U.S. Ambassador to Jordan R. Stephen Beecroft recently highlighted government-community partnerships that foster sustainable development in Aljoun, Jordan.
American Ambassador R. Stephen Beecroft on Thursday, July 16, visited Ajloun Nature Reserve and the nearby the Rangers Academy, the cornerstone for which was laid by King Abdullah last June upon announcing the establishment of the Ajloun Special Development Zone. The Ambassador’s visit underscored U.S. support for the Jordanian's efforts to address environmental issues. The visit highlighted the importance of government-community partnerships that foster sustainable development.
Upon his arrival at the reserve, Ambassador Beecroft was greeted by Minister of Environment Eng. Khalid Irani, who provided a tour. They were accompanied by USAID Mission Director Jay Knott, Director of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) Yahya Khalid, and Director of Wild Jordan Chris Johnson. Mr. Johnson gave a briefing on the new Rangers Academy being built over two, 500 square meters of land near Ajloun Nature Reserve. The project is scheduled for completion by 2010, and the academy is expected to host trainings for up to 150 Jordanians and regional participants every year on ecological conservation, eco-tourism, environmental inspection, investigation, and enforcement of environmental laws.
In remarks during the visit, Ambassador Beecroft commended the Jordanian government’s focus on environmental issues and the establishment of the Rangers Academy to build capacity at the local level and provide future assistance to partners of what could become a regional network. He added: “The United States is proud to partner with Jordan to improve the lives of its citizens through sustainable environmental policies, the protection of natural resources, economic growth, and strengthened institutions involved in environmental law enforcement.” Ambassador Beecroft noted that this year marks the 60th anniversary of U.S.-Jordanian diplomatic and development ties.
Later in the day, the Ambassador visited the nearby small town of “Arjan wa Rasoon,” where he stopped at a local soap-making center and a calligraphy center that developed as part of an eco-tourism project in the area. Eco-tourism is becoming an important sector in Jordan, diversifying the country’s economy by providing jobs and promoting environment-friendly tourism.