After many years of relentless efforts to push for the establishment and development of the Bakoura National Park with various Prime Ministers and government officials, and after overcoming all difficulties emerging due to overlapping jurisdictions of different authorities in the area, Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” hard work came to a fruition.
On August the 7th, representatives from “FoEME” finally reached an agreement with the Jordan Valley Authority “JVA” to closely work together to develop the Bakoura into a national park in terms of studies, fundraising, and actual development on the ground. The MoU signed between the JVA represented by H.E Saed Abu Hamour Secretary General and FoEME comes as a first stage for the development of the park. The MoU states that FoEME provides funds for the two phases; the first phase of the project includes producing the business plan; the second stage will be based on the recommendations of the study to develop the project on the ground in accordance with FoEMEs recommendations and environmental message.
The proposed area of the Bakoura National Park, located in the Jordan River Valley at the junction of the Yarmouk and Jordan Rivers, has attracted a lot of attention over the years due to its unique location and rich history. The area is endowed with a diverse ecosystem which allows for the development of sustainable ecotourism activities. Such activities will include, developing bird watching facilities with the aim of attracting some of the over 60 million global bird watching enthusiasts. The reuse of existing infrastructure as eco-lodges and the old hydroelectric power plant as a museum and information center will attract ‘experiential’ tourism that encompasses ecotourism, nature, heritage, cultural and soft adventure tourism. H.E Saed Abu Hamour elaborated that the Park is expected to create local jobs in the area thereby enhancing the local economic situation. In his turn, Mr., Munqeth Mehyar, FoEMEs Jordanian Director affirmed that not only will the park improve local economy, but it will also conserve natural and cultural diversity.
It is worth pointing that similar cooperation between a governmental body entrusted by the Jordanian cabinet to form and head a National Governmental Committee and an NGO to develop the Bakoura National Park sets an unprecedented model of the possible advantages reaped from such cooperation.
This post is contributed by Samar M. Salma, FoEMEs Media Officer at the Amman Office.