I must admit that I’m still learning and triggering thought on Jordan’s knowledge economy potential especially when it comes to the role of women. I also need to state clearly that I’m not a feminist and I believe in Jordanian women’s natural ability to take their part in development shoulder to shoulder with Jordanian men. Every day I encounter a new section of a story that is just beginning. Last week, I had the honor of being the guest speaker in the 2nd meeting for the CWEEL network in Jordan. CWEEL is the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership and Jordan is initiating its chapter through a few active men and women from the energy and environment sectors.
While I had a presentation ready, I navigated through the eyes of the amazing women attending the event and I suddenly decided to speak from the heart to the heart. Telling my humble story was the gate through which we all entered into an honest discussion that was as inspiring to me as it was to the group. For years, we tend to immerse ourselves in the world of work and lose many opportunities for human interaction.. more importantly for listening to another person’s story. In a personalized story, one can find moments and aspirations that could be life-changing.
My theory of the Clean Tech Sector in Jordan is that it will be shaped by its Women. They are rising like stars in various organizations starting from key business associations and NGOs (EDAMA, Jordan Green Building Council, Architects & Engineers Business Council, etc); Regulatory bodies (Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization), Utility Companies, Research and Academia and Financing Institutions. It is still quite rare to find women business owners or CEOs but this is changing soon, I believe. Getting those women connected and sharing stories together will ensure the sector’s success and growth.
Unlock your potential by sharing your story with another woman. I’m grateful for all the stories that added a special flavor to my life!
Mahmoud Shattel through his start-up is providing training to Jordanians (undergrads and fresh grads) on renewable energy issues. http://taqetna.com/
I had the pleasure to speak in a couple of their trainings and can’t agree more that we still need to do a lot to get our youth into the energy sector ins and outs.
One more oustanding team from US EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. Timothy Taylor and Sara Rasmussen. Frank Avvisato from Superfund Redevlopment Program. They gave an excellent overview of the site cleanup and reuse efforts.
One of the unique models for non-for-profit think tanks and research focused instiutes that has been managing to maintain its credibility and neutrality along the ‘tough’ way. Founded by Lester Brown, EPI is positioned as a key resource entity for fact-based advocacy. Matt Roney gave a comprehensive overview of the overarching principles and the main activities of EPI. We also discussed the future of food and agriculture – a subject being tackled by Lester these days. He indicated that EPI is reluctant to accept sponsorships that are not in line with its overarching direction. The list available at this link, http://www.earth-policy.org/about_epi/C91, shows the relative importance of our various funding sources: “…supported by financial contributions from foundations and individuals, along with income from publication sales, honoraria, and royalties.
To me, this is a great model but only if maintained on the long-term through a business plan that would be linked with a corporate sustainability startegy.
One of the interesting initatives that EPI is taking on board is translation of some of its books and publications to some languages.
Takeaways: can we assist in sharing EPI rich resources with institutions and individuals in Jordan through our Jordan GBC database and my own list of contacts? can we help in translating some of the relevant resources to Arabic?
What is to learn by our research institutions from the EPI experience?
As part of the US-Jordan environmental cooperation action plan, USEPA and in cooperation with USAID has contributed to addressing some of Jordan’s national environmental hotspots priorities as well as to compliance and enforcement training for the Ministry of Environment, Royal Environmental Rangers, RSCN and other stakeholders. The cooperation included support for the start-up of the ANECE (Arab Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement) in Amman.
It was a lovely meeting with lots of updates and discussions!
Takeaways: are we following up on all the previous work?
Jane Nishida, Jane Metcalfe, Davis Jones, Shereen Kandil.
One of the best feelings is that of contentment. It was one of those meetings where all participants spoke a common language.
My meeting with Mr Gokhan Akinci and Ms Ifeyinwa Onugha from the joint IFC-WB Special Economic Zones program was very fruitful and insightful. We have enjoyed exchanging updates on what Jordan has been doing to develop its doing business climate and Development Zones regulatory framework as well as on how can IFC/WB SEZ program support our efforts.
Nothing I enjoy better than explaining and marketing our Environmental Sustainability framework that we lead at the Development and Free Zones Commission (DFZC). I presented the various elements and tools we developed to ensure environmental mainstreaming into the planning and management of Development Zones in Jordan starting from requesting Startegic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Starategic Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) on the Zone level. Such mainstreaming at an early stage of preparing the various plans for the Zone ensures more efficient and streamlined socio-economic development and reduces downstream regulatory burden on developers and on Regulators. The next level of environmental regulation is the environmental clearance process which is based on a risk-categorization system for economic activities to ensure that fast-track permits are granted to low-risk activities provided that they abide by a set of General Environmental Conditions, while more professional and technical assessment would be needed through requesting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for high risk activities and a for of Limited Scope EIA for medium risk activities. Such model enables the regulator to focus on key environmental priorities and alleviates unjustified regulatory burden from small and medium businesses. Having a set of pre-agreed upon environmental conditions enhances transparency with the private sector and sets the base for post inspection and monitoring.
I was happy to know that the SEZs program will provide the platform for us to present this model to other Countries as a pilot for regulatory reform. Takeaways, find the time to celebrate years of passion and persistence! Then go back to work.
His recent paper of reform in Jordan has its supporters but he indeed served Jordan and continues to do so from his current position at Carnegie Endowment Center where he ‘enjoys the academic freedom’. I had the pleasure of meeting HE Dr Marwan Muasher and I enjoyed his remarkable insights on Jordan and the Region. While it was a friendly and spontanuous chat, his intellectual thoughts penetrated our discussion with some disappointments and lots of hope for a brighter future.
One thing made me happier during this trip to the US in the middle of the Arab Spring … that is how people here carry respect and hope for Jordan’s home-made reform agenda. They count a lot on the Moroccan and Jordanian models to make all the difference in the Region.
To reiterate Jordan Green Building Council’s commitment to the successful and strategic partnership with the US Green Building Council, issues of mutual interest were discussed with Jennivine Kwan, Vice President of International Operations. Ms Kwan has been a great supporter and mentor for Jordan GBC throughout the founding phase. She deeply and gladly welcomed teh official announcement of the new milestone for Jordna GBC at the World GBC ‘the established status’.
Jordan GBC and USGBC are cooperating on activities related to education and training on LEED and also on policy advocacy and visioning the International LEED framework.
Maggie Comstock shared her experience within the USGBC in policy advocacy and impact made on legislations and Standards. Jordan GBC is working with other NGOs to strengthen the rold of Civil Society Organizations in policy-making and we know the road is still long.
Another active green lady in Philadelphia is Heather Blakeslee from US GBC Deleware Valley Chapter. She highlighted their excellent working relations with USEPA Region 3 and with other stakeholders in the area. She explained the efforts with Schools and also the Impact Map they are developing online for their members. Such efforts were also acknowledged in my meeting with the USGBC indicating that this Chapter is one of the most active in the US.
Green Build 2013 may take place in Philadelphia… news are music to our ears in Amman… we hope to get the 2 Philadelphia s to meet in the Green Built Environment.
Takeaways and follow-ups on the above issues already initaited with Jordan GBC!
My meeting with an old friend who has contributed through her work at US EPA Region 3 and via the US – Jordan cooperation in building capacity in Jordan on various issues including economic instruments for environmental management. Francesca DiCosmo continues to work on making info available to the wider public through tools that are simple, efficient and felxible.
The Green Communities website is one of those tools.
Takeaways, probably this statement will appear a lot on my blog… sustainability mainstreaming needs a Champion (or more) and a lot of staleholders’ engagement (genuine type)… it is a change from within towards bettering the lives of people.
Follow-ups: yes I posted the call for Volunteers to translate some of the Green Communitities Toolkit content to Arabic and we already got two! Let’s have it in Arabic too!
My first official meeting at Philadelphia was with a remarkable Eisenhower Fellow (Maitreyi Roy). She is the Senior Vice President of Programs and Planning at PHS. Ms Roy has not only provided an overview of the greening efforts in Philly but also contributed to introducing many of the key players in the urban sustainability and water issues. So proud of this US Fellow and wish her all the best in her green development journey.
Takeaways, yes, to succeed in sustainability one needs to link to development and socio-economic benefits and needs. PHS has demonstrated the importance of greening to re-attracting population to community neigborhoods and to increasing property value for further business development. NGOs and CBOs continue to be a key consitiuents in the recipe! Well done! Jordan’s NGOs community is on the right direction – we just need to do more on the value proposotion of environment to development sectors.