By Hana Namrouqa
AMMAN - As the country awaits the formation of a new government, environmental NGOs and activists have urged Prime Minister-designate Awn Khasawneh to place environment protection among the national priorities of the new Cabinet.
In a letter sent to Khasawneh on Thursday night, the NGOs and a group of activists urged him to select a minister of environment who is competent and experienced with environmental issues.
“Selection of the environment minister in some previous governments was based on every consideration except their environment-related experience and knowledge,” Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) Director General Yehia Khaled, told The Jordan Times on Saturday.
The environmentalists also expressed concerns about merging the Ministry of Environment with another ministry, warning that such a move would constitute a setback to progress in the sector.
“Jordan needs a strong ministry of environment that is capable of activating and enforcing environment laws… environmentalists never had a say in the process of choosing an environment minister, we are hopeful that this will change,” Khaled said.
The conservationist noted that environmental challenges are as important as political and economic issues.
The letter outlined the Kingdom’s main environmental challenges that the new Cabinet should address, such as tackling pollution, limiting depletion of natural resources, catalysing green and sustainable investments and attracting international funding for environment projects.
“Several other thorny issues are on the Jordanian environmental agenda that necessitate competent scientific, technical and political references to address... investment, environment protection and monitoring of nuclear energy projects,” the NGOs said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to The Jordan Times.
They expressed their willingness to help the new government deal with the environmental challenges and work jointly to guarantee that environmental regulations are the foundation for related decisions.
Jordan Times, 23 October 2011