Jordan-Netherlands Policy Dialogue on Water and Agriculture kicks off with High-Level Event

Amman, Jordan – 14 February 2022 – Today, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with leading Dutch academic institution Wageningen University and Research (WUR), kicked off a policy dialogue under the title of “Confronting the Challenges of Water Scarcity: Seeking Viable, Sustainable and Prosperous Options for Agriculture & Water in 2050”. This high-level opening kicked off a six-part series which aims to bring representatives from the agriculture and water sectors together to propose and discuss ways to increase the socio-economic value creation by agriculture, while reducing its water use in light of Jordan’s acute water scarcity. 

Image: ©MoWI

The session was launched in the presence of H.E. Mr. Harry Verweij, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Jordan, H.E. Eng. Mohammed Al Najjar, Minister of Water and Irrigation (MoWI) and H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al-Hiari on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture (MoA) H.E. Eng, Khaled Al-Hnaifat and Director of NARC, H.E. Dr. Nizar Haddad.

Amongst those in attendance were SG of the Water Authority of Jordan, H.E. Bashar Al Bataineh, SG of the Jordan Valley Authority, Eng. Manar Al Mahasneh and SG of the Ministry of Environment, H.E. Mohammad Khashashneh. In addition, a wide range of representatives from Jordanian academic institutions, private sector and I/NGOs were participating.

Image: ©MoWI Jordan

During his opening remarks, the Dutch Ambassador said: “I am very pleased to launch this initiative today. The Netherlands puts great importance on collaborating with partners to solve global and local water challenges. We hope that this form of multi-stakeholder dialogue sessions results in strong recommendations that Jordan can take on board in its policy making process and implementation”.

The policy dialogues are funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands as part of its water programming, which aims to work alongside Jordanian authorities and stakeholders to tackle Jordan’s water crises through capacity building, supporting management of alternative water resources and the exchange of knowledge and skills. In addition, this initiative is fully aligned with Jordan’s Green Growth National Action Plan 2021-2025 which calls for the establishment of a culture of knowledge exchange, innovation, sharing and collaboration.

Image: ©MoWI

During his opening speech, H.E. Eng. Mohammad Al Najjar, Minister of Water and Irrigation said, “The strategy of the MoWI is proceeding effectively to meet the various challenges facing the water sector, especially the lack of water resources in light of climate change.” He also added, “Meetings that bring together all the relevant stakeholders, from ministries, donors and academia leads us to establishing a common understanding of the reality of water and agriculture.”

For his part, SG of the Ministry of Agriculture, Eng. Muhammad Al-Hiari said, "The Ministry of Agriculture aims to support farmers by organizing and developing the agricultural sector by preserving it for a developed and sustainable sector that preserves agricultural resources, the most important of which is water, and meets the requirements of internal and external markets."

WUR is one of the top-ranked universities in the world in the fields of Agriculture and Food Security. Through these policy dialogues, WUR seeks to bring the water and agricultural sectors at political, administrative and stakeholder levels together, to come up with a joint approach for agriculture and water developments in Jordan that is: a) harmonised in terms of the sectors’ mutual dependency and sustainable in light of future economic and climate challenges; and b) provides an outlook for the sectors’ economic development and contribution to the sustainability and wellbeing of Jordan’s society.

“Given the increasing water allocation to domestic use under an overexploited water resources base, it’s essential to explore future options for socio-economic value creation by agriculture while reducing its water use”, said Professor Dr. Petra Hellegers from Wageningen University.  

The policy dialogues will cover the existing important agricultural production regions of the Jordan Valley and the Highlands. Three workshops will be held in each area at expert and stakeholder level, culminating in a set of policy recommendations to inform policy making and implementation.