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Jordan cannot work single-handedly to address water, energy issues

By Mahmoud Al Abed, Jordan Times
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

AMMAN — Jordan, which tops the list of the world’s 10 thirstiest countries and imports 97 per cent of its energy, cannot work single-handedly to address these twin problems, speakers at an annual scientific event said on Monday.

In his remarks at the opening of the 12th Jordanian Scientific Week yesterday, HRH Prince Hassan said the approach to address issues of water and energy should be expanded by inviting other countries and regions to be part of efforts to work out solutions.

The world’s population is growing by a quarter of a million people everyday and resources are getting scarcer, he said.

Participants at the event, organised by the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST), are discussing five major topics related to energy, water and the human environment.

The Prince said a solution to the energy shortage through feasible use of renewable alternative sources, which can also be used to produce water, is likely to defuse conflicts, especially those motivated by the struggle over oil.

The region where Jordan is located, he added, should first be clear of weapons of mass destruction and the funds spent on these programmes and the arms race should be directed towards research in the field of renewable energy and efforts aimed at addressing global challenges such as climate change and global warming.

“I am reinventing the wheel when I say that we, our neighbours and the entire planet are in the same boat. Global warming and climate change are threats to us all. Lack of rain leads to drought, jeopardises the lives of people and their livestock and triggers waves of immigration, misery and human suffering,” Prince Hassan said.

In this context, he suggested a comprehensive development plan for the region extending from West Asia to East Africa, underlining the fact that countries in this region share similar challenges.

“If there are already no mechanisms for regions like these, new ones should be worked out so as to define their priorities and find common ground between their identities on the one hand, and the requirements of globalisation on the other,” the Prince told an audience of mainly scientists and researchers from Jordanian institutions.

In his address at the event, newly appointed Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Khalid Shraideh, who held the post of the HCST secretary general and presided over the event’s preparatory committee, focused on the role of science and technology in the drafting of water and energy policies and strategies, management and consumption control.

He called for establishing an entity to manage technology transfer and for local development of technology related to these fields. The proposed entity should also network with peer organisations in the world and, ultimately, play an effective role in the development process in Jordan.

The opening ceremony also included a lecture by Professor Norbert Auner from the Goethe-University in Frankfurt, who discussed prospects of using silicon as an energy carrier and Jordan’s potential in this regard.

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