King at COP27: Jordan working with neighbouring countries to increase regional climate resilience

Sharm El Sheikh
07 November 2022

His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday said that with its track record of successful, climate change-responsive projects, Jordan is keen to serve as a regional hub for green growth.

Delivering Jordan’s address at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), hosted by Egypt, King Abdullah said Jordan is working with Egypt, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, among others, to increase the entire region’s climate resilience.

His Majesty added that Jordan offers a wide array of opportunities for investment in climate-smart initiatives, such as green infrastructure, electric mobility, agriculture and other sectors.

The King noted that Jordan has put forward the Climate/Refugee Nexus Initiative, which prioritises support for host countries bearing the brunt of climate change, and invited participating countries to endorse this initiative.

Following is the full text of His Majesty’s speech:

“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

My brother, Mr President Abdel Fattah El Sisi
Mr Secretary General,
Mr President,
My friends:

It is my pleasure to begin by thanking my brother Mr President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and the people and government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for the warm welcome and for hosting this important global summit.

Our meetings here carry forward 30 years of progress in the fight against climate change. Consensus has grown; goals have been set; yet, the lethal dangers have been growing even faster. Every country is paying the price, and especially so, in the developing world.

COP27 now has an urgent task—to kick-start a new level of climate action, transformative action, that can achieve tangible results, faster and more effectively.

This is Jordan's commitment. Climate change is no stranger to us. We share similar climate threats with our entire region. Our rainfall average has dropped by almost half its levels over the past five decades, while the water share per capita fell by nearly 80 per cent. The Dead Sea water levels are declining by three feet per year. Just around 7 per cent of the water now flows in the Jordan River, compared to its historic average. Oases with rich biodiversity have disappeared within a few decades, while climate change and zero sum policies are raising concern for the future of the Nile and the historic rivers of Mesopotamia.

In Jordan’s case, rising temperatures and water scarcity have put heavy pressure on our limited resources—resources strained further by an unnatural population growth driven by the massive influx of refugees. 

The UN has recognised that global refugees and their hosts are among the most vulnerable to climate change. To address this crisis, Jordan has put forward a Climate/Refugee Nexus Initiative. It will prioritise support for host countries that bear the brunt of climate change. Join us in endorsing this initiative.

My friends,

Destructive climate change does not have to define our future. Today we have more expert knowledge, better practical tools, and more targeted approaches than ever before. The opportunities are immense, if we will grasp them. Let me briefly touch on two important drivers of success.

First is close integration between climate-change action and economic development. This holistic approach reflects a basic reality—in the 21st century, sustainable economic development requires green resources and practices, and in turn, a greener world must provide for the aspirations of the world's people.

We are starting to find solutions in renewable energy, water desalination, advanced irrigation technologies, and shifting to electric modes of transportation. 

Today, Jordan's green recovery programme goes hand in hand with our Economic Modernisation Vision. We are making the most of our country's significant solar and wind resources. Jordan is a leader in the region in clean energy production, with 29 per cent of electricity powered by renewables, and we plan to reach 50 per cent by 2030. In the meantime, Jordan has boosted our contribution to greenhouse gas reduction, to double our 2030 goal. And across our economy, green-focused partnerships are set to create new jobs, for a future of hope.

This brings me to a second driver of successful climate action—strong collaborations at the global and regional levels, as well as between public and private sectors, in order to target opportunities and match up resources and capabilities. One critical area is financing for developing countries to mitigate climate damage and adapt to its impact.

Jordan, with a track record of successful, climate-responsive projects, is keen to serve as a regional hub for green growth. We are working in partnership with Egypt, Iraq, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and others to strengthen our entire region. In Jordan itself, we offer a wide array of opportunities for investment in climate-smart initiatives: green infrastructure, electric mobility, agriculture and other sectors. We have joined with the UAE in Project Prosperity that will expand clean energy and water. Another innovative project is taking place at Aqaba's Marine Nature Reserve, where we and international partners will be helping find solutions to ocean climate crises far beyond our shores.

And let me mention one more cause close to Jordan's heart—the urgent call to help save World Heritage Sites endangered by climate change. The Dead Sea and the sacred Jordan River are treasures of the past and legacies for our future. Our generation must not be the broken link. 

My friends,

Good or bad, the world's climate is indivisible; so must we be. In the fight for life on Earth, no one is a bystander; every contribution counts. COP27 has brought us together, to link forces and stand our ground.

We are at the beginning of a long, challenging, and urgent transformation. There may be difficult choices to make, but we need to make them while we can. Let's do so together, as a region and as an international community, and achieve the green, resilient and just world our people deserve.

Thank you.”

The conference, launched by Egypt President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, continues until 18 November, with the participation of leaders and heads of delegations from around the world.

The Jordanian delegation included Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and Director of the Office of His Majesty Jafar Hassan.