Skip Navigation

Website Sections

Middle East Environmental Law


The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan gained independence in 1946. It is a constitutional monarchy with a conventional hereditary system. Jordan is bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the southeast, and the Palestinian territories and Israel to the west. It is ruled by the Hashemite family, which can trace its lineage to the fifth century.

Under the Constitution of Jordan, Islam is the state religion and Arabic is the official language. The nation has a parliamentary system of government with a hereditary monarchy, which means that the King is the head of the state and the Prime Minister is the head of the government and the chief of the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in the the Parliament, which consists of an upper house, the Senate, the members of which are appointed by the King, and a lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, the members of which are selected by a popular election held every four years.

The parliament has the authority to adopt and amend the Constitution, enact legislation, and approve the state budget. The parliament also has the power to request policy information by directing questions to particular ministers on matters relating to the performance of their duties. The Chamber of Deputies can impeach ministers by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Chamber. An impeachment must be presented to a tribunal consisting of both Senate members and Judges. Moreover if an absolute majority of the Chamber of Deputies approves a vote of no confidence in the Council of Ministers, the Council must resign.

The Prime Minister is appointed by the King and in turn appoints the members of the cabinet. The Chamber of Deputies must approve a vote of confidence in the government before the ministers can officially exercise their powers. If the Chamber of Deputies fails to approve a vote of confidence, the King must dismiss the government and appoint a new one.

The judicial branch operates independently from the other branches. While judges are appointed and can be dismissed by the King, the operations of the judiciary are in practice supervised by the Higher Judicial Council. The Council, headed by judges, supervises the judges in the kingdom, including the appointment, delegation, promotion, transfer, accountability, disciplining and retirement. Thier Constitution divides the courts into three categories: civil, religious and special courts. The civil courts exercise general jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including cases brought against the government. The Supreme Court of Jordan (Court of Cassation) is the highest court and is made up of 15 judges.

The population of Jordan in 2010 was estimated at 6,113,000. Arabs represent the largest portion (98%) of the population of Jordan. Caucasians, Chechens, and Armenians make up the rest of the population. Islam is the predominant religion (96%), followed by Christianity (4%).

Environmental Regulation


The primary law governing environmental management in Jordan is Environment Protection Law No. 52. The law was adopted in 2006 and established the Ministry of Environment. Article 3 designates the Ministry of Environment as the only competent authority for the protection of the environment as well as the lead entity environmental affairs at the national, regional and international level. Articles 4 and 5 define the competencies and tasks of the Ministry and require public and private entities to implement instructions and resolutions issued under the provisions of the Environment law.

The Environment Law addresses water protection, air protection, nature protection, environmental impact assessments and protection against chemical contamination.

• Regulation No. 26 of 2005 on pollution prevention in emergency situations. The regulation requires industrial projects to provide means of protection and prevention (including human resources, equipment and devices) ready for use in case of emergency in order to reduce the risk of damage to the environment and human life.

• Regulation No. 65 of 2009 on Environmental Inspection. The regulation stipulates that facilities that undertake projects with potentially negative environmental impacts are subject to random and pre-announced environmental inspections carried out by inspectors from the Ministry of Environment to ensure compliance with environmental requirements.

• Regulation No. 37 of 2005 on Environmental Impact Assessment the regulation requires facilities with potentially negative environmental impacts (such as facilities dealing with corrosive substances, ozone depleting substances or flammable materials) to perform an environmental impact assessment before starting their operations.

• Solid Waste Management Regulation No. 27 of 2005. According to article 5 of this regulation, an employer has the obligation to control all solid wastes, determine their respective paths and transport them to an adequate location for disposal. Moreover, the employer in charge of the facility is prohibited from burning of solid wastes.

• Air Protection Regulation No. 28 of 2005

• Natural Reserves and National Parks Regulation No. 29 of 2005

• Instructions No. 10 of 2009 on registration, manufacturing, processing, importing, trading of pesticides and its amendments.

• Instructions on the management, storage, transport and treatment of organic fertilizers of 2009

• Regulation No. 43 of 1998 on the Protection and Safety from Industrial Tools and Machines and Work Sites.

• Instructions on management and handling of hazardous waste for the year 2003.

• Instructions of 2011 on the protection of water resources. The instructions require activities affecting water resources to obtain a permit from the concerned authorities. Water protected areas are divided into two zones, Groundwater Protection Zone and Surface Water Protection Zone.


Jordan is endeavoring to accede to most international agreements related to sustainable development. As of 2011, Jordan has ratified international agreements such as:

• United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol,

• Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

• United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

• Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa

• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

• The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal

• Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes

• Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer on (Montreal Protocol)

• The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention)

• United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

Implementations Issues

In 2006, Jordan submitted an implementation plan developed in accordance with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) adopted at the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM). An Integrated Hazardous Substances Information Management and Control System were created for the control and management of hazardous materials. The system provides information on banned substances and identifies the authorities in charge of providing licenses. Still, many challenges face Jordan. Reports on early implementation steps reveal the absence of proper mechanisms to cover all stages of chemicals management due to a lack of sufficient resources or knowledge. In the Middle East generally, a lack of resources impedes national development and implementation plans.

Environmental Issues

Jordan suffers from variety of environmental problems, including insufficient water resources, water pollution, desertification, soil erosion, and deforestation.

A lack of effective regulatory enforcement mechanisms is the nation's greatest obstacle in pursuing its environmental protection goals. Other environmental problems in Jordan are described below


Desertification is one of the main problems facing Jordan. The country receives little rainfall; ninety percent of the country receives less than 200mm a year. Unwise land use and cultivation practices, climate change and chronic drought all contribute to increasing desertification. The Ministry of Environment's report on the National Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Desertification identified the main causes of desertification in different parts of Jordan.

The causes of desertification in different zones were described as follow:

• Zone 1: Saharo-Arabian (eastern region, bordering Saudi Arabia)

• Dominant desert land

• High salt content of soil

• Low annual rainfall

• Extensive sand dunes

2. Zone 2: Badia Region (north-eastern region)

• ubstantial accumulation of calcareous soil

• Low germination rate of plants and low intensity of plant cover caused by overgrazing and poor rainfall distribution

3. Zone 3: Mediterranean region (north and central regions)

• oodland cutting

• Urbanization and land fragmentation

• Recession of forest areas

• High rate of water erosion due to expanding urbanization urbanization

• Over-pumping of groundwater

4. Zone 4: Jordan Valley (western region, from Tiber Lake to Dead Sea)

• oil salinization

• Oergrazing of natural vegetation

• Mismanagement of irrigated land

• Unsupervised use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer


Pollution of the environment is attributed to industrial and agricultural practices in Jordan. Despite efforts to prevent the use of chemicals in agriculture such as DDT, the use of pesticides and herbicides in inappropriate ways has led to many problems such as the reduction of organic matter, soil compaction, the reduction of soil fertility, salting, water-logging, contamination by pesticides and inorganic fertilizers, the degradation of soil structure, and the increased soil erosion by water and wind.

Since 2000, Jordan has witnessed rapid industrial progress with many industrial facilities operating in different areas. According to the Jordan Biodiversity National Report, pollution from such sources has increase of due to a lack of awareness and a lack of effective legislation. The absence of hazardous waste collection and treatment sites has led some industrial facilities to store waste on the grounds of factories, putting at risk workers as well as local environment. In addition, hazardous wastes are produced and disposed by industry with limited protective treatment techniques and without proper recycling methods. According to the report, the total amount of hazardous waste produced in Jordan in 1993 was about 43,000 tons. This amount is expected to increase and to reach about 26,200 tons by the year 2015.

The country has suffered serious losses in wildlife biodiversity, as exemplified by the Arabian oryx and the Asiatic lion, which are subject to uncontrolled hunting. ,

Water Resources

Jordan is a semi-arid country with approximately 7% arable land. Water drawn from groundwater is estimated to serve approximately 4% of the nation's water needs. Jordan is ranked among the poorest countries in the world in terms of water availability. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation determined the annual per capita water availability for the year of 2007 to be 145 m3/year, which is well below the international water poverty standard of 500 m3.

A lack of water availability is a major concern for the country since the population is expected to reach 7.80 million by 2020, along with Palestinian and other refugees from neighboring countries. The instability of the region has impeded efforts to confront the nation's water supply problems. Jordan needs to develop effective policies in regard to water management and develop the legal mechanisms and water distribution infrastructure to better meet future water needs.

Renewable Energy Resources

Jordan has very limited energy resources. The country depends heavily on imported petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas from neighboring Arab countries. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Royal Energy Committee have recommended expanded use of renewable energy resources, including wind energy and solar energy, and the development of energy efficiency projects. According to the Ministry of Energy, the average daily solar radiation in Jordan is 5 to 7 kWh/m2, which is one of the highest in the world.



1. Ministry of Environment Jordan

2. Jordan Ministry of Water and Irrigation

3. United Nation Development Program: Drylands Development Centre (DDC)

4. Convention on Biodiversity