Sustainable use of ecosystem services in Jordan

Project description

Title: Sustainable use of ecosystem services in Jordan – Energy and Climate Fund (EKF-ESS)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Jordan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment (MoEnv)
Overall term: 2014 to 2019

Jordan. Sustainable pasture management is one of the country’s major challenges. © GIZ


Jordan’s rapidly expanding population coupled with the current way of living by the exploitation of the natural resources is creating environmental pressure and leaving a mark on one of the world’s most arid countries. The impacts of climate change and overgrazing of the remaining arable lands are putting additional pressure on the country’s extremely limited natural resources. The ecosystems are highly vulnerable and fragile, and their ecological integrity has already been substantially weakened. People are now using these ecosystems for agriculture and livestock grazing in ways that are unsustainable. This has led to a continual reduction in soil fertility, loss of biodiversity, and threatens the livelihoods and food security of the population.

The Jordanian Ministry of Environment recognises the importance of intact ecosystems and their ecosystem services, including the multiple and complex interactions between water, soils, plants, animals, and humans that are essential for the economy, nutrition and people’s livelihoods. According to environmental legislation, the Ministry has an overarching responsibility for the protection and conservation of the environment. In addition, Jordan has signed all of the key global environmental agreements. Over 50 recognised non-governmental organisations are working on environmental issues, and roughly 20 of these are focusing on ecosystem services.

However, these prerequisites have not led yet to the sustainable use of ecosystems or to sufficient attention being paid to ecosystem services in Jordanian policies. Decisions on new infrastructure projects, land use or state investments do not take the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services into consideration. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH promotes greater consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem services in national policies through the project "Sustainable use of ecosystem services in Jordan - Energy and Climate Fund ".


National policy-making processes have taken biodiversity and ecosystem services into greater account, including their importance for climate change adaptation.

Jordan. The impacts of climate change and overgrazing in the few arable areas put pressure on natural resources. © GIZ


At the national level, GIZ is providing advisory support to the Jordanian Ministry of Environment. The integrated field case studies on sustainable rangeland management and ecotourism are managed by a consulting company and focus on the Jordan Rift Valley between the Syrian border in the northern part of the country and Karak in the South.

The project is supporting the Ministry of Environment in emphasising the importance of ecosystem services at the policy level and making it a permanent point of focus. The development of impactful policy documents, bylaws and strategies related to ecosystem services involves all relevant stakeholders and underlines the leadership of the Ministry of Environment in these national endeavours. Relevant data will be provided to the public through a national information system for biodiversity and ecosystem services. This should lead to greater consideration of ecosystem services as a part of the national biodiversity strategy and will highlight their enormous economic importance. 

The project is cooperating with selected communities, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and local governments to promote selected practical examples from the ecotourism sector as well as recreation areas for local residents. In addition, it is supporting sustainable pasture management measures and two women cooperatives, producing and marketing sustainable products. These successful examples will illustrate how an increasing appreciation of ecosystem services and using them sustainably can contribute significantly to socio-economic development. The knowledge gained through these field case studies will be assessed and fed into policy-making processes, as well as into national guidelines for the integration of ecosystem services into policy and practice.

Furthermore, the ecosystem services approach is mainstreamed in the coastal and marine zones around the Gulf of Aqaba, and a national framework for the management of invasive alien species – which are quite harmful to Jordan’s weakened ecosystem – has been developed.

In addition to these components, the project is creating and consolidating networks among ministries, governmental and non-governmental organisations, scientists, universities, environmentally interested media, stakeholders of the agricultural sector and the National Biodiversity Committee, establishing Jordan as a regional hub for ecosystem services research, awareness and policy. 

The consulting firm GOPA GmbH supports the implementation of the project.