Deal Signed to Achieve Land Degradation Neutrality in Northern Jordan
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) signed an operational partnership agreement to implement a project aimed at achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets in northern Jordan.
LDN is an approach that takes steps to save lands and manage them in a way that is good for the environment so that they can be used again. In line with the national sustainable development goals (SDGs), an RSS statement released on Sunday said that the project also helps plan for sustainable uses of different lands and protects the resources of productive lands by making them bigger and making them more productive. This helps meet the growing demand for food.
The agreement was signed by RSS Vice President Rafat Assi and FAO Representative Nabil Assaf in Jordan. A spokesman for the RSS said the project, funded as a grant from FAO's Global Environment Facility (GEF), will be implemented by the RSS and FAO in consultation with the ministries of planning, agriculture, and environment to support national efforts to neutralise degraded lands through forest management and rehabilitation and improve the productivity of pastures and barren lands in the northern governorates as a first stage.
The project also aims to make agroforestry more productive and sustainable, in addition to improving the provision of goods and services obtained from agroforestry.
The RSS stated that the project seeks to implement interventions aimed at adapting to climate change, confronting environmental degradation, and developing policies, strategies, and setting investment programmes to support sustainable agriculture, forestry, and sustainable farming techniques.
The project will be carried out in four phases. In the first phase, the focus will be on finding indicators of neutral land degradation. In the second phase, decisions about land use that affect neutrality will be tracked and their possible cumulative effects will be estimated.
In the third phase, actions will be taken to make the land neutral by improving the productivity of ecosystems in the targeted areas and stopping it from getting worse. These interventions entail water harvesting, planting forest trees, introducing sustainable farming techniques, and others.
In the fourth phase of the project, a digital monitoring system will be set up to collect information and check its accuracy, so that Jordan's LDN goals can be reached more quickly.
Assaf said, "The project will take a landscape approach in line with the Global Environment Facility's goal of promoting sustainable, integrated landscapes. It will work at the landscape level, integrating sectors, involving stakeholders, and working at different levels to address the root causes of land degradation and problems with food security. He stated that the project will support the rationalisation of land use in a way that addresses interdependence across multiple ecosystems, promote good governance to align policy directions at the national level, and encourage improvements in sustainable land management."
For his part, Assi said that the project will provide a range of opportunities and capacity-building programmes for the beneficiaries of the project, as more than 12,000 beneficiaries will directly benefit from the project, starting from the agricultural communities that live in the different areas included in the project to all stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental agencies.
He also said that the project will give the private sector a chance to be involved because private sector institutions will be able to take part in stakeholder consultations about policy development and building capacity.
The RSS is one of Jordan's largest applied research institutions, seeking economic and social development through scientific research services, consultancy, and technical support services for local and regional institutions and companies. It undertakes specialised and accredited testing, research work, and consultations for the private and public sectors. It works in partnership with regional and international organisations via a large group of laboratories accredited locally and internationally.
The FAO, on the other hand, is a significant contributor to ‘Jordan Vision 2025," providing support and activities in four main areas: long-term sustainable management of food, energy and water requirements (resource security), protection and empowerment for those in need through providing a decent life and good jobs for all Jordanians (employment), and promoting gender equality, social inclusion and, natural resource management.