World Bank contributes $5 million to herbal conservation in Jordan
The World Bank's Board of Directors approved a five million dollar grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to help the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan improve the conservation of medicinal and herbal (M/H) plants and the livelihood of rural communities.
The GEF's five-million dollar contribution has leveraged an additional $9.2 million in co-financing from the Government of Jordan and other international organizations for the World Bank/GEF project.
Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, the flora of Jordan is rich in medicinal and aromatic plants, herbs and spices integral in preventive and curative health practices for local people and their livestock.
M/H plants have played important roles, providing ecological, genetic, social, cultural, economic, and scientific values. In addition to enhancing health care and the rural well being for local communities, many plants contribute to reducing soil and water loss.
"The over-harvesting and over-grazing of medicinal and herbal plants in their natural habitats, combined with the increasing demand for these plants, have led to depletion of natural stocks in the wild. The project will address the root causes of biodiversity loss and barriers to sustainable use," says Nicole Glineur, senior environmental specialist at the World Bank.
According to studies related to the identification of endemic, rare and endangered flora conducted in Jordan, an estimated 100 species of endemic and rare plants comprising about 2.5 percent of the total flora have been identified. A total of 485 species of medicinal plants, which belong to 330 genera and 99 families, have been recorded in Jordan.
The M/H Plant Conservation Project will support Jordan's capacity to sustainably manage the wild genetic resource base of M/H plants, diminish threats to M/H species, and identify and protect key biodiversity areas.
The project will also establish an operational database, gene pool and monitoring system, improve the livelihood of rural communities, promote public awareness and environmental education on M/H plants, and engage local communities in conservation, management and income generating programs.
Jordan ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on November 12, 1993 and the Desertification Convention in 1996. It has been one of the most successful countries at implementing key community-driven development conservation activities. Sustainable use of M/H plants is one of the key priorities identified by a 1998 National Biodiversity Study that recommends more extensive work to protect Jordan's rich diversity of M/H plants, along with enhanced agricultural diversification and the efficient use of land and water.
The project reflects the World Bank Country Assistance Strategy for Jordan, which places emphasis on, among other issues, improving water resource management and environmental protection as a means to fight poverty. The project also incorporates other core themes such as social and rural development through capacity-building, poverty reduction through income-generating activities and better management of high demand natural resources, and private sector involvement. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)