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Jordanian and Israeli farmers get to know one another during the opening round of introductions at the EcoPark

From June 28-30th Jordanian and Israeli farmers met for a cross-border workshop to learn more about biodynamic agriculture and to discuss some of the common challenges facing farmers in the Jordan Valley on both sides of the border. As a new intern for EcoPeace, this was my first time being in the Jordan Valley and it was a far cry from the water abundant fields in my home of Ohio, USA. I was excited to learn more about the environmental challenges specific to this area and to meet new people.

The workshop began with dinner and introductions at the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark, breaking into small circles of mixed groups which created a personalized atmosphere for the attendees to get to know each other. I really enjoyed seeing the cultural exchange that occurred as the farmers traded jokes and stories with each other in three different languages—Arabic, English, and Hebrew—often jumping between them in the same sentence. Participants also discussed why they chose to take part in the workshop. They included reasons such as to meet people from a different culture that still share the same career and goals, to learn more about biodynamics, and to make new connections that could be used to work together in the future.

The next morning, the group took a site tour of area grape, citrus, pomegranate, and dateIMG_0820 farms and analyzed the different soil types and irrigation methods at each one. Water was the theme of the morning as farmers yearned to know the most efficient way to get healthy plants for the least amount of expensive water. However, after digging into the dirt at each of the farms, we found that using water and fertilizer on the greater area surrounding the plant was important to its overall health, and skimping too much on water use would ultimately result in harmful effects long-term. The ideal soil would have a high water-holding quality. As a geology student, I appreciated getting our hands dirty and digging into the dirt to check out the health of the soil. It was interesting to visually see how the soil in two farms neighboring each other could significantly differ based on the irrigation methods used by the farmer that contributed to the general health of the soil.

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The site tours continued to a date farm down the road

Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic approach that seeks to improve the health and output of crops by implementing techniques that work in harmony with the already occurring natural processes. It recognizes the inherent connection between water, nutrients, sunlight and soil to plant health, and how all the parts must work together to be effective. It also stresses the importance of working with the community and buying produce locally on the consumer’s end. This was my first interaction with the idea of biodynamics, but I was able to see the importance of working in harmony with the environment and not “against” it, especially in a climatically harsh area like the Jordan Valley.

Being on-the-ground in these places allowed me to personally observe the intense water scarcity and hear each farmer describe their struggle, which gave me tangible evidence for the environmental issues I had only read about up to that point; it was a chance for me to formally encounter what I had been researching. The farmers participating in the workshop had a lot of knowledge to contribute, and each shared their experiences and farming techniques, and resulted in the farmers learning from each other just as much as they learned from the presenter.

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A formal presentation about biodynamic agriculture followed the morning farm tours

That trip led to a series of informative presentations on biodynamics, where farmers learned more about the concept and generated ideas for implementation. The workshop concluded with small group discussions where participants worked together to come up with solutions for their soil, water, and marketing problems. At the very least, participants gained the realization that many of the problems they faced were happening at a systematic level, and they were not the only one having to deal with it. Joining in on this workshop not only taught me more about biodynamics, but I got a chance to meet so many inspiring people from across the Jordan Valley.


This article contributed by Nicole Pasho, EcoPeace Middle East - Amman.

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Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | July 16, 2018

Big Jump for The Jordan River

From the lowest point on earth, EcoPeace Middle East and peacemaker environmentalists from Jordan, Palestine and Israel took the opportunity to express their love and desire to protect and rehabilitate the lower Jordan River.

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The mighty Jordan River is no longer what it was sixty years ago, especially the lower part of the Jordan River which is considered a trans-boundary river crossing Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. The lack of political maturity and wisdom between the neighboring countries caused catastrophic actions on the environment and water resources in Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. This crystallized in the end to become a “damming competition” with water diversions between the riparian countries on every Wadi, stream and tributary in this unique ecosystem.

Big Jump is an initiative of the European Rivers Network that supports efforts to bring life back to Europe’s Rivers, but supporting the Jordan River should be a case for everyone everywhere. A river deep with Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions requires a true stand from decisionmakers on a regional and international level. In doing so, EcoPeace Middle East invites you to support our regional efforts toward a long-lasting peace between the nations and among the various traditions and beliefs.

Big jump this year took place in Wadi Ziglab at Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark, Jordan. Wadi Ziglab was an important tributary for the Lower Jordan River during the winter, but as water scarcity and population growth exponentially increased in Jordan, the Wadi was dammed in early 1960s to provide water for farmers and domestic use. This is one story of many of the Jordan River’s Wadis, streams and tributaries.


This article contributed by Eshak S. Al Guza'a, EcoPeace Middle East - Amman.

Dear Friends,

EcoPeace Middle East continues to be alarmed by the deteriorating circumstances in and around Gaza including the humanitarian energy and water crisis. We have conducted countless interviews, led site visits and held meetings with officials from all sides to express our concerns and call to find solutions. Please look out for a new report on the Gaza Crisis to be released next month and share it widely on social media.


Invitation to the Symposium on Regional Cooperation on Reclaimed Water

SymposiumEcoPeace Middle East cordially invites you to attend a Symposium on Regional Cooperation on Reclaimed Water. The conference will be held on July 18, 2018, at the Handler Auditorium in the Truman Institute, Hebrew University, Mount Scopus Campus from 09:00-13:30. The event will bring together Israeli and Palestinian decision makers, experts and professionals from the private and public sectors from the fields of wastewater treatment and reuse of treated wastewater. The conference will discuss centralized and decentralized wastewater treatment models and reuse opportunities, issues of public health, economy and shared environment. The seminar will be conducted in Hebrew and Arabic with simultaneous translation to English. Space is limited, please register at this link. For more information: nadav@ecopeaceme.org.  A light lunch will be served at the end of the event.

This event is organized with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).


EcoPeace presents at the First Palestine International Water Forum 2018

EcoPeace Palestinian co-director Nada Majdalani presented at the First Palestine Palestine Water ForumInternational Water Forum in June. This year’s cross-cutting theme was “Integrated Water Resources and Management: Best Practices and Technology Transfer.” The Water-Energy-Food Nexus was one of the key topics of the event, in which Nada presented “A Prefeasibility Study on Water and Renewable Energy Exchange in the Middle East.” The conference brought together contributors from the Arab Region and the international community to discuss the lessons learnt and explore innovative perspectives beyond current IWRM practices.  


EcoPeace presents at CleanTech 2018

CleanTech

On the 26th of June, Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace Israeli co-director spoke at Israel’s 2018 CleanTech Conference in Tel Aviv. The conference brought together the who’s who of Israel’s water sector under the theme: ‘The Water Crisis: Causes and Responses.’ Gidon presented a regional perspective to the water crisis, highlighting EcoPeace’s Water Energy Exchange program as an opportunity to promote water and energy security and regional stability.

EcoPeace’s work in the the Water Energy Exchange is conducted in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.


Good Water Neighbors End-of-School-Year Tours

GWN end of school toursAcross all of our basins EcoPeace GWN staff led Neighbors Path tours along their basins. Nadav Tal, EcoPeace’s hydrologist, conducted his school year’s final tours with Ramot Yam and Ben Gurion High Schools along the Alexander/Zomer River Basin. Here, at the mouth of the river before it flows in to the Mediterranean Seam the students researched and uncovered shared environmental hazards they face, and through waste found, told the present sad story of the river.


Cross Border Israeli / Jordanian Agriculture Workshop

Agriculture workshopEcoPeace conducted a very unique workshop last weekend in Jordan on “Bio Dynamics” agriculture for Israeli and Jordanian farmers. Bio Dynamic agriculture is a type of sustainable farming; connecting together water – soil – plant – animals – environment and community, to produce better products for the farmers.  This kind of thinking goes hand in hand with EcoPeace’s objectives and values. The workshop focused on the Jordan Valley area and examined ways to think ‘out of the box’ regarding sustainable farming for the benefit of all the people of the area.


Good Water Neighbors in Bosnia: Continuing Successes

June 2018 marked the one year anniversary of a new phase of the GWN projectGWN Bosnia implementation between cross-border communities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republika Sprska. The Centar za Ekologiju i Energiju (CEE) partnered with EcoPeace’s Program for Water Security, an initiative to promote the effective combination of grassroots and top-down methodology to foster peace and regional cooperation via shared natural resources. A Coordination Team was created composed of 8 project leaders in schools and 6 representatives of municipalities.  The team worked together to identify projects in cooperation with students, teachers and school management. Together, they highlighted components of the shared environmental heritage of the Spreca River, fostering inter-community cooperation and the creation of a common path to improvements. Across all schools in the municipalities, students created photo exhibits of both the natural beauties and environmental problems that face the Spreca River.

The Bosch Foundation supports the work of the Centar za Ekologiju i Energiju (CEE).


EcoPeace at Water Sustainable Development in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Mahmud, TajikistanEcoPeace GWN staff Mahmud Driaat from Palestine was invited by the World Bank Office in Tajikistan to attend and speak at the High Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028, Dushanbe, Tajikistan 19-21 June 2018. Mahmud spoke at the “Young Water Professionals” side event at the conference, where he presented EcoPeace’s work, strategy, vision, and mission to a group of young activists and leaders from countries in Central Asia, Europe, and MENA. Mahmud was widely interviewed about his background and the Good Water Neighbors project and learned about, and networked with, numerous organizations working with youth in Central Asia.

The Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza. Activities conducted in Hebron/Negev/Basin are additionally supported by the Government of Canada.


EcoPeace Networks at the New Shape Forum in Stockholm

At the end of May, EcoPeace’s Israeli Deputy Director Dalit Wolf-Golan participated in theNew Shape Forum New Shape Forum in Stockholm hosted by the Global Challenges Foundation. The conference brought practicable, real solutions to reshape global cooperation to better tackle global-catastrophic risks from around the world. This was an opportunity for EcoPeace to network and share our experience on regional cooperation and the type of governance models we have developed. Notable policy-makers in global governance and cooperation and leading academics, among others, came together for two intense days of creative workshops and discussions to examine what the future of global governance could look like.


Tibetan President Signs Jordan River Covenant

Tibet PresidentThe EcoPeace Tel Aviv office had the privilege to host H.E. Lobsang Sangay, Tibetan President-in-Exile, for a visit to the lowest place on earth, at the Jordan River and Dead Sea. EcoPeace and the Tibetan President discussed the challenges faced in advancing regional cooperation in the Middle East and the challenges faced by Third Pole countries, China, Tibet, and India, due to climate change. Not surprisingly, though the circumstances could not be more different between the lowest place on earth and the highest place on earth, the sharing of lessons, methodology, and best practices could be beneficial to all sides. President Lobsang Sangay used the occasion to sign EcoPeace’s covenant for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River as shown in the picture. EcoPeace invites religious institutions and communities of all faiths to learn about the state of the Jordan River and engage in helping towards it rehabilitation by utilizing materials freely available on our website.


Solar Installations in SHE EcoPark

SHE

In an effort to help tackle environmental and energy challenges facing Jordan and the region, the SHE EcoPark in Jordan has installed a small solar energy park. As an EcoPark that models sustainability, SHE employs solar cooking, grey water reuse, biogas generation, composting and trash recycling. To reduce reliance on energy from fossil fuels, the EcoPark installed a small PV solar energy system (5 kilowatt). As a result of this solar power installation SHE EcoPark will now have coverage of 92% of its current electricity needs satisfied from renewable energy sources, leading to better environmental sustainability and financial sustainability.

A special thank you to the Manna Foundation for the support given.


 

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | June 15, 2018

Sderot

Sderot the Neighboring City to Gaza

In my first week as an intern in the Tel Aviv office of EcoPeace Middle East, I was invited by EcoPeace Negev Community Coordinator Dr. Shlomit Tamari, to visit the area around Sderot, with two fellow interns. Sderot is an Israeli town located at the northern border with Gaza Strip. This trip shed light onto the region’s rich history, alongside a hopeful future.

001As we drove down a dusty road towards an old sulphur factory, Shlomit explained these roads and scattered ruins date back to the British Mandate. We were met by Rami Haruvi, an environment and cultural heritage programme planner, who had grown up his whole life there. He prefixed his talk on what the British left behind and their influence today – for instance, pointing in the nearby distance to Gaza, Rami explained that the refugee camps share the same names as the army camps dating back from the British Mandate.

Rami continued by sketching a map of the region in the sand, taking us on a journey of002 its ecological history. Casting our minds back much before humankind to 5 million years ago, Rami explained the expansive change that has taken place. From the flooding of the Strait of Gibraltar to the land drying up to form a salt lake, a rich, often unmentioned past was being shared. As our journey progressed through history, we learnt that the Gaza region acted as a vital trade junction for thousands of years. Complex trade routes crossed through Gaza, providing frankincense and myrrh to the Roman Empire from Somalia, Oman and Yemen. With the domestication of the camel, Gaza’s attractive environment helped contribute to connecting the Arabian Peninsula and Europe. Centred between arid and settled areas, Gaza provided an ideal junction to Europe, with characteristics ideal for sustenance and survival.

As the tour progressed around the sulphur factory, Rami explained how his hope was to repurpose this abandoned building as a visitor’s centre for people from Israel and around the world as a ‘lighthouse of the consciousness of Gaza’. By educating people about the region’s ecological foundations, rich history and Gaza Strip’s current struggle for electricity and water, Rami hopes for people to join in sharing ideas on how to help the region’s future alongside pressurise governments to act.

Currently the Gaza Strip suffers a dire humanitarian crisis, suffering from poor water quality and a lack of electricity. The consequences of this have the potential to be extremely devastating, with unsafe sanitary conditions and a lack of access to clean water for domestic use contributing to an increasingly urgent public health threat and possible risk of cholera, among other pandemic diseases spreading.

Whilst Gaza’s coastal aquifer suffers from extreme overuse, seawater intrusion and contamination by raw sewage, this is reflective of a much wider issue. Water and sanitation problems are not confined within the borders of the Gaza Strip but are experienced across the region. With climate change and population growth, the availability of clean and safe drinking water consistently reduces. In the last decade Israel has faced the water crisis by developing desalinisation, alongside using efficient conservation techniques such as recycling wastewater for agricultural purposes. As Rami said, by creating water, one creates possibility.

003In the near distance, the aftermath of a kite bomb from Gaza the day before could be seen. On the same day, ‘Stars of Hope’ were put up here against some old railings. The stars were individually decorated by children from the USA, with messages of peace, hope and solidarity. Whilst the border separates people and their degrees of human suffering, Gaza and Sderot still share the same wind, water and land, the same ecological history and the same environmental challenges.

Our visit finished by eating lunch across from the ‘path to peace’ wall, a section of the 004wall which divides the Gaza Strip and Israel. Visitors continue to collaboratively decorate this concrete block with brightly coloured mosaics to form a peace wall. Surrounded by barbed wire and what appears to be a bleak future, this wall illustrates the power of hope and optimism. Words like forgiveness, peace, love and tolerance cover this wall, helping fuel a positive forward-thinking mindset towards eventual peace. Taking a primarily humanitarian perspective, rather than political or religious, allows for much hope and change in the future.


 

Written by Sarah Smith - sarah97@live.co.uk - EcoPeace Middle East \ Tel Aviv
Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | June 11, 2018

June 2018 – EcoPeace Middle East Environmental Peacebuilding Newsletter

 

EcoPeace at EBRD 27th Annual meeting

Jordan 2018EcoPeace Middle East, represented by its Jordanian co-director Mr. Munqeth Mehyar, Deputy Director Ms. Yana Abu Taleb and the Water Energy Nexus project coordinator Mr. Mohammad Bundokji attended the 27th annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) held in Jordan on the 9th and the 10th of May 2018. The main theme of the meeting was “Energizing Economies” and EcoPeace was present to promote its Water Renewable Energy Nexus Project as an example of an initiative that can energize the economies of the region as a whole, in a manner that creates healthy interdependencies.


Diplomat Tour “Gaza on the Edge”

Diplomats TourOn May 28th, EcoPeace in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung held the “Gaza on the Edge” study tour of the Israeli areas neighboring the Gaza Strip for representatives from the diplomatic and international community. The tour aimed to see first hand the cross border water and sanitation issues and better understand the challenges faced by all sides. Participants had the opportunity to here from experts, such as Professor Shaul Mishal talk about Hamas and the Mayor of Hoh Ashkelon, Yair Farjun speak from the community perspective. Take home messages included the urgency to solve the Gaza water and sanitation crisis and a clear understanding that it is impossible to disengage from a shared environment.


Hebron Basin Town Hall Meeting

Hebron Basin Town Hall MeetingOn the 10th of May, EcoPeace organized a town hall meeting under the Auspices of Halhul Municipality discussing ‘Water and Sanitation in Halhul: between Reality and Challenges’, which was attended by 100 residents and representatives of associations. Mr. Hijazi Mereb – Mayor of Halhul, presented the current status of water and sanitation issues in Halhul, plans for establishing the Water Sector Regulatory Joint Council for the area, and potential cooperation with EcoPeace. Nada Majdalani, Palestine’s Director spoke about EcoPeace’s objectives of improving the lives of residents through water and sanitation solutions. Technical presentations were provided by the Halhul municipality, Ministry of Health, and on gender issues related to water and saitation. The conclusion was that more discussions were needed.


Exhibit: “Lighthouse to the Consciousness of Gaza”

Every time Gaza is in the headlines, dozens of Israelis come together to strengthen theExhibit to the Consciousness of Gaza residents of the Gaza Envelope and to call for the end of violence.  In cooperation with Sapir College EcoPeace is involved in preparing an exhibit called the “The Lighthouse to the Consciousness of Gaza” (Ha’Migdalor). EcoPeace’s part of this exhibit will explain the collapse of the water and sewage systems in Gaza and the implications for public health and water security, region wide.


EcoPeace in Chicago and New York

At the invitation of Northwestern University to the United States, EcoPeace co-Directors Munqeth Mehyar and Gidon Bromberg held a set of events and meetings in Chicago and New York city. The highlight was the Third Annual Symposium on “Water in Israel and the Middle East” organized by Northwestern Center for Water Research and the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies where presentations were made on our water and renewable energy exchange and water diplomacy issues with a focus on the crises of Gaza. Other meetings were held with our International Advisory Committee and organizations interested in partnering with EcoPeace to solve our critical water and environment issues.


Youth Water Trustee Tours Take Place Across the Region

Wadi Qana Nature Reserve

Three educational tours this month took place to Wadi Qana nature reserve highlighting the challenges faced by Palestinian local farmers and residents due to political restrictions placed on them and a drying environment. Youth water trustees from Baqa Al-Sharqya, Jericho, Auja, and Dirstia visited the reserve and the Direstia old town. EcoPeace community coordinators led the tours accompanied by the mayor of the Dirstia municipality.

Yarkon and Jordan River Basins

Yarkon and Jordan River BasinsYouth water trustees from high schools in Tel Aviv toured the Yarkon River Basin Neighbor’s Path. They witnessed the serious water quality and quantity issues facing the river and discussed the crossborder issues of the basin including the state of water shortage and pollution issues on the Palestinian side of the basin. Another group of Youth Water Trustees from the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee ended their school year with a tour and discussion on the real-time impacts of climate change on the drying lake and the reversal of Israel’s national water carrier as a response.


Cross Border Camp – Jordanian/Israeli

Cross-Border CampEarly in May, Youth Water Trustees from Jordan and Israel participated in a cross border camp at Sharhabil Bin Hasnah EcoPark in Jordan. Youth were divided into mixed groups and taken to the North Shouneh, Sheikh Hussein, and Al Mashara’a districts where they saw firsthand the water supply and sanitation challenges faced by residents. Upon returning to the park, the students engaged in discussions on the difficulties Jordan in particular faces but also the common challenges faced across the region and their role as water trustees to help solve these challenges.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza. Activities conducted in Hebron/Negev/Basin additionally are supported by the Government of Canada.

London Presentation of WEN to Investors

UK FT eventOn April 11th, EcoPeace – in association with Herbert Smith Freehills, the FTWeekend and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) – held an event “Promoting Middle East Water and Energy Security through Investment in a Water-Renewable Energy Exchange for Peace and Stability”.  EcoPeace co-directors presented the results of the Water and Energy Nexus pre-feasibility study conducted by EcoPeace Middle East and KAS, which analyzes the technical, economic and geopolitical aspects of the Water-Energy Nexus proposal. This is an ambitious project between Jordan, Palestine and Israel where energy generated from renewable sources in Jordan will be exchanged for desalinated water from the Israeli and Palestinian Mediterranean coast. The event included a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges to advance the project that included private sector investors from the region, the World Bank and OPIC, and was moderated by Pilita Clark, award winning journalist of the Financial Times.

 

The Water & Energy Nexus project is in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Palestinian Territories.


EcoPeace at Israeli-Palestinian Seminar, Rome

EcoPeace International Affairs Manager Giulia Giordano was invited to join the XI giulia romeIsraeli-Palestinian Seminar behind closed doors, held in Rome on April 8-10, 2018. The initiative led by the Italian NGO, ‘Mediterranean Perspectives’ was carried out under the patronage of the Italian Network for the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue (RIDE-APS) and in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The roundtable discussion focused on the environmental challenges faced today in Palestine, with particular emphasis on the water, energy and sanitation crisis occurring in Gaza. The seminar saw the participation of a delegation from Israel and Palestine and international stakeholders. Giulia Giordano presented EcoPeace’s experience in advancing regional water and energy diplomacy to promote regional cooperation.


New UN and World Bank Publication: Pathways for Peace 

pathways_for_peacePathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict is a joint United Nations and World Bank study that looks at how development processes can better interact with diplomacy and mediation, security and other tools to prevent conflict from becoming violent. It reviews recent literature and thematic papers in order to analyze and highlight the experience of different countries and institutions and the elements that have contributed to peace. The analysis provides clear recommendations to governments and the international community on improvement of approaches to prevention violent conflicts. EcoPeace is delighted to be mentioned in the study. (See highlighted box on page 153).


Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) in the Jordan Valley

SIDA

EcoPeace Amman office led a full day tour for high level officials from SIDA, Stockholm to the Jordan Valley, to show them the challenges of transboundary management of the regions shared water resources, and how EcoPeace works to bring together stakeholders to promote solutions. The group was fortunate to visit the estuary of the Lower Jordan River that (hardly) flows into the Dead Sea, where this photo was taken, and witness what the consequences of poor joint water management can lead to.

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Regional Women’s Empowerment Meeting for Students

Emek Hefer BakaEcoPeace “Good Water Neighbors” project staff organized a weekend in April for Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli students in our Jordan EcoPark, learning together about our shared environment, empowerment of women in society, and the need for the advancement of sustainability and peace.  They went on a tour of the local “Neighbor’s Path” where they learned about local and regional water issues, took part in a clean-up activity, and enjoyed the outdoors together. We are not only hoping that there will be peace – we are building it!


Cross cultural Baka Bharbia – Emek Hefer meeting

Our Good Water Neighbors project brought together Jewish and Arab youth waterStudents camp trustees from Israel’s Emek Hefer and Baka el Garbia communities this month to learn about each other’s water reality and environmental problems. The group underwent a series of ODT (Out Door Training) activities that helped them understand, “hands on”, how we can work together and that we have a great deal in common.  The theme of the day was “More Unites Us than Divides Us”.


Earth Day 2018

Earth day AdamThere is nothing like celebrating Earth Day by going outdoors to experience nature – and to take care of it!  This year, EcoPeace’s water trustees from the Israeli Jordan Valley School’s geography class spent the day on a study tour along sections of the Lower Jordan River, learning about the river’s past glory, it’s present demise, and doing what they can to help on this special day: they brought along garbage bags and cleaned up litter found on the river banks and nearby trails. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise:  “Every Bit Counts”!


Climate March Tel Aviv 2018

EcoPeace staff, together with thousands of activists, schools, artists, businesses,climate march municipalities and organizations, participated in this year’s Climate March in Tel Aviv. All over the world, leaders, scientists, public figures and citizens are outspoken regarding climate change and its impacts.  We were glad for the opportunity to raise our collective and powerful voice on this important global environmental issue.

 

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.

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Dear Friends,

Despite the troubled times that we face here in the region, we can make a difference. Please read and share widely our latest Op Ed on Gaza that appeared in The Hill http://thehill.com/opinion/international/380854-beating-pandemic-disease-in-gaza.

At EcoPeace our efforts this spring remain as determined as ever to keep our issues on the public agenda for the benefit of all of our peoples and shared environment.

For those in London on April 11 please do register for our event on the Water Energy Exchange held in association with the Financial Times.

Your support is essential for our work to succeed.


Scaling up our Global Water Security program at the World Bank Fragility Forum 

Gidon at WBUnder the theme ‘Managing Risks for Peace and Stability’, the 2018 World Bank Fragility Forum brought together policy makers and practitioners from humanitarian, development, peace and security organizations to share practical solutions and explore innovative ways to improve development approaches to foster peace and stability.

EcoPeace organized the panel ‘Advancing Peace & Stability: Managing Water Security’, where Israeli Co-Director Gidon Bromberg spoke alongside with Danilo Türk, Former President of Slovenia, Guang Zhe Chen, Senior Director of Water at the World Bank and Sherri Goodman, Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The discussion focused on how civil society, UN agencies and international institutions could better work together to advance water security and stability.

EcoPeace's Program on Water Security is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung

New Publication: Water & Energy Nexus Full Pre-Feasibility StudyWEN_FullStudy_Cover

EcoPeace’s Water-Energy Nexus Project aims at researching and advocating for a Water and Sustainable Energy Nexus approach to counter the effects of climate change and its potential negative security implications, while providing solutions to water scarcity in the region. The purpose of this pre-feasibility study is to present the project vision and an approach for how such a project might be developed as an exchange of water and energy between Jordan, Israel and Palestine. This initial analysis indicates that the project is indeed technically feasible and environmentally desirable, and could potentially provide wide-scale economic and political benefits to the three parties, creating the case for conducting a more in-depth feasibility study supported by the governments themselves and the international community.

Click here for the Full Pre-Feasibility Study and here for the Executive Summary.


New E3G publication features EcoPeace ‘WEN’ initiative

E3G, a renowned independent climate change think tank, has recently published a newSolar panels[for E3G item] briefing paper MENA Stability in a Changing Climate – A Transatlantic Agenda on Preventative Investment, on the connections between political stability and food, energy and water security in the MENA region. This informative and enlightening report mentions EcoPeace’s Water Energy Nexus initiative as an example of resilient interventions that could foster regional cooperation and the creation of healthy geopolitical interdependencies. 

The Water & Energy Nexus project is in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Palestinian Territories.

Israel Water Association Conference

IWA conference

The Israel Water Association’s annual conference was held this year on March 12th, with EcoPeace staff presenting our “Israeli Water Diplomacy and National Security Concerns” paper.  This conference brought together all important stakeholders from the Israeli water sector, representing private, public and academic institutions. A wide array of water issues was discussed throughout the day.  We were pleased with the good feedback we received for our presentation and the importance with which it was perceived by participants. 

Research for this discussion paper was supported by the German Embassy in Tel Aviv

Sderot Conference – ‘Town Hall’ meeting

As part of the annual Sderot Conference, the leading periphery conference in Israel,Sderot conf2 EcoPeace held a special panel which dealt with the repercussions of the water and sewage crisis in the Gaza Strip on Israel. Knesset members, mayors, health professionals, security experts called on decision makers to do more to resolve the water crisis in the Gaza Strip. This is in line with recent statements made by the heads of the Israeli security establishment who conclude that resolving the water and electricity shortage in Gaza is also a top priority for Israel’s security.

Speakers on the panel included MK Eyal Ben Reuven, Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, Chairman of the Public Health Doctors’ Organization in Israel and Head of the Public Health School at Ben-Gurion University, Ahmad Yaacobi, a water expert from Gaza and others.  Read more on our events webpage.


Gender Workshop in Amman

Gender workshop AmmanThe Swedish Embassy in Amman and SIDA (the Swedish International Development Agency) organized a workshop on “Mainstreaming Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in SIDA Partners´ Projects” in Amman from March 6th – 8th, 2018. The workshop included participants representing all SIDA’s partner organizations in Jordan and the MENA Region, with several EcoPeace staff in attendance.

The workshop focused on how to mainstream gender equality in the different partners’ activities.  Gender mainstreaming aims at strengthening democracy and gender equality, as well as greater respect for human rights, environmental improvement, reduced climate impact and increased resilience to environmental impacts, climate change and natural disasters.  Also discussed were opportunities for regional economic development as a prerequisite for enabling poor people to improve their living conditions.


Cross border youth camp at SHE, Jordan

Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian Youth Water Trustees from our Good Water NeighborsRegional Youth Camp project met for a 3-day environmental peacebuilding camp at our Sharhabil bin Hassneh (SHE) EcoPark in Jordan.

Activities focused on strengthening solidarity, improving their knowledge on the water reality of their neighbors, and engaging youth in how they can make a difference in their own communities on water issues.  We were pleased to receive feedback that some of them responded that they had a “life-changing experience“.


Cross border youth meeting at “Streaming the Jordan” event

World Water day - זורמים לירדןThis year, EcoPeace helped organize the “Streaming the Jordan” event in cooperation with the Kinneret Drainage Authority, the Jordan Valley Regional Council, the Nature and Parks Authority, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

To celebrate World Water Day, EcoPeace held a cross-border meeting between Israeli and Palestinian Youth Water Trustees who underwent two days of training on environmental cooperation as part of the event. The youth learned about the special history of the Jordan River basin, visited the Island of Peace in Naharayim, and the Sea of ​​Galilee. For many of the Palestinian youth this was the first time they visited the Sea of Galilee. The youth also  organized activities at the community fair such as collecting and cooking ‘hubeiza’ and preparing flower crowns, and signs depicting slogans such as “Water Connects Us“.


“Good Water Neighbors” Teachers Seminar, Israel

In the context of our Good Water Neighbors project, a   National Teachers’ Seminar was Teachers Seminar TAheld this month for geography, history and science teachers from all over Israel. The participants toured the Waste Water Treatment Plant near Shoket in the Hebron River Basin, and learned about the need for cross border cooperation in order to preserve our shared water resources.  This was the second such seminar held this year.


“Good Water Neighbors” Teachers Seminar, Palestine

Our Palestinian staff gathered teachers from all over the West Bank (Yatta, EastTeachers Seminar PA Bethlehem, Jericho, Auja and Jenin) in Ramallah for a one-day seminar. We introduced EcoPeace’s environmental education project and provided them with tools and skills to enhance their work both in and out of the classroom. The “hands-on” activities that were presented were well received, and teachers expressed their appreciation for this kind of educational interaction.  They are looking forward to the next seminar – and so are we.


EcoPeace at ALLMEP workshop

ALLMEPWorld Water Day was also marked at the ALLMEP conference, with other peace organizations, where EcoPeace had an opportunity to emphasize the importance of regional cooperation on water issues to promote peace in the region. The UN envoy to the Middle East, Nikolai Mladanov, came to the conference to highlight the importance of civil society organizations in promoting change in the region.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.

The Hebron Gaza Basin activities are co-supported by the Government of Canada and KAS Israel

 World Bank MENA Water Unit Visiting the River of Jordan Estuary

As part of the World Bank MENA Water Unit’s regional retreat and training that was held JR Estuaryin Jordan between February 26th – March 2nd, EcoPeace accompanied the World Bank team on a unique field trip to the Jordan River estuary – where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea – to present the uniqueness of these transboundary water resources and EcoPeace’s work in the region between Israel, Palestine and Jordan. The field trip updated the World Bank MENA team on the progress of EcoPeace’s Jordan River rehabilitation project and the advancement on the opportunities to implement the Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan River Valley


Town Hall Meeting at SHE EcoPark, Jordan

JR_Town_Hall_Jordan_cOn Wednesday March 14th, EcoPeace hosted a ‘Town Hall’ style meeting at the SHE EcoPark for local community stakeholders, including mayors and representatives of municipal local councils. The meeting aimed to inform them about the progress of the Jordanian National Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Jordan Valley and to invite local residents to share their questions, concerns and problems faced by their communities.


Presenting the Jordan River Faith Based Campaign to “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” Visitors

Baptism Site 2EcoPeace Amman’s Jordan River project team presented our “Faith based campaign” in partnership with the chaplain of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) Mr. Jonas Bodin, to a group of Swedish believers who came to the Bethany Beyond the Jordan baptism site.  Biblical visits to the River Jordan offer faith-based groups true value in learning about EcoPeace’s Jordan River rehabilitation efforts that aim to bring the river back as the pulmonary artery in the Jordan valley.


Jordan River Presentation – California USA Interfaith group

JR Interfaith presentationAn interfaith group of Christians and Jews from Southern California visited the Holy Land this month, requesting a presentation from EcoPeace about what has happened to the River Jordan.  EcoPeace staff gave a talk about the challenges facing the River, what has caused its demise, why it’s important to turn things around, and what EcoPeace is doing about it.  Great interest was shown, with many of the participants asking to show the presentation at home in their communities, and expressing their willingness to host EcoPeace staff when we are next in their area.


Jordan River Tour – Schmidt’s Girls School, Jerusalem

JR Tour Girls CollegeNo one is too young or too old to care about the River Jordan!  A class of 8th grade students from the Schmidt’s Girls School in Jerusalem used their class trip day to come down to the Jordan River and Dead Sea to learn about the outcomes of uncoordinated water management – the status quo in the region for decades. The day ended with the girls dividing into groups and drawing what they learned on poster boards.  They plan to show and explain these drawings to their peers. They were most impacted at seeing the shores of the Dead Sea more than a kilometer away at the old Lido restaurant site, indeed a sad site.

The Jordan River Rehabilitation project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency.

Dear Friends,

The Gaza crisis continues to be an important focus of our attention.  Please see the relevant items below to learn why.

We have also held several exciting cross border youth camps this month, taking advantage of the good winter weather and our EcoPark in Jordan.

In short, it has been another month of intense cross border work to preserve our shared environment.


Thomas Friedman in the NY Times – mentioning EcoPeaceFont-New-York-Times-Logo

We invite you to read this New York Times article by Thomas Friedman “Everyone is going all the way” which supports EcoPeace’s approach to promoting a regional solution through environmental cooperation. Friedman discusses the implications of the situation in the Gaza Strip for Israel, reminding us that the temporary closures of the Ashkelon desalination plant, which supplies 15% of Israel’s desalinated water, have occurred due to the flow of sewage from Gaza into the Mediterranean. The article also includes links to the recently published EcoPeace/INSS discussion paper on Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian water diplomacy efforts.


New INSS publication – The Crisis of the Gaza Strip: A Way Out [2 chapters by EcoPeace]

In the course of 2017, the INSS conducted a research study “The Crisis of the Gaza Strip:  Gaza_Crisis_w_INSS_cover_publicationA Way Out” to examine the situation in the Gaza Strip, with a focus on the prevailing political, economic, infrastructural, and security conditions, including their cumulative manifestations and their short term and long term implications.

As co-authors, EcoPeace contributed 2 chapters to the report.  One chapter, written in cooperation with a team of INSS researchers, describes the water and energy crisis in Gaza; the other chapter, written in cooperation with a team from RAND Corporation, focuses on the implications of the water crisis on public health.  The articles contained in this volume, both individually and collectively, offer clear conclusions that measures to rebuild the Gaza Strip are a critical and urgent imperative.


EcoPeace in the Water Caucus in Israeli Knesset

Water caucusA meeting of the Israeli Parliament’s Water Caucus was held on February 20th, hosted by its Chair MK Yael Cohen-Faran, and attended by EcoPeace Middle East. In the discussion, the Head of the Water Authority, Giora Shacham, and other experts expressed their concern about the continuing water crisis in the region and its implications for Israel.

Mr. Shacham highlighted the dire conditions in Gaza, especially in the water sector.  On the domestic front, he presented the need for a water policy that takes these factors into consideration, with changes needed in agricultural quotas and actions that would promote water conservation.

 


Sderot Conference

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Join us!  On March 6th, from 14:00-16:00, EcoPeace will hold an event about the impact of the water and sanitation crisis in Gaza on Israel. The event will be held as part of the Sderot Conference and will be joined by decision makers and experts (the event will be held in Hebrew). To sign up for the event: https://goo.gl/forms/a5vRxWeq3ys7eAFt1

 This event is supported by the Government of Canada.

Regional Alumni Camp

EcoPeace’s “Good Water Neighbors” youth program held a 3-day cross border workshop alumnifor Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli alumni students at our SHE EcoPark this past month.  The workshop addressed our shared water resources, such as the Jordan River), while conducting a host of activities to strengthen their relationships and promote the concept of solidarity.  Students commented saying “activities were effective because we worked as a team” and “our decisions were common and collective“… We are proud to see the future generation create friendships based on their shared environment. That’s how leadership is created.


Regional Youth Water Trustees camp

Another cross border youth meeting was held this month, this one for younger teens, Youth Campfrom the Lower Jordan River and Dead Sea communities, from Israel and Jordan. These youth “Water Trustees” learned about the water realities in each of their countries, hiked together in our blossoming EcoPark, learned about the impact of the Syrian refugees in Jordan on the water reality, visited a new purification and pump station in Mensheya, stopped to see the Diversion Weir (dam) on the Yarmouk River and planted trees together to help the reforestation of our EcoPark.  An intense learning experience was had by all, on many fronts.


Exchange youth visit from Japan

Three Japanese girls from the “Kizuna project“, who every summer host Israeli and japan girls1Palestinian girls from our “Good Water Neighbors” youth program, came to the region this month on a week-long exchange trip. They visited several of our communities and schools, meeting up with alumni and participants from past programs. Together with youth from the Ramot Yam School in Emek Hefer, they painted a wall drawing depicting the relationship between man and the sea, and calling for nature and sea conservation. The message of “Water has no borders” came through loud and clear.  They also visited the participating school in Meitarim, where they learned about composting and the hydroponics system recently installed by EcoPeace.


National Teacher’s Seminar Negev, Israel

Teachers training_NegevEcoPeace’s “Good Water Neighbors” Education program held a daylong training for Geography teachers from all over Israel, with site visits to the Hura Waste Water Treatment Plant and a view of the Green Line at the Rimon Ruins.  Topics covered throughout the day included how to address cross border environmental issues, the role of educators in developing a regional perspective on environmental issues, and finding joint solutions for shared environmental problems.


EcoPeace seeking legal action for flooding in Wadi Fukin

Last month we reported on the Jerusalem Regional Planning Commission that met to discuss Tzur Hadassah’s Master Plan, which calls for the expansion of additional neighborhoods, which would negatively impact its neighboring Palestinian village of WFWadi Fukin.  EcoPeace, together with a group of activists from Tzur Hadassa, attended the hearing to give voice to the formal objection submitted regarding the expansion plan.  In the meantime, due to infrastructure work already taking place, every time it rains, water floods the homes of Wadi Fukin residents.  EcoPeace is assisting the residents to seek compensation from the Israeli Ministry of Housing for damages caused and to speed up the process of building a new drainage system. EcoPeace will continue to do whatever we can, in coordination with both Palestinian and Israeli community residents, to protect the terraced landscape of the valley.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.

Jordan River in focus

David Institute Hebrew UnivEcoPeace staff continues to lead tours to the Lower Jordan River, making sure to keep raising awareness of the plight of the River, as well disseminating EcoPeace’s efforts for its rehabilitation. A full day tour of the northern parts of the River (from the Sea of Galilee southward to the 3-bridges site) was given to students from the Hebrew University’s Davis Institute for International Relations, that included spots at the Sea of Galilee, the Yardenit baptism site, the Alumot dam site – where the river drastically changes – and visits to see remnants of the River’s former glory at the Rotenberg Hydroelectric power plant and the “3 Bridges” site.  Another half day tour was given to a group of Methodist Bishops, pastors and congregation members from the U.S., who witnessed the sorry state of the River farther south at the Kaser el Yehud baptism site and learned about EcoPeace’s faith based campaign in calling for the River’s rehabilitation.  To organize such tours for your community or organization, please contact us by writing to mira@ecopeaceme.org.

 

The Jordan River Rehabilitation project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency

 

Dear Friends,

January was another month of strong visibility for our issues. Yesterday, Reuters published this op-ed by EcoPeace’s Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli co-directors, which joins other recent advocacy efforts, such as the INNS-EcoPeace conference and discussion paper and presentation at the Wilson Center, making the case that water can restore hope for peace in the Middle East and warning of the consequences if this opportunity is missed. EcoPeace’s narrative and advocacy, particularly on the urgency of the Gaza water and sanitation crisis, is gaining ground, as can be seen in this Haaretz article by Amos Harel, one of Israel’s most important security commentators and in greater public awareness of the danger to the region if the situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate.

  • EcoPeace Middle East

EcoPeace / INSS conference on Water Security

INSS_TLivniWith the support of the Germany Embassy in Tel Aviv and in cooperation with the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), EcoPeace Middle East held a conference on the regional water crises at the INSS in Tel Aviv on January 11th. With the region increasingly threatened by climate change and facing its fifth consecutive drought year, the conference offered a platform to discuss water security issues and their geopolitical implications at the bilateral and regional level.  The conference speakers included MK Tzipi Livni, the Head of Israeli Water Authority Giora Shacham, Former US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and many others.

A new EcoPeace/INSS discussion paper (more in next item) on Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian water diplomacy efforts was released at the conference, with recommendations for policy makers.  See our events page for a complete summary of the conference, including videos and important quotes of the speakers.

 


Water Diplomacy Report “Israeli Water Diplomacy and National Security Concerns”

This new EcoPeace / INSS discussion paper, “Israeli Water Diplomacy and National Water Diplomacy PaperSecurity Concerns” reflects on the concepts of water security and water diplomacy, describes the state of water security in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories, and presents a set of recommendations to decision makers designed to advance Israeli Palestinian water security and shared national security concerns. The paper contends that water security plays a fundamental role in ensuring the economic development and the social and political stability of a country, and therefore must be regarded as a national priority issue. The paper suggests that by advancing water diplomacy, states can enhance water security, build regional cooperation and contribute to peace and stability.


Woodrow Wilson Event

Wilson Center2Israeli Co-Director Gidon Bromberg was invited to the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC to speak at the event “A Matter of Survival: Learning to Cooperate over Water“, and to share EcoPeace’s environmental peacebuilding experiences on such a critical issue.  In the discussion with President Danilo Türk, Chair of the Panel on Water and Peace and former President of Slovenia, leaders from the U.S. and around the world shared their insights on water and peace. Click here to watch the video of the event, and a listing of selected quotes from the speakers, including Gidon Bromberg.  Additional photos of the event can be seen here.


Jordan River TourJR tour - 2 churches

This month, EcoPeace staff brought congregation members, staff and volunteers from the Augusta Victoria & Dormition Abbey churches to the Kaser el Yehud Baptism site to learn about the challenges facing the Jordan River.  Discussions focused on the importance of the river to the local, international as well as faith communities around the world, and what EcoPeace is doing to advance rehabilitation efforts.

 


Dead Sea in the Spotlight

This month the Israeli Parliament held a Finance Committee meeting to begin NASA shrinking photos 1972 - 2012discussions on the various options for saving the Dead Sea and accompanying price tags.  EcoPeace staff attended the meeting to make sure that our vision of stabilizing the Dead Sea is heard:  (1) Partial rehabilitation of the River Jordan coupled with (2) charging the Mineral Industries for the water they extract – so that they are incentivized to change their water-intensive mining methods.  We were delighted to note that our Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Jordan Valley was portrayed front and center at this meeting.  Following the Committee meeting, several environmental organizations decided to join forces and work towards a mutually agreed vision to put forward in the future.


We had “Good Water Neighbors” at work at the Jerusalem Region Planning Commission

WFOn January 29th, the Jerusalem Regional Planning Commission met to discuss Tzur Hadassah’s Master Plan, which calls for the expansion of additional neighborhoods.  EcoPeace, together with a group of activists from Tzur Hadassa, attended the hearing to give voice to the formal objection submitted regarding the expansion plan, citing how the new neighborhood’s fence and surrounding road would adversely affect the springs in the area and impact the Palestinian neighboring community of Wadi Fukin. Meetings were held with residents of Wadi Fukin who wrote up testimonials about the plan’s impact on their well-being, naming how the expansion plan could damage the water springs in the valley and greatly impact the agricultural livelihoods of many residents. These testimonials were added into the formal objection document and delivered during the hearing.  Read more in this Haaretz article.

 

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.

 

Message of Peace

2017-2018

We put a year behind us shaped by political challenges that led many to the conclusion that peace cannot be achieved under the current conditions. Recent political developments such as the US announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there, have served to support this view.

The people of our region long for a real, just and lasting peace. The Treaty of Versailles did not lead to peace. It planted the seeds for revenge and more violence when conditions changed. Attempts to settle the conflict would be best served by an approach of mutual respect and goodwill between all parties, leading to agreements based on the principles of international law, where Jerusalem serves as the capital of two states living in peace and recognition of each other’s sovereignty.

At the dawn of this new year, we remind ourselves that the chance for peace is never lost. At EcoPeace Middle East we will continue to build an understanding that as neighbors we cannot disengage from one another, nor from our shared environment.

We urge our leadership to look at long-term mutual interests as the basis for decision-making and compromise needed to solve issues such as the water and sanitation crises facing two million people in Gaza and achieve a just and sustainable peace.


Water Security conference – INSS – January 11

Praying for Rain or Advancing Water Diplomacy? The Water Crises Facing the Region: Challenges and Opportunities for National Security

EcoPeace Middle East and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), with thePublic taps for drinking water in Khan Younis. support of the Embassy of Germany, are pleased to invite you to attend a special conference on the regional water crises and its geo-political implications to be held at the INSS conference hall in Ramat Aviv on Thursday, January 11th, from 09:00 to 13:00. With the region increasingly threatened by climate change and facing its fifth consecutive drought year, the conference will include key note addresses and panel discussions on water security issues and their geopolitical implications at the bilateral and regional level.  A new EcoPeace/INSS discussion paper on Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian water diplomacy efforts will be released at the conference with recommendations for policy makers.  Space is limited.  Please register your participation at this link.


Woodrow Wilson Center Event 

WW logo

If you are in the Washington DC area on January 16, 2018, you are invited to hear EcoPeace Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg speak at the event “A matter of survival; learning to cooperate over water“.  Leaders from around the world will come to share their insights on water and peace, and bring into focus the new U.S. Global Water Strategy.  More details in the above link.


Rome Conference

Giulia Giordano, EcoPeace International Affairs Manager, was invited to represent Rome1EcoPeace Middle East at the Rome Med – Mediterranean Dialogue 2017. This high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies) was held in Rome from November 30 to December 2nd. The event brought together top leaders of Mediterranean governments, business, civil society, media and academia.


Morocco Conference

EcoPeace’s Palestinian Co-Director, Nada Majdalani, and Regional Projects Manager, Morocco confYana Abu Taleb, participated in the International Workshop on “Water-Energy-Food Nexus implementation in the Maghreb” which took place in Rabat-Morocco from 18-20 December 2017, and was sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. The workshop focused on the interdependencies between the sectors of water, energy and food. EcoPeace’s Palestinian Co-Director emphasized emerging opportunities through cross-border cooperation that capitalizes on the advantages of each country. Her presentation of EcoPeace’s Water Energy Nexus pre-feasibility study that adopts this regional approach was well received

 


Barcelona Conference

Barcelona

EcoPeace’s Israeli Co-Director, Gidon Bromberg, and the Jordanian project coordinator of the Water Energy Nexus project, Mohammad Bundokji, participated in the Regional Conference on Water Governance in MENA and the wider Mediterranean region  in Barcelona, Spain from the 12th – 14th of December 2017.  Mr. Bromberg presented the results of the Water Energy Nexus pre-feasibility study and emphasized the transformative impact of such innovative solutions on the water and energy sectors in Jordan, Israel and Palestine. He also explained the next steps to be taken – a full feasibility study and a pilot project as proof of concept.  For more information on the conference, see the concept note and the agenda.


Hebron Gaza Negev Project

As part of EcoPeace’s ongoing endeavor to raise awareness for the health and Hebron Gaza_Bedouinenvironmental impacts of the water and electricity crisis in Gaza on Israeli communities, EcoPeace staff held 2 “town hall” style events with diverse audiences living in the Negev region. The first were Bedouin women from the Wadi Attir Project, a sustainable farm managed by the Negev Bedouin community; the second were Sderot residents. In both meetings, we discussed local environmental issues and women’s role in leading environmental change in the region. EcoPeace is excited about creating new partnerships with new populations in the region.

 This project is supported by the Government of Canada.

Cross Border “Ecological Corridors” Experts MeetingEcological corridors group

In the month of December, a group of Israeli ecologists and Jordanian stakeholders from the Jordan Valley and Royal Botanical Gardens met at our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan, to discuss the future possibility of a joint project on developing ecological corridors in the Jordan Valley and the Wadi Ziglab area. Knowledge was shared between the different parties with the hope of leading to future cooperation.  We identified objectives and a process for achieving such a project.


EcoPeace presented at the Israeli Ministry of Education’s Center of Science Education

Teachers trainingEcoPeace staff was invited by the Israeli Ministry of Education’s Center of Scientific Education to talk about the geopolitics of water issues in the Middle East.  Taking place near the Jordan River in the town of Beit She’an, the teachers learned about the complexity of shared water resources and understood that Israel can do a lot to help its neighbors and, as a result, gain regional security. Following the lecture, EcoPeace was offered to participate in the sustainable education day in the Israeli Knesset, which we gladly accepted.


Yatta1Yatta environmental class opens

EcoPeace’s Ramallah staff helped to organize an environmental class in a girls’ school in Yatta (Hebron district), contributing input on topics such as sustainability, water conservation, water recycling and more.  Outdoor trips to water resources, exhibitions of water issues, and lessons from our Environmental Education Resource Guide are all part of the curriculum.  We hope to partner with additional schools in the area to such classes.


Akko conference

Israel Urban ForumRotem Weizman, from our “Good Water Neighbors” project, presented EcoPeace’s work with communities across the region – Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian – at the Akko Urbanism Conference that focused on urban / cities’ resilience. She spoke about EcoPeace’s unique voice and strength as a cross-border organization and specifically EcoPeace’s achievement in Baqa Al-Garbia and Baqa Al-Sharkiya.

 The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.

 

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