Media and Reporting on Environment and Climate Change

Leadership Course

Keynote Speech of HE Eng. Faris Al Junaidi, Secretary General, Ministry for Environment, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

it gives great pleasure to be here with you today and I would like to thank UNU for giving us the opportunity to come together and focus our attention on one of the serious threats that are facing our Globe.

I would like also to express my deep gratitude to all those who have worked very hard to make this course possible.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

poverty, unemployment and lack of basic need are considered a major threat to sustainable Development. Climate change is also considered as a major threat to sustainable development. It hat great impacts on the environment, human health, natural resources and economic activities. Greenhouse gas emission must be reduced to a level that has no harmful impacts on the environment.

Our globe is at stake. We must act now.

Delay will not only worsen the problem, but will multiply the cost of finding solutions. Governments will not be able to win the challenge against climate change alone. Indeed any major opportunity to reverse the damaging trends caused by climate change will require participation of all of us, this is where the role of media and professional reporting comes.

This can be achieved by public-private partnerships that can benefit from the scientific studies, upcoming expectations and expected changes.

Jordan is considered one of the countries with minimal contribution to greenhouse gas emission, but with high vulnerability to its impacts, through expected and witnessed cases of drought, reduced rainfall and reduced agricultural productivity. Jordan has taken many steps in the past three years for diversifying its energy resources and increasing the share of renewable energy in primary energy production.

Jordan is working on developing the environmental high returns within the Clean Development Mechanism. Upon the identification of the DNA, several CDM projects have been developed with the aim of reducing 3.5 million tones of carbon per year in the next five years. Although Jordan does contribute a round 0.01 % of global carbon emissions, it maintains strong commitment to the objectives developed by the international community for the integrated environmental and economic response to the threat of climate change facing billions of people worldwide, especially the poorest. Our efforts aim not only at enhancing susainable development on the local, regional and global levels, but also helping Annex-1 countries to fulfil their reduction commitments. Global climate scenarios developed by the IPCC have also indicated that Jordan and the Middle East will suffer from reduced agricultural productivity and water availability among other negative impacts. Through allocating 15 % of the outcomes from each approved CDM project to the Jordanian Environmental Fund, Jordan ensures the extension of the impact through encompassing other sectors into the sustainability cycle.

Distinguished audience, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the heart of our environmental agenda lies the issue of energy, which is considered as a challenge and an opportunity. Jordan is currently undergoing a paradigm shift in terms of energy policy and planning. A combination of both necessity and conviction has worked together to inject a much needed vision for the development of renewable energy as a major contributor to the energy mix. The increasing oil prices, plus the growing awareness of the vital need of developing green energy options have a synergistic impact on the political decision making process.

Jordan has recently developed its updated national energy strategy 2008 – 2020 through a national committee established by a Royal Decree. The strategy has suggested a package of legislative, administrative and technological innovations aiming to steer the country into more reliable, sustainable and environmentally friendly energy resources. In the new strategy the share of renewable energy resources will be increased from 1 % now to 10 % in 2020, forming a new challenge with the increase over the 3 % target set by the National Agenda in 2005.

The strategy includes other recommendations on energy conservation that include grant exemptions for energy-saving vehicles, tax exemptions for solar water heaters and other energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and implementations of building code regulations that conserve the energy and create a national award for rationalization of energy consumption. The government of Jordan is also establishing a new Energy Fund to support the infrastructure development of new renewable facilities and the enhancement of energy efficiency.

Distinguished Audience,

The role of Media is a public private partnership which is currently gaining momentum in our environmental policy development process at the national level.

In such a changing world, we no longer live in isolation from each other´s environment. Our mutual understanding of the commonalities and differences is the first step that should be followed up with a strong partnership that facilitates and encourages the exchange of knowledge and experience to address them. Learning from each other´s lessons is the way forward.

Dear friends,

I stand here full of hope and confidence that a sustainable partnership amongst our institutions will contribute to meet a lot of our common aspirations and provide the environmental reform process in Jordan with a lot of momentum to achieve its objectives.

Thank you very much.