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Securing rights and Restoring Range Lands for Improved Livelihoods in the Badia of the Zarqa River Basin – Jordan


UICN - Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature

Titre : Securing rights and Restoring Range Lands for Improved Livelihoods in the Badia of the Zarqa River Basin – Jordan

Pays : Jordanie

Durée : 2010 3 ans

Contexte général
Jordan was selected as one of four country sites where this global project will be implemented ; namely Botswana, Mali and Sudan. The three-year-project, which is implemented by IUCN Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA) and funded by the European Union, is aiming at poverty reduction, sustainable management and restoration of ecosystems in drylands and rangelands. The conservation, restoration and sustainable management of ecosystem services, as the basis for improved livelihoods, achieved through more secure rights, better management, and enhanced income generation opportunities in four diverse dryland areas in Botswana, Jordan, Mali and Sudan.

Contexte Jordanie
Most of the land in the Zarqa River Basin is characterized as arid or semi-arid land, which is damaged as a result of environmentally inadequate human activity. These activities have impacted negatively human well-being and social and economic development. Biodiversity is being lost and improper land use and heavy ground water extraction are important causes of degradation of lands and vegetation. A report of the Ministry of Environment (2006) confirm the observations made in this report and state that important causes for the here discussed land degradation trends are : (1) population increase ; (2) land tenure and ownership conflicts ; (3) lack of environmentally friendly national land use management plans and policy ; (4) weak enforcement of agricultural legislation and guidelines for best practices ; and (5) other barriers that include knowledge, communication, and institutional coordination.
In both the western and eastern parts of the Zarqa River Basin, economic viability and longterm sustainability considerations have been absent in the decisions regarding land management. Depletion of natural resources is for an important part caused by short-term financial interests in use of land and water by affluent individuals, often having the right connections in the capital. This has been furthered by external economic developments and the weaknesses or quasi-absence of both environmentally sustainable policies and their enforcement. As a result rural livelihoods strategies are shifting from livestock production/range management and rain fed cereals to highly intensified agriculture such as poultry, cattle production, irrigated vegetables and orchards, partly linked to export markets.
The “promise” of short-term financial gains, even in the more remote and eastern/southern regions of the country, have also led to a trend where more and more Bedouin tribal families, that had their livelihoods from range management, are increasingly making fixed ownership claims on either tribal land or government lands. These “promises” are triggered by the possibility to gain a license for a ground water well. The license is officially granted only when based on a valid business plan (putting poor families on the disadvantage) or the prospect of for instance shale oil or other mineral resource exploitation. It is within this context that the here proposed project has to navigate.

The project in Jordan aims to address severe degradation of dryland ecosystems especially in the semi arid parts of the country (Mafrak and Zarqa governorates). The specific site for the project forms part of the severely degraded and polluted Zarqa river basin which is home to about 65% of the national population. The project focuses on restoration and management of this basin which is of high priority to the Jordan population. The project plans to build the capacities of local communities and their institutions to manage and restore their ecosystems and improve their marketing activities. Four pilot areas were selected in Jordan within Zarqa and Mafraq governorates, where the project will explore economic and income generating options for rural communities based on natural resource commodities and on valuations of ecosystem services. The project will also inform and influence policies to support sustainable management of drylands and rangelands at local, national, regional and global levels.

Partenaires : Ministry of Agriculture AWO

Bailleurs de fonds : Union Européenne

Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature (UICN)

Page publiée le 21 mai 2015, mise à jour le 1er juillet 2019