Piloting Climate Change Adaptation to Protect Human Health in Jordan


 As part of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNDP, global project on public health adaptation to climate change, the "Piloting Climate Change Adaptation to Protect Human Health in Jordan" is working to increase adaptive capacity to respond to health risks resulting from water scarcity induced by climate change.

The Jordan project will focus on; (i) strengthening monitoring and surveillance capacity, (ii) development of the necessary institutional and regulatory framework for safe use of wastewater; and (iii) increasing the capacity related to health protection measures and pilot testing these in the field.

Jordan is one of seven countries taking part in this Global Pilot. The seven countries, Barbados, Bhutan, China, Fiji, Jordan, Kenya and Uzbekistan, together represent four distinct environments (Highlands, Small Islands, Arid Countries and Urban environments,) and their related health risks.

Project details

The objective of this first global project on public health adaptation to climate change is to “increase adaptive capacity of national health system institutions, including field practitioners, to respond to climate-sensitive health risks”. This will contribute to the broader goal of ensuring that “Health sectors are able to cope with health risks resulting from climate change, including variability”.

Jordan Project Objective

To increase adaptive capacity to respond to health risks resulting from water scarcity induced by climate change in Jordan.

Key Health Concerns and Vulnerability to Climate Change

Jordan is ranked among the poorest countries in the world in terms of water availability. Resources are already seriously limited and are far below under the water poverty line of (1000) m3 per capita per year. The threat of climate change will increase water scarcity. The lack of water and secondary effects of these changes are considered as the highest priority threat to health in Jordan.

Water scarcity will have a direct impact on the health of Jordanians. In 2005, a WHO/UNEP project determining minimum water requirements for health in Jordan showed a linkage between the per capita water consumption and the incidences of diarrhoea.

Due to the serious vulnerabilities of water scarcity, the national Government has prioritized the use of clean water for domestic supply. This should avoid much of the direct health risks from water scarcity: However, the proposed increase in use of wastewater reuse as an alternative water supply could raise a series of health risks.  Unless adequately managed, both untreated and to a lesser extent treated wastewater poses significant risks to health.

Increasing use of wastewater in agriculture, driven by climate change, will therefore increase the potential of intestinal diseases and exposure to toxic chemicals for farmers, consumers, and neighbouring communities.

Expected Benefits

The greatest benefit expected from this project is the elevated level of national preparedness and adaptation to protect human health from a key risk associated with climate change and variability. Other expected benefits include:

  • Enhanced coordination and cooperation among different governmental and non-governmental organization concerned with climate change adaptation  to protect human health.
  • Increased awareness and strengthened institutional capacity to address other health risks from climate change within Jordan.
  • All areas where wastewater reuse is practiced will have a safer and healthier environment and the health conditions of farmers and farm workers will also be improved.
  • Economic benefits will be attained on both national and local levels through fresh water savings and higher value of safer agricultural products.

Results and Learning:

This project will focus on; (i) strengthening monitoring and surveillance capacity, (ii) development of the necessary institutional and regulatory framework for safe use of wastewater; and (iii) increasing the capacity related to health protection measures and pilot testing these in the field.  To achieve this goal, several adaptive capacity issues will be addressed:

  • Standards and criteria - The use of treated water in agriculture and points of monitoring treated wastewater effluent is currently unregulated there is also no reuse criteria related to hygiene, public health and quality control or  irrigation techniques, degree of wastewater treatment, and choice of areas and types of crops to be irrigated.
  • Monitoring - The lack of efficient control and monitoring on safe practices of wastewater reuse in agriculture.
  • Capacity - The lack of trained personnel both in the competent authorities and the treatment plants.
  • Communication - The low level of awareness of the farmers and the public at large and the lack of communication and information dissemination between different parties involved.
Signature programmes: 
Thematic areas: 
Climate-related hazards addressed: 
Level of intervention: 
Key collaborators: 
Primary beneficiaries: 
The greatest national benefit envisaged in the implementation of this program will be the enhanced awareness and capacity of health workers and the community at large.
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations: 
Government of Jordan
Ministry of Water and Irrigation - Jordan
Ministry of Environment - Jordan
World Health Organization (WHO)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project status: 
Financing amount: 
550,000 USD

Key results and outputs

Project Components:
  1. Climate change and health early warning and planning systems
  2. Institutional and technical capacity to manage climate change health risks
  3. Demonstration Measures to reduce vulnerability
  4. Regional Cooperation to address climate change health risks
Expected Outputs:

Outcome 1: A comprehensive and integrated monitoring and surveillance systems for wastewater reuse activities is in place.

  • Coordination and implementation of existing monitoring systems of quality of treated wastewater used in agriculture are improved.
  • Coordination and implementation of existing monitoring systems for food safety are improved.
  • Heath and epidemiological surveillance programs provide reliable data on wastewater-related diseases, linked to water and food quality monitoring.
  • Social acceptance of agricultural products irrigated by treated wastewater is increased.

Outcome 2: Regulatory and institutional frameworks for management of health risks associated with increased wastewater reuse in unrestricted agriculture are improved and implemented.

  • National health guidelines or standards for safe wastewater reuse are developed and promoted.
  • Institutional responsibilities to operationalize the national health guidelines for safe wastewater re-use are defined.
  • A legislative tool to define institutional responsibilities for different components of the system is issued.
  • Institutional capacity needed to execute the system is established.

Outcome 3: Health protection measures for safe wastewater reuse are defined and implemented in X pilot sites.

  • A manual and operating procedure on health protection measures for all vulnerable groups (farmers, nearby communities, and consumers) is developed.
  • Operational wastewater reuse safety plan, applying the provisions of the national guidelines on safe wastewater reuse, is developed and implemented at 10 selected sites.
  • The manual and lessons learnt from applying the safety plan at the site are disseminated.
  • A mechanism for implementation of the needed safety plan at all farms using treated wastewater is established and enforced.


Monitoring and evaluation

Project coordination

The project will be implemented in close co-operation and coordination with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) and Ministry of Environment (MoE). The Executing Agency of the project will be the Government of Jordan, MWI. The National Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the project will be the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (ISC). The ISC includes representatives from the MoH, MWI, Ministry of Planning, MoE, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Meteorology, a representative from CEHA/ WHO, a representative from UNDP/GEF, and representatives from major NGOs.


Basel Al Yousfi
Director CEHA
Mazen Malkawi
Technical Officer CEHA
Pradeep Kurukulasuriya
UNDP Senior Technical Advisor on Climate Change Adaptation
Joy Guillemot
Public Health and Environment Department