The scope of RSCN’s work has evolved enormously over the last 20 years, and especially after embracing the principles of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which encouraged developing countries like Jordan to link nature conservation to social and economic development. RSCN has been a pioneer in the Region in creating nature-based enterprises, like eco-tourism, that support the sustainable and effective management of protected areas and improve the livelihoods of local communities; and also in developing a team based, objective-led management philosophy that sits in a strong operational framework of scientific research, conservation know-how and public awareness programs.
But like many pioneers, RSCN has been suffering from an ever expanding mandate, as it builds on its success and tries to safeguard the Kingdom’s increasingly threatened ecosystems, habitats and species. Since 1992, the number of staff in the Society has grown from under 60 to over 300 today and the huge increase in work load has created issues of resources, staff capacity and long-term sustainability. It was these stresses and strains that led to the development of RSCN’s new ambitious strategy (2015-2020).
It is clear, then, that RSCN is poised and ready for restructuring and a key aim of the Strategy is to bring the Society’s core conservation functions in line with the best international practices and to capitalize on the innovations, which have already gained international recognition. We are happy to see that Protected Areas remain at the forefront of the Strategy and that a great deal of attention is given to improving their management and their ability to sustain themselves and drive local economies. Our community engagement model is also revisited in the Strategy, with a radical shift in emphasis from direct employment on a limited scale to facilitating a wider range of socio-economic benefits to more people in a more targeted way by working hand-in-hand with both government and private sector agencies. We are also excited by the ideas presented for expanding RSCN’s nature enterprises, where eco-tourism, craft products, the Wild Jordan cafe and other nature-centred business operations will be developed with private partners in order to provide much greater sources of revenue to sustain RSCN over the long term.