IUCN influences environmental legislations in Jordan

14 March 2011 | News story

Law enforcement is considered a crucial measure that needs to be taken into consideration in parallel with creating social change towards best environmental practices. This requires building the capacities of lawyers and judges to become more aware of the environmental legislations and the impact of the environmental law enforcement on local communities.

Industrial waste was found to be the most damaging element of natural environments in Jordan. The wastewater coming out from poultry slaughterhouses and the hazardous waste like vehicles’ batteries are some of the examples of damaging waste that cause environmental degradation in Jordan, specifically in Zarqa River, a severely polluted river that is affected by industrial and domestic waste.

More than one hundred and fifty lawyers, judges and other relevant stakeholders in Jordan were trained on environmental legislations within a series of workshops that were organized by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature - Regional Office for West Asia through the Zarqa River Restoration Project in partnership with the Jordan Bar Association, Ministry of Environment and Rangers. This training was adopted and incorporated into the Jordan Bar Association’s training program. The workshop was enriched by the technical support of Mrs. Israa Al Turk, a lawyer and an active member of IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (CEL).

“Raising the awareness of Jordanian lawyers will certainly lead to law enforcement and influencing policies at the local and national levels. This workshop is part of a series of workshops that IUCN is planning to conduct in cooperation with the Jordan Bar Association,” said Mufleh Al-Abbadi, IUCN Zarqa River Restoration Project Coordinator.

A field included a filed visit to Zarqa river basin in an aim to address the severe pollution encountering the river. “After the second training workshop two out of twenty two lawsuits that were recorded in local Jordanian courts were successfully won against environmental violators in the Zarqa river area,” said Mrs. Israa Al Turk, a lawyer and an active member of IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) who co-facilitated the workshops.

The workshop resulted in a number of actions by elevating this issue to the parliamentarian level, particularly through the parliamentarian committee that supports the national environmental legislations in Jordan. A seminar on environmental violations was also held on the national level in cooperation with the Agriculture and Water Committees of the Jordanian Parliament.

IUCN ROWA is keen to work with active commission members like Mrs. Al Turk, whose role was influential in creating a change in the law community on the national level. Harnessing the technical expertise of commission members in the West Asia region is key to achieve sustainability in the region.