The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature is an independent non-governmental organization in Jordan given the mandate of conserving biodiversity in Jordan. RSCN does so by creating and managing nature reserves. Part of RSCN’s interventions includes the creation of nature-based businesses that do not exert pressure on the natural resources of the area. These businesses include ecotourism facilities and activities and craft production workshops. The surrounding local community is employed to provide alternative income. All revenues generated contribute to the cost of conservation programs in the area.
Why do you consider LT&C an important initiative and why are you interested in membership?
Given that conservation is a global effort, we hope we can join forces with the major players in this field. Getting international recognition for our efforts as well as creating awareness to our ecologically important areas are some of the reasons we would like to join LT&C.
Why is your case a good example of linking tourism and conservation?
a) Involving local communities in environmentally safe initiatives and activities garners their political support to the creation of the reserve and everything it entails from limiting traditional sources of livelihoods and bad practices.
b) Our initiatives provide a sustainable source of income for the surrounding community, longer than the non-sustainable use of the resources can ever provide.
c) Local communities residing around ecologically important areas usually lack employment opportunities, seeing as the private sector does not venture in those remote yet magnificent landscapes. Through the creation of the reserve and of our socioeconomic development initiatives, the community has had a chance to learn new professions related to both conservation, ecotourism, and craft production as well as general capacity building.
Are there plans to further improve your example of tourism supporting conservation in the future?
RSCN is constantly growing and developing our ecotourism program. We are currently managing 9 reserves, our conservation plan includes the designation of 5 more reserves which means just as many more ecotourism interventions.
How could your example be transferred to another protected area and how could your experience be shared with others?
RSCN has invested in the creation of a state of the art conservation academy under the name of The Royal Academy for Nature Conservation. This academy is set to become a regional certification and training centre on topics of conservation, sustainable development, nature guiding and many other short and long courses.