In 2020, Jordan's energy sector strategy made headlines by setting a goal to raise renewable energy contributions to 31% by 2030. The Kingdom is now on the brink of exceeding this target and is ambitiously aiming for 50%. Currently, solar and wind energy generation projects have already contributed to approximately 29% of the total electrical energy consumed.
Jordan's dedication to this green future is backed by strategic planning, including the Economic Modernisation Vision 2033 (EMV), which aims to accelerate sustainable economic growth. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law of 2012 and the Waste Management Framework Law for 2020 are further strengthening this vision. The National Green Growth Plan (2021 to 2025) has been devised to expand Jordan's climate and sustainable development ambitions, aligning with sectoral strategic frameworks.
Jordan's leadership in renewable energy is clear. It has been among the first in the region to adopt a renewable energy strategy. Efforts like the submission of its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2016, and an updated version in 2021, prove the country's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 31% by 2030. Unemployment solutions are also being addressed, with the National Employment Plan aiming for 10% of jobs being green jobs by 2030.
Jordan's strategies and plans ensure that no one is left behind while addressing climate change's ramifications. The promising potential for the green economy is confirmed by the "Green Action in Enterprises" (GAIN) project, which reveals Jordan's considerable potential for green jobs while ensuring a just transition where no one is left behind.
This, leaving no one behind in the green transition, was the main focus of a recent workshop in Sweden, held by the Earth Journalism Network. The workshop explored global and regional issues of Green Recovery and Just Transition, strengthening participants understanding and storytelling capabilities.
The shift to green energy in Jordan has not only opened up new opportunities for Jordanians working in the Gulf but has also had no direct negative impact on many Jordanians' livelihoods. Instead, the focus is on the ramifications of climate change, particularly affecting impoverished families. Several reports and studies shed light on the differential impact on women and men in rural areas due to climate change and potential job loss and negative impact on livelihood due to the ramifications of climate change including rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, and drought, amongst others.
Jordan's per capita share of water currently stands at 90 cubic meters per year, or 10% of the water poverty line. Per capita water shares are 97.5% lower compared with 1946 levels, which stood at 3,600 cubic meters per year.
The country's agricultural sector, which contributes around 5% to the country's GDP, receives around 49% of Jordan's available water resources. Even this quantity represents only around 60% of the sector's actual needs.
According to the country's third communication report, the poor in rural areas in Jordan are expected to face the most severe consequences of climate change through the disruption of livelihoods that depend on natural resource management. The expected impacts of climate change, particularly reduced agricultural productivity and limited water availability, actively threaten the income of these populations, pushing the vulnerable into a more urgent state of insecurity. Families in poverty are at the greatest level of exposure to the impacts of climate change, and therefore deserve priority and consideration in the design of adaptive measures.
About 25% of the total of impoverished individuals in Jordan live in rural areas which are mostly dependent on agriculture. This demographic includes livestock keepers, smallholder farm households and landless former agriculturalists. In spite of the poor motivation of rural youth, agriculture is an important employer for rural communities, according to the report.
The future looks promising, but more efforts needed
According to the "Green Action in Enterprises" (GAIN) project, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in cooperation with Cambridge Econometrics, Jordan has considerable potential of green jobs, in particular in the agriculture, transport, water and waste, manufacturing, tourism and energy sectors.
While the analysis shows that the green transition has the potential to increase net jobs, the pattern of job gains and losses suggests that careful design of an appropriate policy package (including legislative changes) will be important to manage a smooth transition for jobs.
The assessment recommended that it would be desirable to enact energy efficiency, electric vehicle deployment and renewables take-up as a package to support stable energy and employment demand, while also pursuing effective decarbonization. Implementing a package of policies facilitates synergies and can help ensure that jobs created in one sector absorb the jobs losses in another sector.
It added that education and training providers will also play a crucial role in the smooth transition of workers between the sectors/roles. The impacts of new technological trends could either support or deter green job creation, depending on the strategic approach taken by both the public and private sectors. Technology will also redefine some jobs, so re-skilling opportunities would help current workers remain in employment as skills requirements change.
The transition to a green job market is a long process that requires political commitment, wide ranging policy reforms, tools for measurement of green jobs creation and the adoption of appropriate technologies.
If such commitments could be achieved, Jordan seems well-positioned to unlock the potential of the green economy in generating meaningful employment opportunities.
This story was produced with support from Internews' Earth Journalism Network. It was first published in The Jordan Times on August 1, 2023. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Banner Image: A glass globe being held by a pair of hands / Credit: The Jordan Times.