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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Jordan

The Jordanian Environmental Protection Act No. 52 (2006) stipulates the protection of the environment through the Jordanian Constitution and the need for conserving the components and elements of the environment, as well as scaling up the environment and preventing its degradation and pollution.

According to the legislation, the components of the environment include air, water, soil, biological creatures and humans and their resources. A number of bylaws stemming from the Environmental Protection Act were issued in the years 2005-2007 to deal with the technical, administrative and legal details particular to the most important environmental sectors of priority.

Featured Legislation

1955: Law No. 825 on the system of import and export of animals and animal products was established to prohibit the import of animal skin or any animal part to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan through sea or land.

1973: The Agricultural Code (Part IV, Articles 180-186, on Aquatic Resources) was instituted, providing for broad regulatory powers of “the Minister" in the field of commercial fishing in the Territorial Waters of Jordan. The Law prohibits fishing without authorization (art. 182); and the use of explosives or other harmful fishing methods and the damaging or taking of coral (art. 183).

2001: Regulation No. 21 on Environment Protection in the Aqaba Exclusive Economic Zone was introduced to oversee marine environment protection and authorizations and environmental requirements in order to carry out economic activities related to the discharge and drainage of solid waste, waste water, oil and waste treatment stations; responsibilities of the Authority of the Zone on the control and regulation of well drilling and well digging.

2003:Instructions on controlling the use of materials depleting the ozone layer were issued, providing for the establishment of the Ozone Unit at the Ministry of Environment and for its competencies and duties. Article 4 decrees the establishment of the National Committee for Ozone Layer Protection. Articles 5 and 6 pertain to the competencies and management of the Committee.

2006: The Environmental Protection Law (No. 52) was enacted.The aim of this Law is to protect the environment. This Law is composed of various articles. Articles 1 and 2 deal with terms and definitions. Article 3 considers the Ministry of Environment as the only competent authority for the protection of the environment as well as the reference for environmental affairs at the national, regional and international level. Articles 4 and 5 define the competencies and tasks of the Ministry. And Article 6 specifies the prohibited materials to be introduced or imported into the country.

2009: The Environmental Control and Inspection Act (No.65) was created, aimed at controlling Jordan facilities to assess their compliance with the legislation issued to limit environmental pollution together with organizing the environmental inspection procedures.

2013:Regulations on the instructions of the use, import, and export of ozone depleting substances were introduced to provide for the protection of the environment and the ozone layer by giving the instructions of use, import, and export of substances depleting the ozone layer. The legislation is composed of 35 articles, most of which establish a national committee of representatives of all ministries to be located in the Ministry of Environment that will be concerned with the protection of the ozone layer.

2015: The Agriculture Law (No.13) was adopted. The legislation ensures that the Ministry of Agriculture shall regulate, organize and develop the agriculture field in order to: increase the production of food and foodstuffs; govern the use of natural and agricultural resources without damaging the environment; create of suitable conditions for investing in agricultural sectors and rural development; increase the production capacity; increase farmer’s incomes

2017: The Environmental Protection Law (No.6) was passed. The Law consists of 33 articles aimed at protecting the environment providing that:

  • (i) the Ministry of Environment is the authority responsible for environmental protection
  • (ii) the Ministry together with the related parties shall develop the policies and prepare the plans and programs, work on forecasting climate change identifying the involved sectors, follow the implementation of international environmental agreements, and protect the biodiversity identifying areas that need special attention

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

A 2017: study reveals the extent of illegal hunting practices in Jordan using posts on social media. The authors discovered that between January 2015–January 2016: 4,707 native animals were hunted and trafficked out of Jordan, a clear violation of Jordanian laws.  Jordan’s daily (hunting) bag limits were exceeded on many occasions. In particular, hunters targeted the chukar partridge Alectoris chukar, exceeding the limit by 3,000%. Another 34 species with special protection under Jordanian law were killed, depleting the population of large mammals such as ibex Capra nubiana and gazelles. Researchers also made an alarming discovery – a significant number of gazelles were shot by unlicensed hunters from Arabian Gulf countries. Environmentalists, NGOs and local communities have recommended urgent action to address the causes of the problem and to improve the management of hunting through better collaboration, mobilization of resources and awareness raising. Said actors have relied on Facebook groups as a tool to assess the magnitude of illegal hunting, uncovering virtual groups that share their common interests in hunting and animal trafficking. Seven hunting groups were identified in the study through their posting of photographs and information on kills on a regular basis. Federal authorities are now embarking on investigations of illegal hunting  under Jordanian law and species categorized as threatened on the IUCN Red List. It is the hope of the federal police that  social media can be leveraged to reform the management of hunting in Jordan, developing a much more effective licensing and enforcement system that engages all parties, including hunters' groups online.

References and Further Reading

Contacts

Shada El-Sharif, Director of Jordan Environment Fund: shada.elsharif@moenv.gov.jo