AMMAN — The French Development Agency (AFD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) signed a 10-million-euro grant agreement in Amman in the presence of French Ambassador to Jordan Véronique Vouland-Aneini with the objective to support the development of ecologically responsible and economically accessible agricultural solutions and techniques in the highlands of Jordan in Mafraq Governorate and in the north of the Jordan Valley.
This project, to which the consortium led by IUCN will finance an additional 618,000 euros, responds to the double challenge of the economic inclusion of vulnerable population, when 16 per cent of Jordanians and 78 per cent of Syrian refugees live below the poverty line and the severe lack of water resources in a country where agriculture contributes 4 per cent of GDP, 15 per cent of employment and 75 per cent of national water consumption, according to a French embassy statement.
The project plans to improve the functioning of existing farms through the use of modern techniques in order to make them more productive and water-use efficient, to improve the working conditions of farmers and workers — decent work, income diversification — to contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians in the agricultural sector, and thus strengthen community resilience by stimulating local economic growth, the statement said.
It will be implemented within the framework of a consortium of organisations bringing together around IUCN, the Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM), specialised in the efficient use of water and the reduction of disaster risk, Greentech, a company specialising in energy efficiency, Blumont International, an NGO that works for the benefit of refugees and host populations, and Horizons for Green Development, a Jordanian NGO whose mission is to support the sustainable development of communities, according to the statement.
The National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) will be closely associated to the project thanks to the setup of a business support incubator, which will serve as an organisational framework for all partners and beneficiaries.
“I am very happy to see France, through the French Development Agency, supporting a sector with such a strong economic potential for Jordan and at the same time addressing its economic, social and environmental issues,” the ambassador said in her speech.
“With this ecologically responsible development pilot project, the French Development Agency contributes to the strengthening of the economic and social resilience of the Jordanian and Syrian refugee populations in the north of the country. Its setup with IUCN partners, which includes the public authorities from the start, thus provides the best operational guarantees of sustainability of the activities to the long term for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. These are two of AFD's strategic priorities in Jordan", commented Luc Le Cabellec, AFD director for Jordan and Iraq.
“IUCN is very pleased to open this new chapter of its presence in Jordan with France and the French Development Agency as partners. The agriculture sector is at the core of IUCN’s mission worldwide and we will work with our Jordanian partners within the frame of this project to deploy effective solutions to support social and economic development and conserve nature,” added Hany El Shaer, IUCN Regional Director for West Asia.
This project is part of the MINKA Middle East Initiative, through which AFD has contributed since 2017 to reducing Iraq's fragilities and supporting its reconstruction, according to the statement.
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