MED4EBM in Jordan participated in a workshop on Women and Youth Empowerment in Marine Protected Areas Management



A national workshop on Women and Youth Empowerment in Marine Protected Areas Management was conducted in Aqaba, Jordan in collaboration between the University of Jordan and UNDP Jordan Country Office in two sessions on June 2th and 21st 2022. MED4EBM project was represented by the lead beneficiary and the Jordanian partner, the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan “JREDS”. The University of Jordan, Aqaba Branch was represented by the Faculty of Basic and Marine Sciences supported by a Fulbright programme. The two sessions of the workshop which were attended by about 40 participants each representing various stakeholders aimed at enhancing the role of two important segments of society in the conservation of marine resources and consolidating the foundation of coastal zone management following ecosystem based community participative approach.

The workshop was inaugurated by the Environment and Tourism Commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), H E Dr. Nedal Al-Majali who stressed in his opening address the importance of international collaboration to Jordan in general and to ASEZA in particular. He emphasised the importance of enhancing the role of women and youth in the management process and the role of the local community in supporting Aqaba Nature Reserve valuing the role of the reserve in sustaining the limited coastal and marine natural resources in Jordan. He concluded pointing out to the importance of protecting ecosystems through scientific means and participatory work, such as maintaining a live database and using the means of ecosystem-based management wishing the participants fruitful discussions that lead to sustainability and enhanced ecosystem services to the local communities.

Discussions in the two sessions of the workshop, which were almost identical for the purpose of outreaching to a broader audience touched based on “Aqaba Marine Reserve”, its definition, components and management. Aqaba Marine Reserve Management Plan is a written, reciprocal and approved document that describes the site,  management issues, opportunities for its management to protect nature, the natural arrangement and the nature of the land with a strategic plan that includes clear goals to implement its outputs within a specified period of time. The current Management Plan was prepared in 2021 to be implemented between 2021-2026. This  was the result of a participatory work that ensured engagement of all spectra and sectors. The Plan also emphasizes the role of the marine reserve in tourism and economic development.

Discussions also highlighted the importance of the present event as one of the as a synergy between the University of Jordan and UNDP Country Office, MED4EBM Project in particular. It clearly conveyed to the audience the opportunity to benefit from effective management tools that can be used by all actors concerned with the coastal and marine resources in Aqaba. An introduction to MED4EBM Project has been presented outlining that the Project has activities in four marine and coastal regions with some common challenges in management despite the different natural settings. While three out of the four regions are estuaries on the Mediterranean Sea witnessing river – sea interaction and encompassing wetlands, the fourth region is in Aqaba on the Red Sea, where no regular rivers exist and even rainfall is very low resulting in almost no seasonal rivers in the area, but it hosts coral reefs reported to be globally distinguished in their resilience to climate change impacts.