Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM) launched the "Youth for Climate Action" initiative aimed at building the capacities of specialized youth, equipping future leaders, and harnessing specialized available opportunities. This initiative operates within the framework of the WEFE Nexus, under the umbrella of the Jordan Water Harvesting Project.
The initiative was launched under the patronage of the Chairman of INWRDAM's Board, Dr. Mashhoor Al-Rifai, and in the presence of its Executive Director, Dr. Marwan Alraggad. This launch aimed to follow up on the recommendations of the Second National Dialogue on Water Harvesting held in November last year, under the Water Harvesting Project supported by the Dutch Embassy in Jordan.
During INWRDAM's meeting to launch the initiative, 15 environmentally active youth from various provinces were invited to propose specialized recommendations. These proposals are to be included in an upcoming scientific week organized by the current High Council, which allocates activities for youth.
Dr. Al-Rifai announced the Council's adoption of the National Information Bank concept, intending to create a comprehensive database covering all sectors in the kingdom. He stressed the importance of generating distinctive recommendations focusing on the "WEFE Nexus" during the upcoming week, highlighting the qualified youth's role in research and innovation and emphasizing available opportunities to transform these into national success stories.
He pointed out that the National Innovation Center might adopt many of the youth's innovative stories, emphasizing the importance of organizing a dedicated "Local Water" day. He also highlighted the preliminary approval to transfer the Scientific Research and Innovation Support Fund to the Higher Council for Science and Technology. He stressed the necessity of dialogue between academic experts, scientific institutions, and decision-makers due to an identified gap in this regard.
The participants proposed organizing a local day dedicated to "water," coinciding with World Water Day, involving youth activists specializing in the water and environmental sectors. They emphasized the need for an in-depth study regarding the current water situation within shared water basins, especially the Al-Wehda Dam shared between Jordan and Syria. The goal is to assess its status, particularly given the political tensions in Syria, turning this study into a policy document for decision-makers.
Alraggad mentioned plans to crystallize and build the initiative's capacities and strategies over a whole year, culminating in forming a Youth Council supported by INWRDAM. He highlighted INWRDAM engagement in capacity-building activities for youth within the Islamic Red Sea High-Level Meeting, scheduled to be held in Amman later this month.
He also pointed out additional opportunities through INWRDAM-coordinated initiatives, such as the Blue Peace initiative, which includes training youth in negotiation skills. Moreover, INWRDAM supported the development of an agricultural innovation incubator, fostering entrepreneurship in the National Center, aimed at supporting innovative ideas to shape a distinct future for the youth.
Further elucidating government efforts to adapt to climate change, Alraggad referenced Amman Municipality's adoption of the Amman Flood Diversion Project, converting downtown floods into the Kafrein Dam. This project involves a tunnel guiding water along specific paths, capable of securing an additional 6 million cubic meters that can be economically utilized or stored in the Kafrein Dam, according to network studies from 2019.
He highlighted the project's extensive planning over several years, from conducting analytical flood studies to ensuring no adverse impact on other areas, ultimately leading to its approval. He emphasized the significant potential of this project in establishing agricultural and eco-tourism projects in western Amman villages within the Bahaath region and Wadi Al-Shita, reviving springs and environmental systems in these areas. The estimated cost of the project is 15 million Jordanian dinars, with the possibility of recovering these costs within 3 to 4 years from the value of the transferred water.
Dr. Raha Al-Assaf, a Jordanian researcher at the University of Vienna in Austria, stressed the importance of expanding the utilization of non-traditional water sources, such as treated water for agricultural purposes, using natural solutions to enhance the quality of wastewater. She also suggested redirecting a portion of the Al-Kharrar Station's water towards the east, expanding land reclamation using solar energy. This suggestion stems from the expected massive water influx into the Jordan Valley if the neighboring mountainous areas are reconstructed.
Anwar Al-Nazami, an activist, highlighted the significance of media and dissemination via social media as widely accepted tools. Through the Environmental Journalism Initiative launched with five young women, the goal is to raise community awareness and represent Jordan in international forums, actively participating in the country's developmental journey.