Posts Tagged ‘Jordan’

Nanotechnology and the Environment in the Arab World – Moshe Terdman

April 22, 2010

Written by Moshe Terdman

Muslim Environment Watch

Muslim Environment Occasional Papers

Vol. 1 (2010), Number 1 (April 2010) 

Site: Email:; All material copyright Moshe Terdman unless otherwise stated. Credit if quoting; ask permission to reprint. 



On February 20, 2010, Mohamed H. A. Hassan, executive director of TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, and President of the African Academy of Sciences, said that “Nanotechnology could aid the future of development of the Arab region”. He said that at a panel session called “Re-emergence of Science, Technology and Education as Priorities in the Arab World”, taking place at the AAAS’s annual meeting in San Diego. He further said that “the Arab region, home to some 300 million people, faces a host of daunting development challenges. Three of the most fundamental involve ensuring adequate supplies of water, energy and food”. Advances in nanotechnology could help achieve progress by helping to address each of these challenges”.[1]

Nanotechnology is the study of the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally speaking, nanotechnology deals with structures of the size 100 nanometers or smaller, and involves developing materials or devices within that size.

The aim of this article is to give a short outline of the development of nanotechnology research throughout the Arab world, while focusing on its application in environmental projects.  

Research Centers 

The development of nanotechnology research throughout the Arab world is a very recent phenomenon, which started to take place only two years ago in Saudi Arabia and since then has spread to other Arab countries.

It is not surprising that the pioneer in acknowledging the importance of nanotechnology is Saudi Arabia. Indeed, as part of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s strategy to transform their industries from petroleum production to knowledge-based industries using nanotechnology and biotechnology, research centers have been established recently in Saudi Arabia as well as in the UAE in order to provide the human resources, innovation and pioneering technology needed for its implementation.[2] 

The agreement on the establishment of the first such research center was signed in Riyadh on February 26, 2008 between the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), the Saudi Arabian national research and development organization, and IBM Research. The research center is called the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence. Its aim is to seek key innovations, and explore and develop breakthroughs in applying molecular-scale engineering to critical energy and sustainable resource issues. Under this agreement, Saudi scientists and engineers will work side by side with IBM scientists and engineers on advanced nano-science and nano-technology programs in the fields of solar energy, water desalination and petrochemical applications such as recyclable materials. The work will be conducted between teams working at IBM laboratories in Zurich, Switzerland; Almaden, California; Yorktown Heights, New York; and the KACST/IBM Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[3]

It should be mentioned that IBM is one of the leading global technology companies and the world’s largest nanotechnology research institution.

The joint research work in solar energy will include a focus on novel materials for the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, known as photovoltaics. The water treatment research will focus on the use of new nano-membrane materials for reverse osmosis seawater desalination. The research on efficient organic catalysts builds on IBM’s advance materials expertise to develop synthetic methods for recycling of plastic materials.[4]

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia donated US$9.6 million to establish further nanotechnology institutes at universities around Saudi Arabia, to promote education and research in nanotechnology. The US$3.2 million King Abdullah Institute for Nanotechnology was opened in mid-2008 at the King Saud University in Riyadh. Two other nanotechnology institutes are also planned, for King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah and the King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals in Riyadh, at a cost of US$3.2 million each.[5]   

On April 28, 2009, Intel and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology signed a collaborative research agreement to establish CENA, Center of Excellence in Nano-manufacturing Applications. The focus of CENA is to conduct leading-edge research on advanced nano-processing and fabrication technology, nano-sensors/network, nano-devices, and synthesis and deposition of nano-structures. CENA will commence its activities in October 2010.[6]

A nanotechnology research center was also established in the UAE. On November 16, 2008, the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR) in Abu Dhabi announced that it would set up a nanotechnology research center in collaboration with the Asian Nano Forum. The announcement was made during the Fifth Asian Nano Forum Summit which started at that day in Abu Dhabi.[7]

According to its website, the aim of the KUSTAR’s nanotechnology center is “to play a leading role in the establishment of nanotechnology research, development, and industry in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The centre will be dedicated to research on theoretical and experimental nanotechnology with strong emphasis on education and training”.[8]  

The interest in nanotechnology in the Arab world is not limited only to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. Scientists in North African countries are increasingly interested in nanotechnology. In January 2009, Egypt launched the first North African nanotechnology and nanoscience research center in Cairo that aims to be world-class, with support from IBM Research. Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Science and Technological Development Fund (STDF) signed the three-year partnership agreement with IBM on September 18, 2008. Joint investments will be in the region of US$30 million. Partners in the Center, Cairo University, Nile University and IBM will collaborate in the areas of simulation and modeling software, alternative energy sources (thin film silicon photovoltaics) and energy recovery for desalination.[9] 

More recently, Algeria launched several joint research projects with Iranian scientists in nanotechnology applications in environment and water management. But most of this research is yet to be applied, partly because of limited funding.[10]

And, even more recently, the Jordanian Higher Council for Science and Technology decided on August 17, 2009 to establish the National Nanotechnology Centre of Jordan (NANCEJ). The Centre started to be officially active in early February 2010. Its aim is to build the “scientific capacity in the field of nanotechnology in the Kingdom through programming and coordinating scientific research and development activities in this field nationwide, making the necessary financial support available for them, and networking Jordanian researchers with their counterparts abroad. The centre will establish an advanced specialized research laboratory capable of implementing the wide range of R&D and production…”.[11]

From Theory to Practice: Environmental Projects Applying Nanotechnology

The establishment of nanotechnology research centers throughout the Arab world, but especially in Saudi Arabia and North Africa, and the development of knowledge and awareness to the uses of nanotechnology for environmental and development projects have contributed to the launching in 2010 of two major environmental projects using nanotechnology. 

On January 12, 2010, Tunisia has launched the first project applying nanotechnology in the Maghreb. The project aims to monitor and purify the waters of the Madjerda River, the longest river in Tunisia. Three mobile laboratories will monitor river water, after which data will be analyzed at a new research center. The laboratories will then be mobilized to expand the project to other areas of the country. The Tunisian government has set an initial budget of around US$580,000 for the project. The project, partially funded and supported by Belgium, is the first project of the Tunisian Association for Environmental Nanotechnology. The association was set up in December 2008 but it took a year to convince policymakers of the importance of nanotechnology, particularly for providing water suitable for drinking and irrigation.[12]

On January 24, 2010, the KACST launched a major national initiative to produce desalinated water and electricity at a much cheaper rate – less than a riyal for a cubic meter of water and 30 halalas per kilowatt/hour. According to Prince Turki bin Saud bin Muhammad, Vice President of KACST for research institutes, the initiative will reduce the cost of water and electricity production by 40 percent. The first solar-powered desalination plant with a capacity of 30,000 cubic meters will be built in Al-Khafji. It will serve around 100,000 people using nanoscience techniques developed by the KACST and IBM. The project will reduce dependence on oil and gas to operate desalination plants. Currently, desalination plants on the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf consume a total of 1.5 million barrels per day. The new initiative was carried out by the Ministries of Finance, Water and Electricity, and Commerce and Industry, and the Saline Water Conversion Corporation.[13]  


It seems like more and more Arab countries acknowledge the importance and potential of nanotechnology to address the three most fundamental development challenges facing the Arab world, which include: ensuring adequate supplies of water, energy, and food. Thus, there is no wonder that that two first major environmental projects applying nanotechnology have to do with desalination and purification of water.    

This acknowledgment of the importance of nanotechnology to the Arab world will, most probably, result in more research centers established in all the Arab countries and in more environment projects launched using nanotechnology.

In order to cover the knowledge gap with the West, joint nanotechnology research centers and projects have been launched in collaboration with foreign companies and research centers, who already have the needed knowledge in nanotechnology.  

Facing the challenges of lack of water, energy, and food is a need common to all the countries located in the Middle East and North Africa. This need might also bring the Arab countries to collaborate with each other and even to collaborate with Israel, which has the knowhow in this field.  

[1] See on-line at:

[2] See on-line at: 

[3]See on-line at:; 

[4]See on-line at:

[5] See on-line at:

[6] See on-line at:

[7] See on-line at: 

[8] See on-line at:

[9] See on-line at:

[10] See on-line at:;  

[11] See on-line at:

[12] See on-line at: 

[13]See on-line at:–press/Latest-news/Technical-design-and-innovation-news-homepage/Nanotechnology-used-in-new-Saudi-Arabia-solar-energy-project/;;

Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC) – Eco-Torism

April 1, 2010


   The Badia region contains many scenic, archaeological and ecological features that make it an attractive ecotourism site in Jordan. The BRDC is working to promote the Badia as an ecotourism attraction and to enhance the sustainable tourism infrastructure and services in the region.

Hamza Field Station:

   The BRDC assisted in turning the aging Hamza oil field camp into an eco-tourism and astronomy centre. The BRDC, the Jordan Astronomy Society (JAS) and the National Energy Research Centre (NERC) of the HCST have secured funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to maintain and manage Hamza Camp. Hamza is the best location in Jordan for astronomy, located on a flat empty area far from any city lights. Hamza Camp now is the only accommodation in the area for astronomy and it is operated with renewable energy. Most of the maintenance is being carried out by REC and BRDC personnel, the capacity will be more than 60 people.


   Jawa is located in the northeast part of the Jordan Badia, 15 km to the North West of the Safawi, 1000 m above sea level. Jawa is an ominous and mysterious black city constructed by unknown people. It is one of the oldest cities in Jordan, predating Roman constructions. The settlement in the area went through the Mesolithic period (10,000 BC), and the Middle Bronze age (4,000 BC). The city used to be an urban settlement of considerable complexity, and an area of 22 acres. It consisted of a fortification, a town plan and a sophisticated water system.

Castle Burqu

   Castle Burqu is located at the edge of the Harra basalt ranges by Wadi Miqat, the major water source. The Qasr used to be an area of 30 by 30-square meters, and consisted of a central courtyard with ranges of rooms along the northeast and southeast sides. It had a central towered structure of four stories (12m height), surrounding rooms, and a northwest enclosure gateway. The tower masonry is different from the rest of the structure suggesting different periods of occupation. The tower consists of three rectangular rooms of similar shape at the ground level and two rooms at the upper two levels with an area of about 11 by 8 meters. The entrance to the tower was a defensive one, window-like, narrow and low, located at its west side. The tower was built to secure water supply. A dam, constructed by the Romans, abuts the structure. This dam is still operative and reserves water the entire year. The structure went through the Roman (defensive) and the Byzantine (monastic) periods, 3rd and 4th century, up to the Umayyad period (pleasure) in the 7th century.

Castle Aseikhim

   Castle Aseikhim is located on a volcanic hill capped with lava 70m above the surrounding lava fields in the northeast of the Jordan Badia, 15 km northeast of Azraq. To the south it overlooks a wadi of the same name. The Castle covered an area of 23.5 by 23.5 square meters. It consisted of a courtyard structure of one story with ten surrounding rooms on all four sides of a courtyard, and a south-side gate that gave access to the central courtyard. The Castle was built of basalt, with a wall thickness of one meter that consisted of double well-cut blocks of basalt and a rubble core. The rooms had internal arches to support the basalt slabs. The structure went through the Nabateans (1st Century AD), the early and late Roman and late Byzantine periods up to the 7th Century. This evidence was supported by surveying the datable pottery shreds that were found at the dumpsite on the south side of the hill.

   The BRDC is continuing to develop its sustainable tourism strategy in the Badia in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism and the Jordan Tourism Board, in addition to conducting archaeological surveys and research with Jordanian universities.

This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC).

See on-line at:

Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC) – Applied Research

April 1, 2010

  Applied Research


  • Azraq Oasis restoration
  • New Techniques in the Manufacture of Jameed
  • Tal Rimah: Community Based- Rangeland Rehabilitation Project
  • Onion Planting Project (OPP)
  • Rangeland Plant Species in the Arid Areas (Germplasm Project)
  • Dairy Factory Project
  • Flow monitoring and soil-water applications of Marab Hassan
  • Targeted villages cluster
  • Technical Cooperation Project
  • Badia Centre for Ecological Education
  • Dier al-kahef farm project for camels and sheep
  • Water Harvesting and Rabbits Farm Project

    Azraq Oasis restorationGoal and objectives:

       The project is to develop practical DSS tools to capture environmental flows (water regime) around the Azraq Oasis, taking into account the need to restore (partially) the RAMSAR wetland and abstraction of ground water for drinking water of Amman and agricultural and domestic water use in the Oasis area.

    To achieve this goal, the following objectives will be fulfilled:

    • Review national and international best practice and information requirements for the establishment of a set of objective variables for appropriate DSS,
    • Review available literature techniques and models that were applied in similar environments for developing DSS model(s).
    • Obtain necessary data (spatial data set and variables)
    • Capture, store, retrieve, analyze and display diverse spatial geographic data which is normally referenced to maps within the Geographic Information System (GIS).
    • Develop a mechanism of participation with involved bodies (partners) in this project
    • Develop an objective friendly- user model combining all variables and criteria that will assist in taking decisions on the best alternatives that insure the best possible use of surface and ground water resources in an integrated manner in order to achieve sustainable watershed development

    Expected output:

    1. Full information system including, water, environmental, social and economic information and data
    2. A practical and user friendly DSS
    3. Simple manual on how to use the DSS. Therefore several, scenarios (supported by systemic tools) of using groundwater will be produced for:
      • Restoration of the Ramsar wetland site
      • Drink water supply of Amman City
      • Irrigation and local drink water supply in the Oasis area.
    4. Contribute to the economic status of the local community.

    To achieve these outputs, the following are needed:

    • Develop the data base for the data and analysis collected through the studies mentioned above
    • Develop the conceptual framework for the DSS using the participation framework
    • Verify various alternatives proposed by Stakeholders
    • Verify the social, economic and environmental indicators defined earlier
    • Develop the source code for the DSS (quantifications, evaluations, etc.)
    • Develop the interface
    • Conduct a pilot test on the applicability of the DSS
    • Modify the design according to the pilot results
    • Develop full design of the DSS
    • Develop the manual
    • Organize training sessions for the decision makersReturn to top


      New Techniques in the Manufacture of JameedProject: January 2009- January 2011

         Jameed is a sun dried, fermented, dairy product usually made from sheep’s milk. However, milk form other sources, especially goats and cows, can be used for its preparation. It is a popular food in Jordan, where it forms a major component of the family diet. The background information about the traditional method for the manufacture of Jameed indicates that Jameed is prepared under primitive conditions, and that the risk of contamination by spoilage organisms, soil, hair, and insect fragments from the air is high. There is a need, therefore, to control the fermentation and drying methods in order to produce a more uniform and acceptable product.

         Heat treatment, pasteurization, addition of starter and controlled incubation were used in the preparation of Jameed. Also convection solar dryer was used for drying Jameed balls formed from concentrated butter milk. The dryer proved suitable and protected Jameed form discoloration and contamination. The local community will be trained in the new techniques to produce Jameed with good quality.

      Funded by:

      -King Abdullah II Fund for Development KAFD, 11805 JD


      • Jordan University of Science and Technology
      • Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre


      1. Use new techniques to manufacture jameed.
      2. Improve the quality of jameed.
      3. Train local community on new techniques.
      4. Contribute to the economic status of the local community.

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      Tal Rimah:Community Based- Rangeland Rehabilitation ProjectBadia Rageland

        The Badia region has an average annual rainfall of less than 200 mm. Despite its aridity, Jordan’s Badia makes two vital contributions to the life and economy of the Kingdom:

      1. Badia rangelands provide a significant portion of the domestically produced forage which sustains the range livestock industry. The sale of livestock and livestock products supports an important sector of the economy and enables many rural communities to maintain a valuable and traditional way of life.
      2. Rangeland watersheds receive the rainfall, yielding surface water and replenishing ground water, throughout the region east and south of the western Jordan highlands.Badia watersheds must be considered as an essential part of Jordan’s national water conservation strategy.

      Problem Identification

        One of the biggest problems in enlisting community involvement in confronting overgrazing is that few villagers and pastoralists in Jordan believe that their livestock are the cause of the problem (Blench 1995, Al-Sirhan 1998, Blench and Sommer 1999). The feasibility of introducing improved land utilization practices depends on the knowledge of the livestock herders and their attitudes toward changing aspects of their methods of pastoralism, which Hamadeh (2002) recommended be delivered to them by an efficient extension system.

        Local communities’ knowledge may be inadequate in the presence of extremely rapid technical change since farmers may not have enough experience with a new technology to understand all of its dimensions. Even further along the continuum, the farmer and scientist jointly design, manage, and analyze the experiments and field trials.

        The project concentrated on the idea of rehabilitation of rangelands by introducing simple and inexpensive techniques. Therefore, with taking the local community’s needs in mind, water harvesting techniques were suggested and discussed with experts and the targeted group, working together.

      Tal Rimah Demonstration Site

        Tal Rimah area is situated northwest of Safawi (Badia Area; N32°17’211 “E36°53’916“) and about 70 km east of Al-Mafraq city. One demonstration site has been made available to the BRDC for the Tal Rimah range project. About 50 hectares, situated northeast of the village of Tal Rimah has been selected for demonstration of water harvesting techniques and forage shrub establishment. It is referred to as “Tal Rimah Shrub Reserve.”

      Project Objectives:

        The broad framework of this project aims to enhance the awareness of the Badia people of the importance of rangeland management to the production of livestock while At the same time allow the BRDC, and its supporting associates, to work hand in hand with local communities to demonstrate how excelling range management practices can be of direct benefit to the Badia people and the resources on which they depend.

      The potential long-term benefits of this effort could be:

      • Improved socio-economic conditions for livestock owners.
      • Enhanced local capacity to manage and preserve a productive ecosystem.
      • Increased biodiversity and stability of rangeland ecosystems.
      • Sustainable, productive use of the range resources.

      The Project detailed objectives are:

      1. Demonstrate the feasibility of establishing a forage shrub reserve under the prevailing soil and climatic conditions of the Tal Rimah area.
      2. Educate the livestock owners and range users of the Tal Rimah area of the importance and implementation of sustainable rangeland management.
      3. Demonstrate water harvesting and forage production techniques.
      4. Demonstrate livestock systems responses to the above.


      Rainfall, November 2002- March 2006:

        Since the 2002/2003 rainy season, the area has been in a drought. The 2005/2006 season rainfall was 50% below the rainfall average. This had a negative impact on natural vegetation cover

      Natural Vegetation Inside and Outside the Treatment Area:

        The results obtained from the botanical survey showed that in the first survey which was carried out before starting the project (2002/2003), there were only 21 plant species belonging to 12 different families. However, after 4 years of protection, there were 51 plant species belonging to 18 families recorded in the 2005-2006 vegetation surveys. In 2006, a new observation of two plant species,Crocus moabiticus and Iris aucheri, in the family of Iridaceae were recorded.

      During 2004 survey, the most abundant plant species were as follows: Schismus arabicus, Sisymbrium Spectulum, Aaronsohnia factorovskyi, Poa bulbosa, and Bromus damthonea. However, during 2005 survey the most abundant plant species were: Siedlitizia florida, Bromus damthonea, Schismus arabicus, Poa bulbosa, Hordeum glaucum steujel.While in the 2006 survey there was: Carx stenophylla, Bromus tectorum, Schismus arabicus, Hordeum glaucum steujel, Siedlitizia florida. In general it is clear that there are certain plant species that can be considered well adapted to the local climatic and soil conditions.

        Forage production from the natural herbaceous plants found in the project area ,during 2004 survey were, estimated as 75 kg/ha inside the reserve compared to 30 kg/ha outside the reserve (Table 1). These differences between inside and outside the shrub reserve show that grazing has an affect on these rangelands, and suggests what the potential is for range forage production under better grazing management.

      Table 1.

      Year Natural Forage Production(kg/ha)
      Inside Outside
      2004 75 30
      2005 27 3
      2006 16 3
      2007 11.8 0.6

      Adoption and Replicability of Methods Demonstrated

        Several people contacted the project team asking about the possibilities of replicating the same treatments elsewhere, and they showed interest in adopting the management practices. This means that the first test was successful, and people realize the benefits from such interventions.

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      Onion Planting Project (OPP)Project: October 2007- May 2008

         Planting three Onion varieties from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Disi Basin soils (Sandy soils) in Mudawara village – Southern Badia of Jordan in order to test their success in this climate which is similar to New Mexico state regime, these varieties have been planted with cooperation from local pioneer farmer ( Sheikh Khalid) who is seeking to gain more experience and skills from productive and scientific agencies such as BRDC and NMSU.

      Funded by:

      -Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre

      -New Mexico State University


      • New Mexico State University
      • Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre


      1. The general objective of this project is to link US scientist with local farmers in the Badia. To achieve this aim, the following objectives should be achieved:
        • Test 3 Onion Varieties at different planting times.
        • Compare the 3 Varieties with local Varieties which the farmers usually plant.
        • Conduct several conference calls between the farmers, BRDC and NMSU in order to share experience and skills.

      Outputs as of 31/12/2007:

      • Designed the experiments layout
      • Planted 3 Varieties
      • Held several conference calls by using an Internet.
      • Sheikh Khalid, the cordinator in the BRDC, has visited NMSU in USA.

      Work Plan:

      • During 2008:
        1. Field measurements
        2. Marketing the product.
        3. Produce movie about this project which will be

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      Rangeland Plant Species in the Arid Areas (Germplasm Project)Project: September 2007- Septembar 2007

         The project is implemented by BRDC and NMSU. The project focuses on developing Badia germplasm through testing different plant species which survive in arid areas.

      Funded by:

      -USDA-Forest services, $40,000


      • USDA-Forest services
      • Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre


      1. Study different plant species which survive in the arid and semi-arid areas. The project will show if the range land rehabilitation can be through direct seeding.

      Outputs as of 31/12/2007:

      • Designed two experiment in the Tal Remah and Qurain range reserves.
      • Planted 15 plant species (US and local)

      Work Plan:

      • During 2008:
        1. Fence the Qurain site
        2. Monitoring and Evaluation
        3. Reporting
        4. Community outreach
      • During 2009:
        1. Identification of specific site new location in Qurain reserve.
        2. Rent for experimental land use if needed
        3. Preparing water harvesting for 4 plots
        4. Build fence around test plots- 2 ha total (0.5 ha water harvest seed, 0.5 ha control – seed in rows, 1 ha simulated aerial broadcast.
        5. Planting 3 species into the new location.
        6. Preliminary evaluation – germination

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      Dairy Factory ProjectProject components

      (1) Infrastructure: The infrastructure in position in the project area is good in terms of road network, water pipelines, power lines and telephone lines.

      (2) Training: training the local people for cheese making

      (3) Funding small enterprises: The lending project offers to fund local people who are unable to create their own small enterprises, (50000) JD was allotted to achieve this goal.

      (4) Dairy Factory: livestock is one of the main sources of income in the project area. Therefore, a feasibility study was done for a dairy factory in the area, with positive results. This factory is designed, in the first phase, to produce cheese from the livestock milk in the area. The capacity of the factory is about 2 tons of milk per day (could be raised to 4 tons of milk per day easily) which is used to produce 500 KGs of white cheese per day.

      Project Duration

        The project was initially proposed for three years from 1999-2002, but as funding fell short it was extended two more years. Moreover, an extra two year period was initially included for assessment purposes in order to produce an extensive manual including “lessons learned”. It is of vital importance to examine this proposed model to have a proper scientific documentation to publish the results for common use.


      • Ministry of planning
      • Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre
      • The Cooperation of Northeast Badia

      Results Achieved

        The number one achieved result is that the BRDC through the Tall Rimah project was able to get the community, normally divided by tribal boundaries, to work together.  The creation of the NGO, a unique experience in the Jordan Badia, was the first task and was met with skepticism and distrust.  Once that boundary was crossed and people began to see the benefit of working together, the NGO took off in creating a plan. Out of 356 small families are covered in this program, the co-op has about (40) members. Most of the members were dependent on farming livestock. The co-op extends loan for its members in the area of shops, forage & buying sheep.

      Flow monitoring and soil-water applications of Marab HassanObjectives:

      • Characterize rainfall- runoff measurements.
      • Measure soil moisture capacity and physical characteristics.
      • Identify Micro-organism communities to enhance Nitrogen and Carbon fixation.
      • Establish earth treatments for flood distribution, minimizing soil erosion.
      • Water storage the in soil profile for development purposes.
      • Increase soil moisture yield in order to increase land productivity.
      • Maximize runoff beneficiation

      Targeted villages cluster  The Anaqeed Al-Khair project targeted 14 villages for development. These villages were assimilated into one cluster, called the Northern Badia Villages cluster, and then grouped into four sub-clusters according to geographical distribution. The Northern Badia Villages cluster’s population is 7,800 individuals in 1,259 households.

        The Project is located in Ruwdat Ameer Ali with a total area of about eight hectares (80 dunum). This project aims to generate income for the local communities as well as demonstrating economical and environmental benefits to target population.

        Due to the project location and capacity, it also serves as centre training for all cluster village projects. In order to implement other proposed projects of Beekeeping and Honey Production, Free-Range Poultry for Egg Production, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Beit Sha’ar Manufacturing and Wool Manufacturing.


      1. Generate income for the local community based on profitable agriculture.
      2. Improve the Awassi sheep breed throughout the Badia.
      3. Local community training of new means of farming and increasing the levels of communication amongst farmers and specialists.
      4. Stimulate local economic activity.
      5. Introduce new forms of income generating projects within the target area (beekeeping, sun-dried tomatoes).
      6. Encourage Bedouin community to move towards organic farming (poultry, sun-dried tomato, etc).
      7. Preserve the handicrafts industry (Beit Sha’ar, wool products …etc).

      Project components:

      • Sheep selection farm: train livestock owners on new skill and techniques to maximize the productivity and benefit.
      • Bees keeping and honey production: medicinal and high quality honey produced from medicinal and wild badia plants
      • Bait al sh’ar and wool manufacturing: conserve the Bedouin tent and wool industry as traditional inheritage and produced to diverse income source.
      • Sun dried tomatos based on organic farming.
      • Forage production.

      Funded by:

      -Ministry of Planning.


      • Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre.
      • Jordan River Foundation.
      • Anaqaid Al- Khare cooperative society.


      • 13 permanent jobs were created and 300 temporary jobs every year.
      • Good awassi selection farm.
      • Medicinal honey.
      • Produce 2 ba’at sh’ar (Bedouin tent).

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      Technical Cooperation ProjectRestructuring the livestock health and production delivery system in rural Jordan TCP/JOR/ 2903

      Aims of the Project:

      • Improve socio-economic characteristic of the local community through achieving the following objectives:
        • Diverse and generate income for the CAHEWs
        • Improve the animal health services.
        • Maximize productivity of livestock in the Badia


      -FAO, the fund was 42000$


      • Badia Research and Development Centre.
      • CARE international.
      • Ministry of agriculture.


      • The project has been started at August 2003 and end in December 2004.
        • Project Area:
          1. Mafraq Governorate.
          2. Azraq area.

      Importance of project in the Badia Jordan:

      -Bedouin mobility.

      -Lack of transportation.

      -Limited government veterinary clinics in the Badia

      -Which often are located faraway from livestock owner.

      -Unavailable supply for medicine vaccine.

      Project output:

      • Eight old CAHEWs were reviewed and refresh ( 9 were cannot be reached).
      • 15 new CAHEWs were trained.
      • The training cover the following topics:
        • Vaccination.
        • Parasitic control.
        • Common disease recognition and treatment.
        • Animal nutrition
        • New recording system produced for monitoring and evaluation CAHEWs activity.

      *Table summarize CAHEWs activity in their region:

      Area No. of vaccinated animal Money earned Period No. of CAHEWS
      Azraq 81150 4057.2 11 4
      N.B. 21879 10931 1 6
      Safawi 3590 179.2 1 2
      Mafraq 12660 633 1 6

      Current situation:

      The MoA is supervising the CAHEWs activity since the end of the project at Dec.2004.


      1. Delays in obtaining official certificate and approval from the MoA for CAHEWs.
      2. Weakness in cooperation between the CAHEWs and animal health assistants (AHAs).
      3. Lack of awareness about animal health.
      4. Legislation: there is still some opposition to concept of CAHEWs being registered as private primary animal health service provider under veterinary supervision by some senior member of the veterinary directorate and the Jordan Veterinary Association.

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      Badia Centre for Ecological EducationAims of the Project:

    • Create awareness between school and university student as well as in the local community on the wildlife diversity and importance.
    • Improving local and foreign ecological tourism.
    • Contributing in the economic and social status of the local community.Funding:

      -Ministry of planning, 75.000 JD

      -International Arid Land Consortium 50.000JD.


      • Badia Research and Development Centre.


      • The project has been started in 2002 and still until now.
        • Project Area:
          1. The project serve village cluster for about 14 villages in the northern badia.

      Project Achievements:

      1. Finishing all the reconstruction work in the project.
      2. Design, prepare and grow the entire garden with plant.
      3. Prepare the outer and inner cages for putting the animals.
      4. Collect the animal and put them in the centre.
      5. Prepare ticket, labels, and brochure for the centre. Dier al-kahef farm project for camels and sheepProject components:
        1. Sheep farm: maximize sheep productivity by introducing new skills.
        2. Camels farm: conserve camels as traditional inheritage and diverse income source.
        3. Wool manufacturing: encourage local community for traditional industry

        Funded by:

        -Ministry of planning


        • BRDC
        • Dier al Kahef sons new cooperative society.


        • 5 permanent jobs were created and 20 seasonal jobs.
        • Conserve the traditional industry.
        • 300 sheep were bought

        This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC).

        See on-line at:


    Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC) – BRDC Field Stations

    April 1, 2010

    BRDC has offices in Amman, Safawi (the Northern Badia) and Ma’an (the southern Badia). These facilities can accommodate many researchers at the same time.

    Amman Offices

     The head quarter of BRDC is located inside the Higher Council for Science and Technology building in Jubeiha. BRDC has five offices in the building, which accommodates nine staff members. Researchers who have work in Amman can use the available space for a certain period of time. BRDC is willing to rent more offices if needed.

    Safawi Field Centre (SFC)

       To facilitate the implementation of the BRDC’s objectives, the Safawi Field Centre was established on the airforce base in the village of Safawi, Jordan (previously known as H5). One hundred and fifty-six kilometres northeast of Amman, on the Amman to Baghdad highway, the centre serves as a base for the various centre activities.

       The buildings at the centre were originally part of the housing complex for the workers at the H5 oil pumping station. This station was part of the pipeline that linked Karkuk in Iraq to The Haifa Port on the Mediterranean. Constructed and inaugurated in 1934 by Iraqi Petroleum Company (IPC), the piping was replaced with one of a larger diameter in the 1940s only to be closed down in 1948.

       The buildings, made of hewn basalt, are now completely restored and equipped to provide a comfortable base for visiting scientists, post-graduates, trainees, volunteers and the centre’s permanent staff.


       Facilities at the centre include: accommodations, cartographic and other research laboratories in various disciplines, computer rooms (information technology unit, GIS), seminar rooms, lecture rooms, study rooms, offices, a reference library, a herbarium of Badia plants, lounge, television room, kitchen, dining room, natural resources display room and storage facilities. Transportation is available to researchers to assist with their fieldwork. The centre is also provided with telecommunications, direct national and international telephones, fax and high speed Internet.

       BRDC can offer researchers places in its residence halls. BRDC has a limited number of rooms and sometimes researchers might have to share their room with other researchers.

       Since most of BRDC accommodations have no cooking facilities, BRDC provide free meals. Three meals are served daily in BRDC dining room. Researchers are welcome to be served in the centre, but if they choose not to, Safawi’s town has restaurants and supermarkets localy and most of which operate 24 hours.

       The use of and access to the centre vehicles is controlled by the SFC administrator during office hours or the duty officer after hours and during weekends. Researchers are entitled to the use of vehicles only to carry out there research duties.

       BRDC library was established in 1992. Since then the library has been growing rapidly to meet the needs of researchers, staff, and local communities. Now it holds about 4000 books, periodicals, and journals.

    Pince Hussein Knowledge Station

       Prince Hussein Knowledge Station is a satellite structure of the Information and Documentation unit of the SFC. It was opened in November of 2000 as the first of the National Information Technology Center’s (NITC) Knowledge Station program. With 15 PC’s – donated by the UNDP, Ministry of education, Ministry of Planing and the NITC – the station serves more than 370 residents from Safawi and nearby villages in IT training. Amman Rotary club donated a 13 passenger van to facilitate the transportation of people from the surrounding villages to the centre.

    The center has four main aims:


    1. Bridging the digital divide between urban communities and the Badia community.  
    2. Training the local community on the use of computer technology.  
    3. Creating job opportunities through the use of digital networks.  
    4. Enhancing people awareness about the importance of information technology.

    Ma’an Offices

       In 2005, BRDC established a new field centre in Ma’an inside Al-Hussein University’s old campus. The centre has several offices for staffs and researchers to use. The Centre has high speed Internet connection. Meals and accommodation are not provided by the centre. Researchers have to find there own accommodation at the mean time.

    Hassan Station

       Since 1995, BRDC has acquired Tall Hassan renewable energy station from the Royal Scientific Society. The station is located ten kilometers to the north of the town of Azraq. It has offices and accommodation for staffs and researchers. Meals are not provided at the station. The station does have cooking facilitates. There is no Internet connection in the station at the mean time.

    Hamza Campus

       Hamza campus is located thirty kilometers south east of Azraq in the old offices of Jordan Petroleum Company that used to operate in Hamza Oil field.

       The campus has several buildings for accommodation and offices. The campus has no Internet connection at the mean time. Meals are not provided in the campus, although, researchers can use the available cooking facilities.

    This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC).

    See on-line at:

    Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC) – BRDC Structure

    April 1, 2010

    BRDC has several divisions that deal with different issues related to research and development in the Jordanian Badia. BRDC has the following Departments:

    1. Research and Development
    2. Information and Documentation
    3. Community Development
    4. Administration
    5. Financial

    6.   BRDC has an international advisory committee and a local administration council that involves several government officials from different government agencies and institutions including universities and ministries. Also, BRDC has a scientific affairs committee that involves scientists from different universities and agencies in Jordan.


      Research and DevelopmentHead of Division: Dr. Mohammad Al-Smairan


      • Preparing research and development programs and follow up on their execution
      • Preparing Project proposals in collaboration with national and international institutes
      • Preparing technical reports for research projects executed by the centre
      • Follow up research and development projects funded by the centre
      • Preparing developmental projects based on research findings of the centre research projects
      • Maintaining field stations used for research and development
      • Facilitating equipment and services needed for researcher from national and international institutes


      1. Sustainable Development of Dry lands
      2. Sustainable Management of Marab Hassan
      3. Agro-business Study
      4. Bedouin Health Project
      5. Application of Biosolids in Rangeland
      6. Palm Date Project
      7. Jameed Project
      8. Middle East Watershed Monitornig and EvaluationThe department has 5 staff mebers in the following disciplines.
    7. Renewable Energy Expert: PhD.
    8. Animal Production Engineer: M.Sc.
    9. Soil, Water and Irrigation Engineer: B.Sc.
    10. Geologist: B.Sc.
    11. Secretary: DiplomaUnits
      • Applied Research Unit
      • Studies and Research Unit
      • Field Station Unit
        • Hassan Field Station
        • Hamzeh Field Station

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      Information and Documentation Head of Division: Dr. Odeh Al-Meshan

      Responsibilities of the Department:

      • Store the collected information in all research projects (Paper and digital documentation)
      • Build Geographical Information database about the Badia region of Jordan.
      • Analyze satellite imageries and aerial photographs for different areas in the Badia
      • Run the local area network of PC’s used by BRDC staff.
      • Maintain the internet connection in field stations affiliated to BRDC.
      • Participate in research projects that need IT, GIS and Remote Sensing experience
      • Provide researchers with books and journals about different aspects of the arid lands.
      • Provide IT training to the local community in cooperation with the National Information Technology Centre.

      The department participated in the last three years in the following research projects:

      1. Assessment of soil organic carbon stocks and change at national scale: A research project funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). For more information about this project please visit the project web site (GEFSOC).
      2. Developing Model Components for a Deserts of the World Web Site project: A project funded by the International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC): Fore more information about this project, please visit the project web site (Deserts of the World).

      The department has six staff members in the following disciplines:

      • GIS and Remote Sensing Expert: Ph.D.
      • Computer Engineer: B.Sc. in Computer Engineering
      • Techincal Supporter: B.Sc in Plitical Science
      • Data entry: B.Sc. in Geography
      • Liberian: B.A in libraries and Documentation
      • IT trainer: B.Sc.
      • Secretary: Secondary School Certificate

      The department is divided into three units as follows:

      1. The Computer unit: It runs all PC’s within the Centre and its affiliated field Stations. It also hosts the GIS and Remote Sensing data for the Badia region.
      2. The library: It hosts more 4000 books and journals in all fields related to the Arid and semi-arid lands. It also has the TEEAL electronic library for all journals that deal with agriculture, water and environment.
      3. Prince Hussein Knowledge Station: The station provides the local community with IT training in cooperation with the National Information Technology Centre.

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      Community DevelopmentHead of Division: Muhsen Al-Shrufat

        The Local Community Development Division vision is of active rural communities shaping their own futures with improved opportunity and quality of life for all.

        The Local Community Development Division mission is that we strive to make this happen through our direct work with communities, our local knowledge, networks, professional services, and our influencing role.

      The Head of the division is responsible for the overall operation of the Division, including the Department work priorities, budget, personnel and project scheduling. Major goals or initiatives for the Department this year include continued work on the Document Imaging Project

      The Local Community Development division is organized into the following units

      • Administrative unit
        • is responsible for follow up internal issues of the division and daily payment.
      • Projects unite
        • This Division is responsible for managing and supervising the local community projects that carried out by Badia Research and Development Centre.
      • Extension unit
        • is responsible for the following issues:
          • Building the capacity of citizen participation in local community development.
          • Promote healthy, economically viable agricultural practices.
          • Improved planning and management skills
          • Training the communities to increase financial and in-kind contributions from their members.
          • Training the communities to write proposals for donors and obtain governmental support.
          • Training the communities to involve community residents in designing programmes, monitoring the quality of services, and ensuring they meet the needs of the client base.

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      AdministrationHead of Division: Khalid Masoum

      Administration Division Tasks:

      • Logistic support for researchers
      • Personnel Management
      • Preparing technical reports for research projects executed by the centre
      • Follow up research and development project funded by the centre
      • Equipment needs, description, purchasing, maintenance
      • Maintaining field stations used for research and development
      • Patch control (incoming and outgoing correspondence)

      Number of employees and sub-divisions:

      1. Administration unit (1)
      2. Transportation sub-unit (7)
      3. Hospitality sub-unit (10)
      4. Warehouse sub-unit (1)
      5. Maintenance sub-unit (1)
      6. Operator sub-unit (1)
      7. Personal & patch control sub-unit (1)

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      FinancialNo information at this time.

    12. This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre.

      See on-line at:










    Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC) – BRDC History

    April 1, 2010

    The BRDC is a unique centre of research, integrated management, community development and environmental conservation of the Jordanian semi-arid area know as the Badia.

       The BRDC is a product of a partnership between the Higher Council of Science and Technology in Jordan, and the Royal Geographical Society in the UK and Durham University.

       The seeds of the BRDC were sown in May 1992 when His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talal and His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent patronized the Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC), under the umbrella of the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST) with the co-operation of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in the UK and the Centre for Overseas Research and Development (CORD), Durham University

      The University Durham manages the UK side of the Centre on behalf of the RGS. The BRDC has an office in Amman and a Field Centre in Safawi, a remote Bedouin village approximately 150 km northeast of Amman.

    BRDC Development Stages:

    • Phase-I (1993-1996): This period was mainly the founding phase of the Centre. In addition to establishing the field centre, a number of studies and pieces of research were conducted including a base line socio-economic survey, associated with research on livestock, water, soil, flora, and other resources.
    • Phase-II (1996-2000 During this period, according to the needs of the target area, a scientific research action plan was formulated to accommodate seven themes: human resources, water resources, environment, energy and geology, livestock, land resources, and information technology and management (GIS). In this phase, the aim is to give less emphasis on basic research and more to applied research.
    • Phase-III (2000-Current): In this period BRDC started to build pilot development projects based on the scientific findings of its research.

    This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre.

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    The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) – Aqaba Birds observatory ABO

    April 1, 2010

    Preserving part of the natural heritage and biodiversity, connecting the private sector into the Governmental plans for tourism and development as well as involvement and local communities in the development aspects are the pillars upon which JSSD has established the Aqaba birds observatory.

    The green areas of Aqaba, particularly the relatively dense vegetation and open ponds at the waste water treatment plant attract hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of more than 350 different species of migratory birds every spring and autumn.  Migratory birds flying from Europe to Africa in autumn visit suitable habitats in Jordan to make final preparations (e.g. fat deposition and maintaining water balance) for the long journey across the Sahara desert. In spring, migrants tend to land at any suitable habitat in Jordan, Aqaba being the first station they encounter after a long journey over the deserts of North Africa.

    Objectives of establishing the Aqaba Birds Observatory

    1. Maintain and preserve habitats that of global importance for birds.
    2. Develop Aqaba as focal point for birds watching and ecotourism activities on both national and international levels.
    3. Environmental education and increase the public awareness of the locals and visitors toward the importance of Aqaba for global birds migration.
    4. Scientific monitoring & Research to create database for birds and their migration.


    The observatory provides all necessary infrastructures to meet the objects upon which the observatory established. To manage the site and the visitors, a visitors center is constructed which also have an interpretation and education room where the majority of the education and the awareness programs will be implemented. The observatory has a research facility that will be used as a research center. Walking trails in the observatory will lead to the bird’s hide, the major spot for watching birds. In addition, the observatory includes a nature garden that educates the visitors about the native plants that occur at Aqaba area and will support resident birds that depend on such habitats.

    This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD).

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    The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) – The Ambient and Personal Exposure to PM2.5

    April 1, 2010

    Concentrations and Chemical Composition

    Jordan Society fro Sustainable Development (JSSD) always seeks to participant in improvement of environmental quality and helps the society in building capacity in different aspects of sustainable development. For that JSSD is collaborating with Royal Scientific Society, (RSS) a Jordanian NGO conducting ambient air monitoring (PM2.5) at major urban areas of Jordan 

    The association between ambient fine particles (PM2.5) concentration and a wide variety of cardiopulmonary health outcomes including premature mortality and lung cancer has been documented in numerous studies.

    To date, no studies have been conducted in the Middle East to examine real-time exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) and their impact on the public health and environmental safety while most of studies examining air pollution exposure have been concentrated in the U.S. and Western Europe.

    Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) has designated a project to conduct ambient air monitoring at the level of PM2.5 at the major urbanized cities in Jordan.

    The Aim of study and the Specific Objectives:

    The aim of the study is to measure the outdoor and indoor personal exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at locations spanning a wide range of urban development in Jordan.

    The study further aims to identify sources of these particles and to provide scientific information about ambient fine particulate matter so that issue of air quality can be addressed by political decision makers at the national level

    Specific Objectives:

    1. To conduct monitoring of ambient PM2.5.

    2. To characterize the chemical composition of ambient PM2.5 and identify sources;

    3. To characterize continuous personal exposures to PM2.5 for cohorts living in urban and rural populations;

    4. To examine the associations between ambient PM2.5 from various sources and personal exposure;

    5. To estimate potential health risks to sensitive populations in each of the sampling environments.

     Benefits & Advantage

    This study is innovative in the field of ambient air monitoring because its initiates new research approach, build local capacity in sensitive trace analysis and allocate adequate equipments to conduct similar studies that will contribute to the improvement  of  environmental quality in the future.

    This piece is taken from the Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD).

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    The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) – Assessment of Anthropogenic Impact On Biodiversity in Araba Valley

    April 1, 2010

    The Araba valley constitutes one area which rich biodiversity mandates energetic conservation efforts. The valley is a small part of the Syrian-African Rift Valley, stretching from the southern tip of the Dead Sea to the Red Sea. Despite the harsh climate Araba Valley supports a series of habitats with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna, Araba Valley has a particular zoological importance because it serves as a biological filter between the palearctic, Ethiopian, and oriental regions.

    In December 2002 JSSD has conducted a 3 years project that aims to:

    1. To produce a series of biotic maps of the southern Araba based on currently available data.
    2. To identify different landscape units in the study area.
    3. To determine the distribution of different organisms and their relationship to the above landscape units
    4. To identify and map anthropogenic disturbance in the study area
    5. To produce a map of ecological sensitivities that characterize vulnerable biological landscape units in the southern Araba
    6. To design a tentative plan to conserve biodiversity in the study area depending on ecological sensitivity maps.

    Specific taxa have been chosen to clarify the disturbance impact on biodiversity which include Mammals, Birds, insects, and reptiles. Such groups are used as an indicator for levels and types of disturbance in the Araba Valley. 

    Field work continued for 2 years in several sampling units, which fulfill the following criteria: richness of species, adjacent to agriculture and residential development, and control groups for these target landscapes.

     It is important to consider the magnitude of the existing challenge to bio-diversity. This requires a synthesis of the sensitivity maps with the anthropogenic disturbance. The actual overlay of the two will reveal existing loci of tension and challenges for the conservation work. It will also provide an excellent basis for predicting the likelihood of threatened species survival over the long run, giving the best sustain development patterns and activities. In the future planning for the Arab Valley 

     The project end with creation of sensitivity maps by GIS unit in JSSD that will help the planners and the decision makers regarding the land use of the area in the future.

    This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Society for Sustainable Development.

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    The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) – About Us

    April 1, 2010

    Background and Mission:

    The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) is an environmental non-governmental organization established in Amman, Jordan, in 1997. Under the guidance of HRH Prince Firas ben Raad, founder and president of JSSD, the organization is dedicated to promoting the principles and policies of sustainable development in Jordan.

    JSSD has adopted the U.N. definition of sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

    Through ongoing research, public awareness campaigns, international, and public policy recommendations, JSSD hopes to foster a thoughtful approach to ensuring Jordan’s socioeconomic development within a framework of protecting its rich natural, cultural, and economic resources for future generations.


    1) Conduct research to further refine the principles of sustainable development and their specific application to Jordan and the surrounding region;
    2) Establish and maintain a database to assist local efforts for sustainable development
    3) Coordinate with international organizations to keep informed about developing sustainability techniques, increase the visibility of the challenges Jordan faces and ensure comprehensive solutions, and participate within the global community to share information, resources, and benefits

    4) Conduct awareness campaigns to educate the public schools, communities, businesses regarding the principles and benefits of sustainable development
    5) Establish a dialog with local governments to elicit their participation, support and implementation of policies that respect both the need for socioeconomic growth and the principles of sustainable development .

    This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Society for Sustainable Development.

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