FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Jordan’s Princess Basma bint Ali named FAO Goodwill Ambassador for Near East and North Africa

The role includes championing the sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and combatting climate change

27 April 2022, Rome/Amman - Princess Basma bint Ali of Jordan was today named a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Goodwill Ambassador for Near East and North Africa.

In her new role the Princess will help FAO raise awareness about the importance of transforming the world's agrifood systems, to overcome the challenges of persisting and growing hunger.

FAO’s Director-General QU Dongyu noted that Her Royal Highness has been a long-time supporter of FAO and a passionate and articulate advocate of biodiversity conservation worldwide and said, “Her Royal Highness has systematically raised awareness among Jordanians and all the people of the Near East and North Africa about the importance of preserving native plants and ecosystems and promoting biodiversity research and environmental learning, which are at the core of ensuring sustainable agrifood systems and improving food security.”

While conferring the title of Goodwill Ambassador on Princess Basma, the FAO Director-General described her as “an exceptional individual” and emphasized that he - and FAO - were delighted that she was committing to work even more closely with FAO.

"It gives me great pleasure to be honoured, as I am fully aware of the responsibility to participate in the dissemination of the organization's vision of creating a world free from hunger and poverty,” said Her Royal Highness Princess Basma bint Ali.

FAO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Near East and North Africa, AbdulHakim Elwaer said, “In the upcoming months, together with Her Royal Highness, we want to focus on issues relating to supporting a better environment and better life, including the importance of protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and combatting climate change through more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable practices, leaving no one behind."

HRH Princess Basma bint Ali was formally designated as FAO Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Near East and North Africa during an online event that saw the participation of  H.E. Khaled Hneifat, Minister for Agriculture of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; H.E. Ely Salem Zeineb, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to FAO and Chairperson of the Near East Regional Group; Mr Khaled Abu Hammour, Deputy Permanent Representative and Agricultural Attaché, Permanent Representation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Rome; Mr Eunsik Park, Director-General of the International Affairs Bureau of the Korea Forest Service and Secretary-General of the XV World Forestry Congress Secretariat. They were joined by members of FAO’s core leadership. The event was moderated by Dalia Abulfotuh, an economist with FAO’s Regional Office for Near East and North Africa.

About Her Royal Highness Princess Basma bint Ali
HRH Princess Basma bint Ali of Jordan has been actively working on biodiversity conservation in Jordan for over 30 years. In 2021 Princess Basma bint Ali was appointed as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Hashemite Fund for Development of Jordan Badia to help steer socio-economic capacity-building through local community-based sustainable development. Princess Basma has also founded several non-profit, non-governmental environmental entities, including the Royal Botanic Garden of Jordan, in 2008, to conserve Jordan’s native flora.  She co-founded the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan in 1995 to protect Jordan’s coral reef. Princess Basma bint Ali serves on several national and international boards of environmental entities, including, as chair of the National Biodiversity Committee of Jordan (Ministry of Environment).  

Princess Basma has been awarded many medals for her work, the last of which was the Order of the State Centennial in 2022, as well as the Henry Shaw Medal by the Missouri Botanical Garden for her pioneering work in raising awareness among Jordanians about the importance of conserving native plants and protecting the environment. In 2002, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) elected her as a laureate in the Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievements. In 1998, she became the first Arab woman to receive the title of Hero for the Planet from Time magazine.

Princess Basma earlier served for 12 years in the Jordanian Armed Forces, reaching the rank of Major. She was awarded the Order of Merit Decoration in 1998 and the King Hussein Gold Medal for Excellence in 1995.

FAO’s work in the Near East and North Africa
Eliminating food insecurity and malnutrition are persistent challenges in the Near East and North Africa. The structural dependence of its countries on food imports, make the region highly vulnerable to shocks, increasing the inability of entire communities to feed themselves.Recent conflicts and civil instability in many countries of the region have also compounded the situation. As a result, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition are widespread and require comprehensive and urgent intervention.

FAO is helping governments face these challenges by improving the capacity of countries to collect, produce and analyze data for policy formulation. This is done by strengthening their commitment and accountability and by coordinating efforts for joint action. FAO also provides direct support to improve the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and rural communities, especially in countries undergoing conflict where the Organization help farmers and their families recover from crises.

Princess Basma bint Ali to speak at World Forestry Congress
In one of her first official engagements as FAO Goodwill Ambassador, Princess Basma bint Ali is scheduled to speak at a high-level session of the XV World Forestry Congress on May 2 where FAO will launch it’s flagship publication, The State of the World’s Forests 2022, which includes data, analysis and trends on the status of forests, and their benefit to societies.