A Community-Based Climate Change Assessment at Zarqa River Basin

Place: jordan, Asia
Sustainable development of small rural communities Sustainable development of small rural communities
Total Budget: € 1.490.000,00 | Period: From January 2010 To December 2013


This project is completed by the Social, Ecological, and Agricultural Resilience in the Face of Climate Change in the Mediterranean Region (SEARCH) team, involved a vulnerability assessment in three communities in the Zarqa River Basin. A fundamental core of this project was community involvement in all levels of the project, including the assessment, analysis, and determination of adaptation plans. This project was successful in that it considered the needs of the local community members in Russeifah, Kherbat Al-Hadeed, and Shomar at every step of the project and made sure that they were involved with the process.


The National Center for Research and Development - Jordan

Lead applicant

The National Center for Research and Development (NCRD) was established at the end of 2010 with an objective to develop scientific capabilities in the areas of nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy, Badia research and any other research interest of importance to Jordan. The Center assumed the responsibility over already existing centers and programs in the areas mentioned above. All legal, financial and administrative issues have been transferred to the Center. This arrangement provides an opportunity to maximize the utilization of facilities and the coordination of efforts in order to effectively participate in solving problems facing the various economic sectors. It is envisaged that NCRD will lead research activities in Jordan. This requires the prioritization of research fields, coordination of efforts, alleviation of obstacles and provision of logistical and financial support in order to reach research results that solve problems and develop new products and/or services in all industrial, agricultural, commercial and administrative fields. It is also anticipated that NCRD will participate in translating research results into new projects and investments, and create new employment opportunities. Our Vision: To strive to reach a reputable level in research fields in which Jordanians have a competitive advantage in or are of top priority to Jordan. Our Mission To fully employ research capabilities and expertise in serving the socio-economic development efforts of Jordan and to elevate the output of research activities in order to improve living conditions and to promote the creation of wealth ultimately leading to innovation in Jordan’s economy Objectives 1. Develop research capabilities in Jordan and create networks with researchers abroad. 2. Connect research results with other science, technology and innovation efforts and translate the research results into productive activities or businesses. 3. Participate in solving problems at the national level related to infrastructure, natural resources, and business and production requirements. In order to achieve the above objectives, NCRD performs the following activities: • Identification of local capabilities and efforts in areas of research, available at higher education institutions and research centers in Jordan, and coordination among them. • Establishment of new programs in research fields related to priorities in science, technology and innovation policy in Jordan. • Support for applied research, and encouraging innovation and invention in the fields of work of the center. • Encouraging the establishment of commercially viable companies based on research output. • Convening and participating in conferences, seminars, and workshops in the fields of research of the center. • Human resource development of research personnel and in doing so, cooperation with local, regional and international experts and organizations. • Building research networks among Jordanian researchers and their counterparts abroad. • Encouraging the establishment of research posts in universities and establishing a national network that utilizes sabbatical leaves and cooperative research work. The programs are: • Energy Research Programme • Badia Research Programme • Biotechnology Research Programme • Nanotechnology Research Programme • Water and Food Research Programme

Arab Women Organization of Jordan - Jordan

Initiative partner

AWO advocates for the recognition of women's rights as human rights and for the promotion of legal and political reforms that catalyze positive change. AWO builds partnerships to create solidarity among women and aggregate their efforts in the struggle to end discrimination and violence against women. Through Mosawa Network; a national network for empowering women at the community level, AWO initiates structures and systematic dialogue to promote women’s rights and the provision of services to the poor, vulnerable and the marginalized. The long standing and on-going AWO programmes and initiatives target the sectors of gender equality, human rights & democracy. Innovative approaches are applied to involve women in claiming their rights and to increase their participation in the development processes & the decision-making at the national and local levels.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature - Jordan

Initiative partner

Conserving biodiversity is central to the mission of IUCN. We demonstrate how biodiversity is fundamental to addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges such as climate change, sustainable development and food security. To deliver conservation and sustainability at both the global and local level, IUCN builds on its strengths in the following areas: Science – 11,000 experts setting global standards in their fields, for example, the definitive international standard for species extinction risk – the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Action – hundreds of conservation projects all over the world from the local level to those involving several countries, all aimed at the sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources. Influence – through the collective strength of more than 1,200 government and non-governmental Member organizations, IUCN influences international environmental conventions, policies and laws.

This initiative is part of a project titled Social, Ecological and Agricultural Resilience in the face of climate change in the Mediterranean Region (SEARCH). SEARCH is a 3 year regional project working in five countries to develop and pilot a resilience framework for local action planning capacities and methodologies to increase climate change resilience through joint learning, planning and testing by stakeholders in demonstration sites. It aims to demonstrate how local communities can successfully engage with and overcome the negative impacts of the climate changes. Instead of looking at the implementation of solutions to specific problems, SEARCH concentrates on giving the villagers and other stakeholders the skills and knowledge they need to assess the impacts of the climate changes on their daily livelihoods and the needs of their community, to develop a realistic vision for the future and to go about realizing resiliency of the community to the impact of the climate changes.

The main innovation produced is the full participation of local communities in determining thier ways in agricultural practicies in order to cope with the climate change impacts on their production. Local and individual initiatives stand to help the success of climate change adaptation in Jordan because they are based on participatory approach. By directly involving the members of local communities who stand to be negatively affected by climate change, adaptation plans at the local level have a high level of sustainability. Since it is in the best interest of the community members to be able to adapt to changes in climate in Jordan, they are most likely to see adaptation initiatives through, implementing them even after climate change organizations have left the community. Additionally, participatory approach programs give local community members a voice in the adaptation planning process. 

Participatory planning cycle The participatory planning cycle used
Resilience vision Resilience vision components used

The participatory work approach, which was developed by Empowers Project, was used throughout the study. It is a participatory process that is conducted through several steps that are implemented with the partners in an organized approach. The tactic aims to define the problems, build the vision, and develop the strategies that define the project and its implementation and has intervention authority on it.
 The vision: the desired state of natural resources in the future.
 Scenarios: the process of describing probable futuristic situations based on analyzing contemporary or historical situations and trends.
 Strategies: The groups of general frameworks of intervention that may result in a full or partial achievement of the desired vision based on the group of probable scenarios.
 Plans: a continuous series of activities and decisions that are related to the use of all the resources and are prospected to achieve part of the vision. 

Incorrect resource use Incorrect resource use will result in pollution and environmental damage
River in Russaifa, Jordan River surrounding the populated area in Russaifa, Jordan
Russeifah City a view of Russeifah City, Jordan

The perception of climate change was not clear for the majority of the target community members; however, the discussions showed that most of them knew that there has been a change in the weather, which had impacts on their activities. The targeted community members emphasized that they have felt the change in the temperature in addition to less rainfall but longer cultivation seasons. But most of them believe that they did not contribute to these weather changes and it would not be easy for them to reduce the impact of these changes. The SEARCH team focused on giving detailed information about the climate change phenomena and created a convenient environment for collective learning at each community meeting.
Main achivements:
o Installation of irrigation systems for 9 farmers covering an area of 80 dunums
o Installation of 1 unit of solar panels for water heating
o Planting vegetation along roads
o Raising awareness and building community capacity in the field of climate change

Irrigation systems Installation of irrigation systems for 9 farmers covering an area of 80 dunums in Russaifa area, Jordan
Vulnerability of the agricultural sector This graphical figure illustrates the vulnerability of the agricultural sector in Russeifah, Kherbat Al-Hadeed and Shomar.
Water sector vulnerability A graphical figure that shows the extent of the water sector vulnerability (demand on water and its quality) in Russeifah, Shomar and Kherbat Al-Hadeed

To assess the climate change in the target communities, the study used a community-based participatory approach, bringing together stakeholders from each community into roundtable discussions. The community members had a significant role where they helped to: develop the assessment questionnaire, collect and analyse the data, and propose initial adaptation plans.

The study targeted 3 communities: Russeifah, Kherbat Al Hadeed and Shomar. Russeifah is classified as an agricultural community and shares similar cultivation patterns and uses same water resources. Kherbat Al Hadeed is a small agricultural community in which only 8 farmers are still engaged in farming while 60 members of the community abandoned the agriculture and started industrial activities. On the other hand, Shomar is new urban community depending mainly on private and public jobs.

o Kherbat Al Hadeed and Shomar farmers community
o Russeifah farmers’ community
o Government and non-government organizations, civil society

Local community meeting Participatory approach, local community meeting to identify Russeifah and Kherbat Al-Hadid problem tree
Local community meeting Participatory approach, local community meeting to identify Russeifah and Kherbat Al-Hadid problem tree
Local community meeting Participatory approach, local community meeting to discuss the main needs to develop the Zarqa basin farms

 Dr. Mohammed AL-Oun, PhD in Organic Farming, Water and food Research Program at the National Center for Research and Dedelopment (NCRD)
 Eng. Mohammed AL-Faqieh, Master in Animal Production, Biotechnology Reseach Program at the National Center for Research and Development (NCRD) 

Beneficairy farmer Beneficairy farmer into his own farm at Zarqa River Basin

In this study, poverty is simply defined as   the inability of a person to provide the needed income to meet the basic needs of life (food, residence, clothes, education, health and transport) that enable him to perform his duties in an acceptable manner. Poverty sensitivity (JD/person/day) to climate change was found to be low (50 % of the change occurs in more than 5 years) and the exposure was also found to be low (less than 20 % of the source is affected by the climate change factors).
Unemployment amongst males in the Zarqa governorate was found to be 16.2 % and amongst females it was found to be 9.3%. It is noteworthy that the sensitivity of the employment (ratio of the unemployed to the total workforce to climate change factors) was found to be low, 50 % of change within the resource occurs in more than 5 years. The exposure was found to be low as well (less than 20 % of the resource is affected by the climate change).

Behavioural changes due to Climate Change
Results show that climate change has forced the communities to practice a number of behavioural changes. These are listed along with the noted cause for the change in be behaviour in Table 1 (below). For example, increase in summer temperature and decreases in winter temperature have encouraged people to use heating and cooling systems that have not been used before. This in turn led to higher electricity use. Specifically, cooling systems such as air conditioners have become common in the three communities. 

Behavioural changes due to Climate Change The communities started using solar water heating systems by the SEARCH project.

• Diversity – of the economy, livelihoods and nature,  Diverse markets, industry or farming systems. For example, give people the alternatives they need to be adaptive. Biodiversity ensures the availability of ecosystem services needed to buffer climate impacts and sustain life and productivity.
• Sustainable infrastructure and technology – portfolios that combine both engineered and natural infrastructure, as well as adaptable and sustainable technologies for management and reduction of vulnerabilities. This includes engineering responses as well as infrastructure management. 
• Self-organisation – a critical characteristic of resilient, highly adaptive systems that is implemented in practice through participatory governance and empowerment of people in adaptive institutions.
• Learning – ensuring that individuals and institutions can use new skills and technologies needed to adapt and make effective use of better climate information and adaptation strategies as they become available.

Summary of the Resilience Framework Summary of the Resilience Framework

o to implement the project from the following: Zarka Governorate, Zarka formulated technical committee municipality, Directorate of Social Development,  Environment Directorate, Department of Agriculture, community,  International Union for Conservation of Nature/Office for West Asia
o A questionnaire: a field survey of the area and collect information through the team made up of a variety of community and government departments.  The questionnaire was developed with the communities as a primary tool to assess the climate change
o Field visits to collect information from the beneficiaries such as energy savings before solar panel use and its impact on electricity bills
o Workshops and meetings Based on the questionnaire results, a number of workshops and meetings took place to review the study results, identify the most vulnerable community sectors, describe the climate change impacts, and develop an initial adaptation plan fitted to address the issues for each community. 

Field visits Field visits to collect information from the beneficiaries
Meeting of the formulated technical committee meeting of the formulated technical committee to implement the project