Amman—His Majesty King Abdullah II on Monday, May 31st, chaired the inaugural meeting of the international honorary advisory board formed recently to supervise the Aqaba Marine Park project, which seeks to boost efforts to safeguard coral reefs and marine life in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, in line with Sustainable Development Goals and countering the impact of climate change.
The advisory board groups world renowned marine scientists and scholars, climate change and sustainable development experts, as well as environmentalists and explorers, to provide strategic support to Jordan in the process of developing the Aqaba Marine Park, transforming it into an international centre for marine biology research, a safe haven for marine life and corals, and a global ecotourism destination.
During the meeting, held via teleconference, King Abdullah II urged conserving the coral reefs unique to the Gulf of Aqaba and promoting scientific research to utilise their distinctive features to help mitigate the impact of climate change on coral reefs around the world, calling for bolstering international efforts to counter the impact of pollution and rising temperatures on marine biology.
Recent studies show that coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba are able to thrive despite rising sea temperatures caused by climate change, unlike other reefs around the world which are threatened by high temperatures and are subject to bleaching.
His Majesty was briefed by the board on their suggestions for the various stages of planning and implementation of the Aqaba Marine Park project. Members of the board, who are involved in the project on a voluntary basis, commended Jordan’s efforts to safeguard marine biodiversity and address the impact of climate change, asserting that this will, in turn, reflect positively on water security, tourism, and the economy.
The project, in line with Royal directives, includes Jordan’s first marine reserve, and will help advance efforts to place the site on UNESCO’s biosphere reserve list and other global reserve networks. It will also include an aquarium and scientific research and ecotourism facilities.
The Aqaba Marine Park project is in line with Jordan’s ongoing efforts to counter the impact of climate change and contribute to international efforts in this regard.
The Kingdom has recently launched the National Green Growth Action Plan focused on green recovery from the impact of COVID-19. The plan includes measures to upscale energy efficiency, strengthen Jordan’s resilience and adaptation in water and agriculture, and mainstream climate change in local development planning.
Jordan is also party to international environmental agreements such as the Paris Agreement, the Montreal Protocol, and the Rio Conventions.