Five Reasons for saving the Ministry of Environment in Jordan

Jordan went through an exceptional week. On Nov 13th the Prime Minister Abdullah Nsour, a veteran public bureaucrat and a former deputy has shocked Jordanians with a controversial decision to cut all subsidies on oil derivatives. This has resulted in a rapid and strong public outcry where thousands of protestors took to the streets of almost every Jordanian city and governorate venting their anger and demanding a reversal of the decision. Cutting oil subsidies is presumably one of the major conditions the IMF is imposing in Jordan to provide it with a life-line loan to save its budget deficit resulting from external factors (stopping natural gas imports from Egypt and the need to buy oil from international markets) and internal (overspending and corruption).

To show the Government’s seriousness in implementing austerity measures and to balance the painful economic decision that has been coupled to an existentialist political crisis, the PM decided also to lead a massive “restructuring of public institutions” that resulted in a very surprising decision to dissolve the 10 years old Ministry of Environment and delegate its authority and function the Ministry of Municipalities.

The decision that has been presented in the form of a proposed law to be discussed by the next Parliament due to be elected on January 23rd, has shocked the environmental community in Jordan and cast a huge cloud of desperation on the staff of the Ministry. During the past few days there have been some movement by environmental activists including former Minister of Environment Khalid Irani and a coalition of national NGOs to convince the government to reverse its decision. This article is a modest contribution to this justified effort and explains why dissolving the Ministry of Environment is a bad decision:

1-      Against the course of history: this decision brings the clock 18 years back, when Environment was managed by a small, disappointed and marginalized department at the Ministry of Municipalities. After the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 the whole international environmental governance system was improved and all countries started to enhance their institutional set up. Jordan decided to create a special entity called the “General Corporation of Environmental protection GCEP” which was reporting again to the Minister of Municipalities.  In almost most cases environmental was marginalized and the political power of the GCEP was eroded. In the early years of 21st century the idea of evolving into a Ministry of Environment appeared and gained momentum until the Ministry was created in 2003. Since then almost all Arab countries and maybe the majority of the world created independent ministries for environment. The last 10 years witnessed a slow but steady build up of the legal and institutional framework for environmental protection in the country and it would be such a shame to let all this effort vanish in thin air.

2-      A negative political message: By dissolving the Ministry of Environment Jordan sends a very negative message to its own people and to the international community. Lack of political commitment in environmental protection means opening up the nation to all kinds of environmental violations and pollution, neglect of environmental laws and principles and threatening the quality of life of the current and future generations. In addition, this will put Jordan in an awkward position in its international environmental governance network and risks failing to attract any global partnerships and resources to achieve sustainability.

3-      Loss and not a gain for national economy: The current budget of the Ministry of Environment is 3.4 Million JDs from the treasury in running and capital costs. It is currently implementing projects worth around 200.0 Million USD including the massive environmental claims programmes (integrated ecosystem restoration of the badia worth 160.0 Million JDs). By dissolving the Ministry Jordan will only save the salary of a Minister but will most probably lose millions of USD of international aid that contribute to sustainable development and improving human resources and technical infrastructure of environmental management in the country.  Almost all donors in Jordan are working directly with the Ministry in implementing environmental projects and programmes linked to national priorities and international obligations and they will all be drastically impacted if the Ministry of downgraded with almost no sustainability of existing projects and low probability of securing new projects.

4-      Breakdown in institutional and legal frameworks: The current Environmental protection law and the various bylaws that have resulted from it are forming a strong and organized legal framework that requires further improvement and not deep weakening. The legal basis for many environmental activities (Environmental impact assessments, environmental licensing, establishment of protected areas, management of wastes, monitoring of air and water quality, policies for sustainable development, regulation of investments, etc…) are all embedded within the current environmental law and will all be lost or subjected to legal gaps once the Ministry is dissolved.

5-      Not adapting to threats and opportunities of future: the ever-increasing complexity of national, local and international environmental pressures need a stronger Ministry with a wider mandate and enhanced legal, institutional and technical resources. The potential impacts of Climate Change and other related pressures require the presence of a strong Ministry with a mandate to respond to Climate Change risks and benefit from opportunities opened up by the international climate management regime. Jordan will certainly lose its current competitive advantage in resource mobilization once the Ministry if lost and will get exposed to the risks while unable to benefit from resources.

The Jordanian environmental community needs the help of all its supporters and friends, including international organizations and donors to save the Ministry and continue with the path of partnership that has been effective throughout the past decade. If any certain agency (i.e Ministry of Environment) is in need to enhance its performance it should be supported and not face the death penalty justified by an austerity measure that will not save any money to the treasury and will result in the loss of international aid and a severe deterioration and erosion of its natural resources.

Advertisements
Posted in Governance, Political context | 2 Comments

Connecting Climate Change to Poverty reduction in Jordan

Climate change is expected to have a detrimental impact upon human development and poverty in Jordan. This will occur by increasing the severity of resource scarcity, which in turn makes access to natural resources more difficult. The poor are expected to be the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as they possess the least assets and resources to adapt to its impacts. Increasing the ability of the poor and local communities to adapt to climate change, in the coming years, is extremely important. To date the Government of Jordan has little policy or programming in place to do this.

Jordan feeling the heat:

A comprehensive analysis of available climate data (1961 – 2005) published in the Second National Communication on Climate Change in Jordan (2009) has revealed clear trends in temperature and rainfall. Both maximum and minimum temperatures in selected meteorological stations have shown significant increasing trends between 0.3°C – 2.8°C. This is parallel to an observed 5 – 20% decrease in precipitation in the majority of meteorological stations across the country. Only 2 out of the 19 stations show an increase of 5 – 10% in precipitation.

Climate change projections for Jordan show an increase in temperature of less than 2°C, by the year 2050. Warming was found to be stronger during the warm months of the year while less warming is projected to occur in the cold months of the year.

Results of the vulnerability assessment contained in the Second National Communication report anticipate detrimental impacts especially on water and agriculture. On water resources, the impact of climate change is expected to be significant as a result of reductions in precipitation and projected changes in its spatial and temporal distribution. The analysis of the incremental scenarios had shown that changes in precipitation and temperature would highly affect the amounts of monthly surface run-off in the Yarmouk and Zarqa River Basins. It was found that the most vulnerable scenarios to climate change impacts on water resources are those when temperature will be increased by more than 2°C and precipitation will not be increased. Even in some scenarios, the increase in precipitation by 20% does not compensate for the 2°C increase in temperature.

For the agriculture sector the results showed that climate change could have significant impacts in particular on rainfed agriculture. The livestock sector and overall food production in the country were identified as most significantly impacted through climate change impacts on rainfed cultivation and on arid and semi-arid rangelands.  The report also identifies some expected impacts on health conditions, including physiological disorders, skin rashes and dehydration, eye cataracts and damage of public health infrastructure, and deaths and injuries.

Can the poor adapt?

Development and climate literature identifies major impacts of climate change on livelihoods and poverty through the examination of current documented cases throughout the world. Climate change is expected to reduce the capacity of poor to cope with social and environmental pressures and degrade developmental gains especially related to the achievement of the MDGs. The impacts are also expected to be gender-based with roles of men and women impacted in a way related to climate change. Women will be obliged to exert more effort in securing and managing scarce natural resources while men will be pressured to seek additional/alternative income sources that may see them migrating from rural to urban areas.

The main areas of poor households’ vulnerability to climate change include:

  1. Dependence on natural  resources that are vulnerable to climate change;
  2. A lack of assets which  hinders effective adaptation;
  3. Settlements in high-risk  areas (i.e. drought prone); and
  4. Low levels of education  and professional skills that prevent members of poor households for  shifting to climate-resilient sources of income.

There is a considerable gap in our collective understanding of the details of social vulnerability to climate change in Jordan. A comprehensive impact assessment study should be conducted to identify the major direct and indirect climate change impacts on poverty and socio-economic factors in Jordan, with special focus on geographical areas most prone to climate change impacts. An informed judgment can de derived at this stage, based on national climate assessment studies and international case studies that the following social groups can be most affected by climate change. These include:

  • Farmers depending on rainfed agriculture;
  • Farmers depending on small scale irrigated agriculture;
  • Families dependent on livestock management;
  • Populations more prone to heat waves; and
  • Population suffering from the lack of proper access to safe and affordable drinking water.

The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) has recently started to assess the adaptive capacities of local communities around protected areas regarding the impacts of climate change. For the first time in Jordan the RSCN has developed an Adaptive Capacity Index produced from results of both a literature review and semi structured interviews. The Adaptive Capacity Index was generated based on several factors formulated from specific indicators and determinants including human, social, physical, environmental and economic indicators. The RSCN recommends some adaptation interventions including: (i) supporting water harvesting practices; (ii) water collecting wells; (iii) infrastructure restoration; (iv) best agricultural practices; (v) encouraging changing current crops to more feasible drought tolerant crops; (vi) encouraging the use of gray water for irrigation; (vii) enhancing market access of local agricultural and traditional products; (viii) raising awareness regarding climate change; and (ix) providing assistance and guidance to local communities in addition to improving governance systems while considering gender.

This is a rich, urgent and yet unexplored field for sustainable development in Jordan. Climate change is not only a global phenomenon with theoretical dramatic consequences, but a present danger to the future of sustainability in Jordan and other semi-arid countries. The cost of inaction is much higher than any visionary action to be taken very soon.

Posted in Adaptation, Agriculture, Climate Change, Future Risks, Vulnerability, Water management | 1 Comment

Water is the defining factor for development and peace in the Middle East

Water is an issue of life and death in Arab countries and is THE most limiting factor for sustainable development in this area. The Arab region is among the most water-scarce in the world. Due to increase in population growth and bad management, the average annual per capita share is declining from below 1000 cubic meters now, already below the level of water scarcity, to below 500 cubic meters as early as 2015, defined as severe water stress. World average is 6500 cubic meters. Major water sources are from outside Arab borders or shared, and most available water resources are already developed

Not only does the Arab world suffer from physical scarcity of water resources it is plagued with bad management, wasteful practices and fragmentation of efforts. To be fair and honest, this region has witnessed some of the most interesting trials for sustainable water management using non-conventional water resources, engaging in public-private partnerships for water resources and utility management and mobilizing communities through awareness, education and media campaigns. The cumulated efforts of local professionals and communities, in addition to the evolution of policies, legislation and practical guidelines on sustainable and integrated water resource management have all contributed to a paradigm shift in water policy and planning.

Yet there is something essential missing. The preferred options for water management in the region still depend on engineering solutions and megaprojects that will move water from source to consumption points through pipes and networks. This approach will eventually dry all water resources to the last drop. What this region needs is more involvement of natural resource management scientists and communities that focus on the protection and sustainable use of water resources rather than piping them with state-of-the-art technologies. Some of the best answers can be found in the form of ancient aqueducts developed by the native populations to adapt to arid conditions by sustainable use of natural resources including rainwater collection. Solutions can be found with more emphasis on community actions and ecological wisdom than engineering approaches.

Water is THE defining factor for peace and development in the Middle East. It lies at the heart of the complex political conflict in Palestine/Israel and is one of the most difficult issues to be tackled in the final status negotiations, if they ever launch. Bilateral relations between some neighboring Arab countries suffer from frequent deterioration due to the inability to reach binding and fair agreements for allocation and use of shared water resources.

I do not intend to mentions statistics and specific cases about the water situation in the region. The Internet is endowed with resources and research about water calamities in the Middle East and also with proven and potential solutions.

The main message from the post is that Arab countries need to adopt a more integrated approach to water management that will take into consideration the element of sustainability through introducing new and sometimes painful policy measures to guarantee adequate use of available water resources and to launch an honest battle against the corruption and misguided practices in the water sector that result in wasting precious resources. This transition can be derived by the adoption of a human rights approach to water management than engineering solutions. Such an approach will focus on the optimization of water allocation among the three main sectors of agriculture, domestic and industrial while taking care of the sustainability of water ecosystem and watersheds that should continue to provide water resources for future generations.

Posted in Agriculture, Desalination, Future Risks, Water management | 1 Comment

No protected areas please, we are in the “Arab Spring”!

One of the most bizarre consequences of the impact of the “Arab Spring” in Jordan is the new threat to the concept and sustainability of protected areas and natural reserves. After the wave of public protests sweeping the region asking for better governance and enhancing public services the government of Jordan started to feel the pressure and the political-social balance in the country is about to change with more empowerment and mobilization of the people and erosion of some state authority.

Jordan has a unique biodiversity despite its relatively small size and is home to 7 jewels in the form of natural reserves that attract local and foreign sustainable tourism activities, and harbor local socio-economic development initiatives that provide income and alternative livelihoods to local communities. For more details about Jordan’s protected areas and biodiversity go to www.rscn.org.jo

Yarmouk Protected Area in the north of Jordan 

Although the expanded public space of freedom of gathering and expression has resulted in the mobilization of some genuine and effective environmental movements against the proposed nuclear programme and the destruction of Bergish forest to build a military complex, some other protests were detrimental to the environmental agenda. The public protests raised one of the most controversial and sensitive issues in Jordan which is the “historic claims to land” by local tribes that used to “manage” such lands and have historic rights prior to the establishment of the State. Many tribes and local communities requested the return of their “claimed historic rights” to lands they used to manage including some areas designated as potential Protected Areas.

This case was very obvious in Jabal Masouda (Petra) where members of local communities showed their open resistance to the establishment of the Jabal Masouda protected area by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), which is the NGO officially mandated to establish and manage protected areas. The local administration, represented by the Petra Regional Authority provided support to the claims in an attempt to keep the area within the proposed economic development plans but not as a Protected Area.  The RSCN had to find an alternative area that represents the targeted ecosystem/habitat in Jabal Masouda and found their aim in the Shobak area which is still under negotiation with the government. The same case emerged here with some local communities asking for land rights, while another main player, the National Resources Authority requesting the designation of large percentage of the area for mining purposes. Until now the designation file of Shobak is still frozen by the government with no apparent breakthrough in the deadlock.

In the Yarmouk Protected Area some local tribal figures leaders and parliamentarians asked the government to abolish its decision to establish the Protected Area, again on the basis of the historic rights to lands and to continue grazing and unplanned use of natural resources and ecosystem services. In this case RSCN took an uncompromising position to refuse any changes to the legal status and boundaries of the PA, fearing that such precedence may open up the door for more claims in other PAs.

This change in the context of political economy and power will certainly pose real challenges for RSCN and the environmental community in general to respond in an early, effective and participatory manner to the request to change the status of PAs. For any new PA as well a detailed socio-political assessment should be conducted to identify potential sources of risks and mitigate them before any area is about to be declared as protected.

One of the options that can be pursued is to conduct a detailed analysis of land tenure in any area that is considered suitable and important to have a protected area. With the current controversy over historic rights to lands by the local communities,it is vital to avoid any areas where local communities have a belief of historic rights and if such a case appears should go the extra mile in gaining the trust of local communities before engaging in the establishment of PAs. The development of sustainable socio-economic and conservation projects could be an entry point to strengthening relationships with local communities.

The RSCN and the protected areas themselves are unfortunately paying the price for the lack of trust that the local communities are showing towards the public institutions and policies. It is important that such marvelous achievements in the Jordanian environmental sector be protected from the impacts of the Arab Spring and the legacy of bad public policies.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Urbanization and Environmental Change in Jordan

Jordanian cities were historically built on, or adjacent to water resources, especially groundwater. While cities expanded, the natural recharge area available for rain to infiltrate the soil and recharge the groundwater dramatically decreased.

The city of Amman is a clear example of rapid and exponential growth that defies sustainability criteria. The area of Amman was 52 Km2 in 1952, increased to 92 Km2 by 1985 and to 576 Km2 in 1987 and in 2007 made a huge growth to reach 1680 Km2. The area of Amman is currently bigger than Berlin (892 Km2), Moscow (1081 Km2) and Los Angeles (1290 Km2). However the population density in Amman is 1300 persons/km 2 compared to 3847 in Berlin, 9736 in Moscow and 2972 in Los Angeles. This huge area with sparse populations puts a lot of demand for infrastructure services and networks which means higher costs of more disturbances to natural conditions and systems. The Amman master plan of 2008 assumes that the population growth will reach 6.5 million in 2025 which can only happen based on a population increase rate of 6.6% annually while the current population growth rate is 2.2%. The masterplan however, focus on intensification of urbanization in specific area trying to contain unsustainable urban sprawl.

Outside Amman the urban expansion plans are even more deteriorating for sustainability. The rapid expansion of municipalities is driven by social pressures to increase the values of land by adding them to the planning zones. This results in the spread of sparse population that requires water, wastewater, energy, transportation, education and health services and resulting degradation of natural resources and high costs of delivering services. Most of there communities are served with cesspools that cause groundwater pollution since they are not connected to the wastewater network.

Rural to urban migration has become a core fact of life in Jordan.  The number of citizens living in urban areas almost doubled from 40% to 72% between 1952 and 2004. This is due to rural-to-urban migration and the fact that immigrants usually prefer to immigrate to cities rather than rural areas. Combined, the three largest cities (Amman, Zarqa and Irbid) make up 71.4% of the Jordanian population as of 2009. However, rising rural-to-urban migration leads to increasing pressure on housing, basic amenities, increase
demand for food (leading to inflation) and rising inequalities in living standards, both within the country, and within urban centers themselves.

Urbanization in Jordan is rapidly outstretching the nature’s carrying capacity in urban center, and it will be of no surprise to wittness gradual conflicts, competetion for resources and all other symptoms of ailing cities such unsustainable policies and practices continue.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who Cares about Climate Change in Jordan?

Batir Wardam

Climate change is becoming a major threat to sustainable development. While development can be simply described by a process that enhances people’s opportunities for s better livelihood, climate change is one of the emerging challenging facing the people of Jordan to achieve development goals.

Identification and analysis of environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change on Jordan is a vital step in integrating climate change into socio-economic development planning and enhancing associated institutional, individual and systematic capacities. The severity of the impacts of climate change has to be identified based on sound science, and then linked to socio-economic impacts especially on human vulnerability, taking into consideration gender perspectives.

It is essential to transform the conventional ‘wisdom” that climate change is a long-term issue that is mainly related to industrialized countries and not to developing countries like Jordan.  Although Jordan is a modest contributor to GHG emissions (20.14 MT of CO2 eq in 2000) it is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change, especially in water and agriculture sectors that are organically linked to socio-economic conditions.

According to Jordan’s Second National Communication (SNC) report to the UNFCCC released in 2009 but based on emission inventory statistics from 2000 Jordan contributed only 20.14 million tones of CO2 equivalent of Greenhouse Gas Emissions to the atmosphere. The main sector contributing to the emissions was energy, including transport (74.0%) followed by wastes (13.5%), industrial processes (7.9%), land use, land use change and forestry (3.7%) and agriculture (0.9%).

A comprehensive analysis of available climate data (1961-2005) published in the second national communication has revealed clear trends in temperature and rainfall. Both maximum and minimum temperatures in selected meteorological stations have shown significant increasing trends between 0.3- 2.8 C. This is parallel to an observed 5-20% decrease in precipitation in the majority of meteorological stations. Only 2 out of 19 stations show an increase of 5-10% in precipitation at the same time.

Climate change projections for Jordan show an increase in temperature of less than 2 C by the year 2050. Warming was found to be stronger during the warm months of the year while less warming is projected to occur in the cold months of the year.

 Results of the vulnerability assessment contained in the second national communication report anticipate detrimental impacts especially on water and agriculture. On water resources, the impact of climate change is expected to be significant as a result of decrease in precipitation and projected changes in its spatial and temporal distribution. The analysis of the incremental scenarios had shown that changes in precipitation and temperature will highly affect the amounts of monthly surface run-off in Yarmouk and Zarqa River Basins. It was found that the most vulnerable scenarios to climate change impacts on water resources are those when temperature will be increased by more than 2 C and precipitation will not be increased.

The various target audiences should be able to identify the real threats of climate change to the future of the country’s economy and social stability. Climate change is a multiplayer of existing developmental challenges and for a country like Jordan that is faced with baseline water scarcity, reduction of land productivity and increasing poverty and unemployment challenges, climate change is a grave additional challenge that should be taken into consideration at early stages of development.

The current indicators of the level of awareness to climate change in policy making are not encouraging. The energy, water, agriculture, health, poverty and transport strategies that have been shaping the development agenda in Jordan in the past few years have failed to identify climate change as a threat/challenge.  A major paradigm shift is necessary at the policy making level and also at the level of public and civil organization that are mandated with implementing development programmes.

Jordan is currently at a crossroads in term of its development challenges.. The current political and economic reform process has huge socio-economic implication and a new paradigm for sustainable development maybe required soon to respond to the challenges and opportunities exposed by the reform process. It is a perfect timing for climate change impacts to be fully mainstreamed in development planning.

Posted in Climate Change, Green Economy, Water management | 6 Comments

How I became an Environmentalist? A case for career selection

I hardly believe that it has been 20 years since I decided to pursue in environmental management. Prior to that I was lost between various choices that I was not convinced of, but I found my moment of inspiration through accidental reading of one document in 1992.

Raised as a teenager of a disciplined family of middle class in Amman I was enjoying my teenage year with many dreams. I was good at school but not exceptional. I had two passions for football and writing/reading and I wished I could a career in one of the two areas, or maybe linking the best of both worlds (Thanks Hanna Montana!)

I was an avid reader and writer. During my 9th, 10th and 11th grade I was in constant positive competition in writing articles and magazines with my lifelong friend Dr Ahmad Jamil Azem, who currently holds a Ph.D in political Sciences from Edinburgh University and works now at Cambridge. He was denied a position in the University of Jordan as assistant professor since he did not gain GID’s approval. Thanks to GID he fulfilled his true potential. I used to win most of the prizes not because I was smarter but maybe my handwriting was better. Remember no printers and computers in the 80s.

At the Tawjihi year I gave up on another dream to be the new Kenny Dalglish, scoring goals for Liverpool each week. I realized that I am not physically strong to compete in the English league. However, I never questioned my lousy skills!

I had also a dream of being a journalist but realized that it will not provide me with a good job and career. Jordan was still under the martial  law  in 1987 and there was no future for free journalism. I loved science and thought that a university degree in a scientific field would provide me with good livelihood and career. My Tawjihi score allowed me to study Engineering but I hated and loathed Calculus. I knew I would never make and shifted to the faculty of science studying biology.

I enjoyed study and life at university to the max, having good grades and excelling in biology topics that seemed complex. I benefited from my excellent English gained not from my school (Islamic Scientific College) but from extensive reading of English football magazines and listening to BBC’s sports coverage each day.

I graduated in flying colors and had a fantastic university life. When democratization started in 1989 I took the opportunity to participate in political life and had my own wall newspaper at the department of Biology until it was controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood students after the students’ council elections in 1993.

After finishing my BsC I wanted to continue Master’s Degree and I registered to specialize in microbiology or biochemistry. I was not convinced and started to see the world very limited and small, composed of test tubes, centrifuge machines, microscopes and the smell of chemicals. I spent the first year with anxiety. This was not the career I wanted.

In the autumn of 1992 I participated with a colleague of mine in organizing a small scientific fair and wanted some publications to display. I was told that ESCWA which was located in Amman has many publications so we got there and received reports and publications mainly related to environment resulting from the Rio earth Summit of 1992.

I was struck to the very depth of my soul. It was an eye opener experience. For the first time I saw how the world is interconnected and how it can be managed in an ethical. I spent 3 days reading Agenda 21, the global blue print on sustainable development. This is the second most remarkable document produced by the human race, right after the International Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

What a great opportunity to specialize in environmental sciences. I was a Biology graduate and would immediately pursue a thesis in environment. I met with Dr Alia Hatough-Bouran, then professor of Ecology in the University of Jordan and now our great Ambassador in the USA. She have me instructions, and asked me to attend her undergraduate ecology course and subjected me to an exam. I passed and then worked together on a design for the theses which was about study the impact of water pollution in Zarqa River Basin on the ecology of the area by using frogs as an indicator. I had to collect monthly water samples from 6 sampling sites along the river course (Amman to King Talal Reservoir), collect frogs tadpoles and put them under conditions of clean water and pollution water to study patterns of growth and counting the numbers of frogs in study area, mainly by running after them!

It was marvelous and enriching and I passed my committee verdict in 1995 with a great passion for the profession I am looking forward to. At that time I was teaching in the University and working at the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). We were a crop of youth who worked in Dana and Mujib reserves to assess the ecology and develop management plans there. We walked, climbed, camped, fell down and enjoyed areas that were not studied before. At the end of my short-term contract, I was the only one that did not get a full time contract. Until now this is an enigma to me. I have never confronted the decision makers and have no explanation after 16 years.

I stayed unemployed for 8 months but benefited from my journalism part time activity by working for the newly established Al Arab Al yawm daily but I had to enter the environment sector. I did this in 1998 through Aqaba where I worked for two years as an environmental monitoring specialist in a World Bank project. I managed to save some money to help in getting married, then went back to Amman in 2000 with the great help of Dr Hatough-Bouran who was establishing the national committee for IUCN (World Conservation Union) that has hosted the world conservation congress in 2000 gathering 3,000 experts from around the world for one week in Jordan.

I continued my diversified career then, working in 8 different projects in 6 organizations. During the same time I continued writing a daily article in Addustour since 2000 and in many other media outlets having the double career I hoped for: environment and journalism.

So much for being the next Kenny Dlaglish, but I am happy of all I did. It was one accidental moment of inspiration that changed my course. Stay alert, this can happen to you at anytime.

Posted in Personal | 2 Comments