Youth Ministry, UNICEF host panel, exhibition on climate change

Local volunteers with Ahel Al-Balad carrying out a clean-up initiative. (Photo: Handout from Mohammad Asfour)
AMMAN — Jordan remains one of the most water stressed nations in the world, and the continued impact of climate change is only exacerbating the challenge. The International Committee of the Red Cross has reported that increases in temperature will only complicate existing water scarcity for Jordan, especially when coupled with potentially inconsistent precipitation patterns. اضافة اعلان

While Jordan’s climate change issues are mainly the concern of the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Youth plays a notable role in raising awareness about climate change for Jordan’s youth, as well supporting them in any innovative entrepreneurial projects that address climate change issues. 

A panel discussion followed by an exhibition on Monday, hosted by the Ministry of Youth and funded by UNICEF, under the theme “Sustainability of Climate Change”, aimed to promote recent environmental projects and innovations by young Jordanian entrepreneurs and students, who gathered at the event from various governorates to exchange knowledge and experiences.  

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Youth Hussein Jbour told Jordan News that the ministry seeks to organize more events and conferences for Jordanian youth to encourage entrepreneurship and the development of environmentally sustainable projects and products.

“The Ministry of Youth is the primary supporter and endorser of any and all youth initiatives in the Kingdom, and it is our job to support and promote the latest entrepreneurial ideas of our youth,” he said.

Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Jordan Ashraf Bany Mohammed, who was one of the panelists, described the event as “successful,” having attracted the attendance of Jordanian startups that have done impressive work.  He told Jordan News that “these companies are licensed, and they are making some money while emphasizing environmental sustainability as their core focus.”

There was no shortage of interesting environmentally friendly innovations presented during the event, Bany Mohammed affirmed. “One particular piece of work that was presented which especially impressed me was this project that aims to use the algorithms of artificial intelligence (AI), through image recognition, which help to identify certain types of solid waste to help sort out these wastes by their type. This AI also helps with scheduling processes, as well as the movement of waste trucks.”

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Jordan has regularly collaborated in the past with the Ministry of Youth in order to organize similar conferences. Another supporter and collaborator is the Jordan River Foundation, which organized a youth conference on Monday, according to Bany Mohammed.

In addition to entrepreneurs, numerous volunteer groups and students were also invited to the meeting and expo as the ministry continues to focus much of its efforts on ramping up the youth’s awareness on climate change, especially on Jordan's water scarcity issues.

“From 2016 to 2020, the amount of financial investment in environmentally friendly companies that are involved in climate change related work has increased by nearly 605 percent, globally,” said Bany Mohammad, adding that some estimates suggest that the total investment globally into these eco-friendly companies “could reach $2 trillion.”

Ministry of Youth spokesperson Firas Shawabkeh told Jordan News that “not teaching our own youth about climate change is undoubtedly a negative thing that we must avoid at all costs. Climate change today is something that is discussed in every part of the world, we cannot simply ignore it. I cannot comment on whether or not the topic is being sufficiently discussed in our public schools, because I do not have the knowledge. But I can assure you that our ministry takes issues like greenhouse gases and unemployment very seriously.”

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