The remarkable biodiversity of Jordan is a reflection of its varied physical characteristics which have yielded an unusual case of richness in landforms and biological diversity in terms of landscapes, ecosystems and species. At the intersection of three continents, Jordan encapsulates four bio-geographical regions: Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian, and the Sudanian Penetration. All four transform into 13 vegetation types which, in turn, embrace over 4,000 species of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine fauna and flora. In 2003, Jordan adopted its first national biodiversity strategy and action plan, and after ten years of concerted efforts to safeguard its biodiversity, the update of the strategy took place to reconfirm Jordan’s commitment to conserving its biodiversity, continuing its alignment with the global movement under the Convention on Biological Diversity, and renewing its response to the continued loss of ecosystems and species as a result of the direct and indirect threats that hinder the sustainability of the country’s diversity.
In 2014, the biodiversity of Jordan still faces many challenges and constraints including the continuation of habitat destruction as a result of uncontrolled urban expansion, overgrazing, excessive woodcutting, unplanned mining, and unbalanced water use, in addition to wildlife persecution, alien and exotic species invasion, inadequate tourism development, and the more recent challenge of refugees who have fled to the country as a result of regional political instabilities. These threats are further accelerated by the impacts of climate change, especially in a country of high vulnerability level such as Jordan. Threats to biodiversity are a result of a set of underlying causes including lack of general awareness, weak governance, lack of connection between science and development, inadequate knowledge systems, and finally, the absence of effective sustainable financing for biodiversity programs.
The update of the NBSAP comes in continuation to Jordan’s strategic approach towards biodiversity conservation. The update process addressed the legal framework and its associated institutional setup as related to biodiversity. It was then built around an in-depth analysis of the 2003 NBSAP in terms of approach, stakeholder involvement, structure, and implementation modalities. The updated NBSAP was developed around addressing the direct and indirect causes of biodiversity loss, with particular focus on the issues of governance as the backbone of a successful NBSAP implementation. This included the enhancement of the role of national coordination mechanisms, the encouragement of improved inter-institutional collaboration, the adoption of a courageous financing strategy, the enhancement of the participation of national and local stakeholders, and finally, investment in the new generation of biodiversity decision makers, practitioners, and beneficiaries. The 2020 NBSAP embraces a new vision for Jordan’s biodiversity as follows: “By 2050, the biodiversity of Jordan is valued for its national heritage vitality, conserved for the well-being and enjoyment of people, and sustainably used for the benefits of current and future generations.”