience. It serves as a testament to our firm belief in integrated development solutions addressing the nexus of health, environment, and the climate crisis.

In conclusion, this Regional Dialogue transcends the mere exchange of experiences; it is an earnest testament to our collective commitment to building a sustainable future. The outcomes of our discussions will undoubtedly contribute to the holistic development and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

Let us seize the occasion to not only address challenges but also to identify opportunities that help ensure that, by 2050, the shared vision of living in harmony with nature is fulfilled. Thank you all for your attendance, and I eagerly anticipate fruitful discussions in the coming days.

Thank you.