Jordan has been a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since its entry into force in October 2014.
Biodiversity in Jordan
Jordan is at the intersection of three continents and has four biogeographical regions – the Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian, Sudanian penetration – and four major ecosystem groups: desert, scarp and highland, subtropical, and freshwater. Species occurrence is yet to be fully documented but the country is estimated to host about 4000 wild species of flora and fauna.
Traditional medicine plays an important role in Jordan because of the country’s diversity in medicinal and herbal plants. However, the pharmaceutical, curative and economic potential of the country’s 485 species of medicinal plants occurring in 12 hotspots are yet to be fully exploited.
Jordan’s biodiversity is under threat from over-grazing, intensive agricultural practices, excessive hunting, urbanization, and pollution, which have led to the destruction of natural habitats and ecosystems and may lead to desertification if unchecked.
Nagoya Protocol and ABS Implementation
Jordan has been a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since its entry into force in October 2014. The country’s legal instruments for biodiversity protection include the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020, the Environment Protection Law (Number 52, 2006), the Bylaw on Protected Areas and National Parks (Number 29, 2005), the Bylaw on Environmental Impact Assessment (Number 37, 2005), and the Agriculture Law of the Ministry of Agriculture (Number 44 of the year 2002). Most of these instruments pre-date the Nagoya Protocol and need to be aligned with the provisions of the Protocol, especially those relating to Access to genetic resources Benefit Sharing (ABS), compliance and traditional knowledge obligations.
Current UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project Activities
The UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project supports actions to review existing national legislation and establish governance systems for effective management of genetic resources and traditional knowledge at all levels. Awareness is being created about ABS issues, rights and procedures in support of the new governance structures and procedures.
To enhance ABS implementation, bioprospecting and biodiversity conservation, the project is helping to strengthen synergies and cooperation among ABS stakeholders and to support relevant institutions in fulfilling their mandates. One of the priorities identified by stakeholders, and which the project is supporting, is the identification, compilation and analysis of the status of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources held by local communities in the country, including their rights over such resources and knowledge. Other workstreams include characterization of genetic resources and development of an online information system for ABS with linkage to the national and global ABS clearing house.
Two pilot cases, on medicinal plants and agriculture, are being implemented to test how ABS activities and procedures can be applied and integrated into the national biodiversity framework, including the development and testing of due diligence guidelines and ABS regulation for the research sector. The project is partnering with the International Union on the Conservation of Nature to explore, among other things, how ABS can be used as a tool to improve the livelihoods of local communities.