23 May 2022, Amman. Today, hosted under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, day one of the Global Land Forum kicked off with the theme “pathways to climate solutions”.
The Forum is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, taking place in the Dead Sea at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre. More than 800 participants, speakers, and experts representing 78 countries came together to discuss critical issues related to climate change, land rights, food systems and other topics.
The Global Land Forum is organised every three years by the International Land Coalition. This year’s ninth edition is hosted by Jordan, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Seeds, and in partnership with the EU.
Representing His Majesty, the Minister of Agriculture, Eng. Khaled Al-Hanifat, emphasised in his speech that Jordan is proud to be a model for moderation, despite protracted crises and conflicts. The country is also committed to its humanitarian role towards those within the region and throughout the world, and to working within a clear framework in dealing with climate change. In response, Jordan is introducing water harvesting programs, clean water supply, and optimization techniques in water treatment plants to increase forest coverage.
Al Hanifat stated that Jordan is also proud of the great and important partnerships with other countries and international organisations working together to deal with pressing issues including the refugee crisis and climate change. He also highlighted how the plan will support global efforts in achieving food security, reflecting his Majesty’s early realisation of the global food crisis and the urgency to act towards creating solutions.
The Forum aims at opening the door to global debate on issues of land, its government and sovereignty, environment, and climate issues, and launch the “Strategy for Stakeholder Engagement in Land Governance and Management in Jordan.”, which has been prepared by the National Committee under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan and in partnership with all ministries, government institutions, and civil society organizations to develop the first land governance strategy in Jordan.
The National Committee, consisting of 22 government agencies, ministries, and institutions, discussed in the first day 7 topics related to Jordan and the region: decentralization, climate change, youth in rural areas, building partnerships, women's rights and equality with men, peace building, and pasture lands.
The forum represents an opportunity for dialogue between different parties and countries in the region on major issues in the global days (Tuesday-Thursday) such as: climate change, food, defending the land and the environment.
Ministers of Agriculture from 7 countries also took the opportunity to meet and consider the role of land governance in addressing the climate crisis and preparing for the COP27 conference, in a closed session jointly organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The European Union Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou, stressed the importance of the themes that will be addressed by the Forum as timely and relevant globally; including decentralisation that protects rural lands; addressing climate change challenges through the energy-water-food nexus; supporting youth in rural areas; and developing regional and national partnerships: “These themes are relevant to all of us, and they are also relevant to Jordan, which is a country facing a severe shortage of natural resources, and more particularly water shortage. Jordan is working hard, through partnerships to overcome these challenges, converting them to investment opportunities and engaging equally all parts of society. It is also a country that throughout its history welcomed and hosted thousands of refugees, which places additional pressures on these limited recourses.”
“We are in a climate emergency. While the whole world’s attention is on the crisis, securing the rights of those who live on and from the land is still not getting the necessary attention it deserves as a viable solution. Although we commend the positive recognition at the COP26 of the role played by indigenous peoples, world leaders have so far failed to adequately address land tenure as a whole, nor mention the role of the world’s smallholder farmers”, says Mike Taylor, Director of the International Land Coalition.
The voice of the Youth was also present at the Global Earth Forum. For the first time, the “Global Land Youth Forum” brought together 100 young (18–35-year-olds) from Jordan and 32 countries, to discuss various issues over two days prior to the Global Land Forum 2022 to come up with a “Youth Declaration” that reflects their vision and demands. The Declaration was presented on the first day of the Global Forum.
To kick off the week’s activities on 22 May, a tree planting ceremony took place to inaugurate the GLF forest where 200 trees of acacia, eucalyptus, carob and sidr trees were planted on a forest land in the Al-Salt area. This activity is the first stage of afforestation of an area of 100 acres.