Ms Wafa Bani Mustafa MP
Wafa leads our group in the Jordanian Parliament, as a member of the Al-Wasat Al-Islami parliamentary bloc, representing the Jerash constituency. A lawyer by training, she currently serves as the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Order & Conduct, as well as a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Women & Family Affairs. She was also recently selected to head the Pan-Arab Women’s Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Domestic Violence.
How is climate change affecting your constituency?
My constituency is in Jarash. It’s in the mountains in the North of Jordan. We are noticing changes in climate. It is much hotter and drier. And with less rain farmers have less productive crops.
Why did you decide to become an MP?
Because I wanted to bring about change for my soceity, particularly for young people and women. When I entered the parliament I was only 31 years old, making me the youngest MP in the parliament.
I entered parliament on the quota list of women and I am part of the centre Islamist party. But now I am one of three women who have been elected without a quota. This means I am on the same list as male candidates. I am the head of the parliamentary committeed on conduct and ethics.
Why do you care about climate change?
Climate change affects all of us. Whether you are from the north or south, we are all affected by it. We have to save the climate for the next generation. I care lots about renewable energy, because we are energy poor in Jordan. We don’t have any gas or oil. We import all of our energy which is very expensive. So much of our budget goes towards imported fossil fuels and people suffer because of it. More than 30% of Jordanians’ salaries goes towards energy to heat our and light our homes. We must make the switch to solar and wind power in Jordan.
Why did you get involved with the Climate Parliament?
I saw it as a chance for my country. Being part of the network has opened my eyes for new opportunities for my country and people. After I attended my first Climate Parliament meeting in Tanzania in December 2014 I went home and couldn’t stop telling people about what I had learnt!
I learnt that Switzerland, which has renewable energy laws for solar power but only has 28 sunny days a year. In Jordan we have over 300 sunny dats but we don’t have solar and they do!
So I tried to get people involved and everyone is very interested. We want to get experts to Jordan to open more people’s eyes. After I told my party about what I had learnt, we decided to change our strategy. Previously we only had a 7% renewable energy target for 2020. Now we have increased this to 20%. We have had more than 12 meetings with the Minister of Energy to discuss renewable expansion. Obstacles are often created due to a lack of money. So we encouraged the government to attract investment and it has now signed an agreement with 10 renewable energy companies. We hope to increase this to 28 companies.
Who is part of the Climate Parliament group in Jordan?
There are 12 of us from different parties, different districts and different genders. We have the chairperson of the Energy Committee in our group, which is very important, and we try to have meetings every week. We also have a nuclear issue in Jordan. The government is looking into nuclear options but its is safe, dangerous and water intensive. It will cost $12 billion but Jordan is very poor. We don’t have water either; we are the third poorest country in the world in terms of water resources. We are trying really hard to shift the spotlight onto renewable energy to avoid nuclear.
Do you think we are going to stop climate change?
We hope so! It’s good for everybody if we stop climate change. Everybody wins, from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, there are no losers if we solve climate change!