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.

 

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | December 3, 2017

December 1, 2017 – Environmental Peacebuilding Newsletter

EcoPeace received much international attention and recognition this past month, winning two prestigious awards, and reaching important audiences worldwide.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the donors who generously supported our #GivingTuesday campaign. It is not too late to add your gift (donations are tax exempt in the US).   Click here to support our work.


GCSP – Prize for Innovation in Global Security 2017

The Geneva Center for Security Policy awarded EcoPeace Middle East’s Program on GCSP prizeWater Security this year’s Prize for Innovation in Global Security. The prize recognizes deserving individuals or organizations that have an innovative approach to addressing international security challenges. Members of the jury are composed of the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva; Former Chief of the Swiss Armed Forces, Head of the Division for Security Policy in the Swiss Directorate of Political Affairs and others.  The jury elected EcoPeace among 115 entrees from 50 countries, noting that environmental security is increasingly crucial in international conflict resolution. EcoPeace launched the Program on Water Security last year to share its successful environmental peacebuilding model to meet the urgent global need for cross-border cooperation to mitigate water conflict and manage shared freshwater ecosystems. Based in Washington DC, the program connects EcoPeace’s experience in the Middle East with the capacity building needs of civil society organizations coping with climate-induced water stress and conflict worldwide.

The Program on Water Security is supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation

Euro Solar Prize 2017

ESP2017_Award WinnerThe European Solar Prize Award is handed out every year to municipalities, organizations, and individuals for extraordinary accomplishments and significant contributions to the use and expansion of renewable energy. EcoPeace’s Water & Energy Nexus project won this year’s prize in the “One World Cooperation” category. The Water- Energy Nexus project seeks to create an Israeli – Palestinian – Jordanian water energy community with healthy resource interdependencies that would enable Jordan, Israel and Palestine to meet their water and energy security needs, and their commitments to developing renewable energy and reducing their emissions. The project includes research into the feasibility of a water energy exchange whereby solar energy, to be harvested in Jordan, would be exported to Israel and Palestine, where it would be used to produce desalinated water, some of which would be exported back to Jordan.

The Water-Energy Nexus project is supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation 

TEDx Talk on Water

EcoPeace Middle East’s Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg TEDx Tel Aviv Salon talk on TedXWATER, given during the WATEC Exhibition and Conference in Tel Aviv is now available online and can be seen here. Building on his 23-year experience as co-founder and co-director of EcoPeace Middle East, he addressed issues of water security in the region, highlighting how water diplomacy is fundamental in ensuring equitable access and sustainable use of water resources.


EcoPeace at a Woodrow Wilson Event

EcoPeace was invited to speak at the Woodrow Wilson Center this month in their eventWoodrow WilsonWater Security in the Middle East – Source of Tension or Avenue for Peace?” Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director, and Yana Abu Talab, Jordanian Deputy Director, shared EcoPeace’s experiences on using water diplomacy to improve livelihoods, create healthy interdependencies, and enhance regional stability. The discussion also identified opportunities for progress on water issues within the peace process and the important role of the United States in fostering regional water security and stability.


Water & Energy Nexus study presented in Brussels

EcoPeace Middle East and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung were invited to give a WEN_Brusselspresentation of our Water & Energy Nexus study results at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event “A Water Energy Nexus for the Middle East and the Historic Experience of the European Coal and Steel Community”, underlined the importance and urgency of this project.  MEP Elmar Brok from the European’s People Party called for immediate action, before the window of opportunity closes. Click to hear his full keynote speech, as well as an interview with EcoPeace’s 3 country Directors


 

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

Staff at EcoPeace traveled the world this month, speaking at conferences in Bogota Colombia (don’t miss this video) and Rome, Italy;  attending a film workshop at the Sundance Institute’s Utah resort, and a MEDFORVAL sites meeting at the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in Lebanon .

Next month it will be Directors going abroad; including a public event at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. on November 15th from 9-11:30 am (click here if you would like to attend).  If you would like to meet with our Directors in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington or Stockholm, email Giulia Giordano.

Please read “Jordan Water Crisis Worsens as Mideast Tensions Slow Action“, written by AP; New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, ABC News and Fox News.

EcoPeace Middle East



Diplomat Tour “Gaza on the Edge”

On October 24th, EcoPeace staff led a group of representatives of diplomatic missions Diplomat Tour around Gazaand international organizations on a study tour of the Israeli areas neighboring the Gaza Strip. The tour “Gaza on the Edge” showed the transboundary implications of the Gaza water and sanitation crisis on the Israeli communities, proving that political borders do not apply to the environment. The participants had the chance to meet with Mayor Alon Shuster, one of the Israeli mayor signatories of a letter addressed to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Lieberman demanding that Israel takes action to solve Gaza’s water, energy and sanitation crisis.

This event was undertaken in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Israel office.

EcoPeace at “One Young World” Summit – Bogota Columbia

One Young World_RotemRotem Weizman, EcoPeace’s Community Coordinator, was chosen to represent Israel at One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia. Rotem was chosen as one of the five delegates to present their work during the conference at the Peace & Reconciliation Plenary Session. She was introduced by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, who also spoke about the importance of Environment and Peace Building and praised EcoPeace’s work both on stage and on Twitter. Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan and other young delegates spoke about their efforts to promote peace around the world.  This is a speech you must listen to.


“Dead Sea Guardians” team in a Sundance Film Institute Lab – Utah, USA

EcoPeace was honored to receive an invitation, together with two Israeli filmmakers working on a documentary based on our last year’s Dead Sea Swim event, called “Dead Sea Guardians“, to participate in a 4-day “Stories of Change” Lab by the renowned Sundance Film Institute. The “Dead Sea Guardians” were 1 of 4 teams from around theDead Sea Guardians world chosen to attend the workshop, held in the beautiful Sundance Resort in Utah.  Each team was comprised of filmmakers and social entrepreneurs, with each one at a different phase of film development. Stay tuned for the full length feature!

 


Water & Climate: Meeting of the Great Rivers of the Word, International Summit – Rome, Italy

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Project Coordinator, Mira Edelstein, was invited to present the m13organization’s efforts on the rehabilitation of the Jordan River at the “Water & Climate: Meeting of the Great Rivers of the World” International summit, that took place from October 23-25 in Rome.  Along with other great rivers around the world, including the Amazon, Mississippi, Yangtze, Danube, Rhine, Murray-Darling and many more, this conference aimed at raising the importance of including climate change mitigation into river management. The declaration of the conference will be presented at the upcoming Climate Conference in Bonn.

 


New Halhul Environmental Course Opens with EcoPeace

Hahul hikeEcoPeace’s Palestinian staff was contacted by the Halhul Municipality and its Youth Council to present our work in the field of environment and water at the opening of their new environmental course in Halhul City. The course began with a 6 kilometer nature hike with a number of institutions and representatives from the Hebron Governorate in attendance.  We look forward to continued cooperation in this important course and applaud those that helped in its development.


EcoPeace Teaches Sustainability at YOCOPAS

On October 27th, as part of the Eastern Mediterranean International School YOCOPASYOCOPAS conference, Rotem Weizman, ‘Good Water Neighbors’ project’s Community Coordinator of the Yarkon Basin, led a workshop for students from around the world about community activism. The students built a drip irrigation bottle garden and learned about how these activities can break language barriers, bring people together and make sustainability accessible to all. In two hours the students changed their school’s entrance from a boring fence to a recycled blooming garden.


Sapir Academic College – EcoPeace’s 1st Academic Course

Sapir College

This summer, a joint course was held by the Sapir Academic College and EcoPeace Middle East, the first of its kind, led by Dr. Shlomit Tamari, ‘Good Water Neighbors’ project’s Community Coordinator of the Hebron-Besor Basin, and lecturer in environmental education at Sapir College. 37 students took part in the course on ‘Environmental Activism and Peace-Building’.  One student, a Bedouin resident of the town of Rahat, wrote in the final paper of the course: “I was never interested enough to delve into environmental and water issues, but this course made me start thinking about them”.


Hands of Peace alumni – EcoPeace tour and workshop in P’ki’in

hands of peace logoAs part of our efforts to build partnerships with like-minded organizations and create a collective impact, Adam Waddell, our Good Water Neighbor’s project Community Coordinator in the Jordan Valley presented EcoPeace’s vision of cross-border environmental dialogue and regional cooperation to a group of Hands of Peace alumni, which held a retreat in P’ki’in, a village located in a mixed Arab-Jewish area where coexistence is a way of life. We both hope to foster continued cooperation between the two organizations.


Cross Border Jordanian/Palestinian Municipal Visit

Madaba ObeidaEcoPeace sees a major development between the two Good Water Neighbor’s municipalities of Madabe (Jordan) and Obadieh (Palestine). They organized a regional visit, exchanged ideas and promoted more cooperation on tourism and sanitation. On the 17th of October, ten participants from the Obadieh City headed by the Mayor, visited Madaba. The visit included discussion on continuing the ‘twinning’ between the two municipalities, finding common solutions to a number of environmental and tourism problems, and continuing general information exchange. The Palestinian group was welcomed by the Mayor Eng. Ahmad Salameh Al Azaidah.

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

EcoPeace gets briefed on Hebron issues

EcoPeace’s Palestinian Director and senior staff conducted a series of visits to the Hebron district municipalities to discuss water, sanitation, and infrastructure challenges andHebron meeting opportunities in the region. The visits included Hebron, Dura, and Yatta municipalities where discussions stressed the importance of civic engagement, women’s participation, and the promotion of the Hebron Waste Water Treatment Plant. Also included was a site visit to Sussiya, where the team met the Head of the Council and witnessed the harsh reality of residents not having proper access to water, sanitation, and energy.

This project is supported by the Government of Canada

MEDFORVAL annual meeting – Lebanon

EcoPeace Amman staff Abed Sultan participated in the 3rd annual MEDFORVAL meeting held from October 23rd – 25th at the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in Lebanon.  Members from 19 Mediterranean Sites (our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark is a proud member site) gathered to discuss the ecological values of Mediterranean Forests. Participants MEDFORVALbrought up ideas for future projects and the prospects of expanding to other sites in the Mediterranean region. The meeting included additional topics such as active community participation, authentic local food diets, best nurseries practices, seedling strength and adaptation to climate change in relation to forests.  Click on this video for a good summary of the annual meeting.


Activities, groups and events at our SHE EcoPark

We had a very busy and exciting month at our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark.

Some of the highlights:

  • Seeds of Peace youth from Amman engaged in several activities including geodesic btydome building, a hiking tour, the Zipline and the Giant Swing;
  • a tour of the EcoPark led by Munqeth Mehyar, Jordanian Director, who showed them the facilities and gave an introduction about the Park’s objectives;
  • Rotary Club brought the Prince Aliah School from Amman to visit the EcoPark, hearing lectures about hygiene and water, and toured the EcoPark with all its different environmental education stations;

 

  • 50 orphans were hosted at the EcoPark who came via the Local Charityxx Foundation; seeing their faces on the Giant Swing at the Park made us very happy;

 

  • Garden of Good” – the Italian Embassy inSHE_memorials and delegates Jordan, “Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide (Gariwo)”, a non-profit organization that deals with culture, education and memory, and EcoPeace, inaugurated a “Garden of Good” at the EcoPark this month. 7 memorials were erected for 7 Jordanian personalities who have made notable efforts and sacrifices for humanity. In attendance were Mayors, the Governor, as well as family members of the fallen who planted 7 trees near the park’s Deluxe Cabins area. (read more in this Jordan Times article or in this Gariwo article)

 

 

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | October 29, 2017

Kizuna Means Bond

My name is Maryam Hammad and I’m a Palestinian from Jerusalem. I was a participant IMG_1035in Kizuna summer camp 2017. I’m happy to share that I created and found bonds with nature and great ongoing friendships with all the participants in the program.  And it was very nice to see the girls from the previous EcoPeace camps.

The KIZUNA Project aims to provide an opportunity for Israeli, Palestinian and Japanese youths to experience the “SATOYAMA” (a mountain village area in Japan) as a way of life. Kizuna means “bond”, so by living and learning about this model of positive relationships between people and nature and people and people they can return home and aspire to be future leaders in their communities that can work towards a sustainable society. With various activities in a nature-rich mountain village where people have been succeeding their own traditions and cultures through generations, participants learn about sustainability in order to take action in their own community after the camp. Participants are expected to establish relationships with each other, based on the knowledge of the Satoyama, as youths living in the same world and establish a human network for the future.

I have always wanted to make a change in my community and be a great leader of IMG_20170809_100002_HDRtomorrow. As they say “the change starts from you,” so I want to say a massive thank you to PFJ, because the program opened my eyes to the amazing, and unforgettable healthy ways of living. I’m proud to say that now I can live this way because I experienced it. Starting from being thankful and having appreciation for everything on earth. Also knowing the importance of culture and the concept of a sustainable society. All of these things will always stay in my mind and it will help me change myself and make changes in my community. The program means many things to me because it opened up my perspective on different issues in my personal life and it gave me a feeling of inner peace with participants in every activity. I have incredible memories.

I remember one of the nights that we were having a long night chat. We talked about IMG_2153ourselves, sharing funny as well as serious moments. We were all in a circle but I didn’t feel we were all a circle of normal girls having a night talk. That night by sharing similar thoughts, funny stories, as well as serious conversations, we felt very close. I felt like I found my twin versions from different worlds.

 

I can proudly say that I found positive growth in myself and acquired more knowledge than I could have imagined. In the end I want to say that change is possible and it all starts from you.


Written by: Maryam Hammad, Palestinian participant in the Kizuna Japan camp.

5th Regional Teachers SeminarDSCN4555

For the 5th consecutive year, EcoPeace held a Regional Teacher’s Conference, gathering together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli educators, teachers and environmental activists to create a platform for teachers to connect across borders, to celebrate the work they are doing, and to learn best practices for incorporating environmental education into the curriculum. By bringing together education professionals interested in learning more from their peers and colleagues, the conference supports leaders for the next generation. The seminars throughout the weekend, held at our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan, helped construct a framework for regional water education and classroom strategies for approaching the topic of food and water security. Underlying all of the seminars was the assertion that there is a need for more water diplomacy.  Read more in our blog post.


Jenin Waste Water Treatment Plant updates

Jenin visitNada Majdalani, the new Palestinian Director of EcoPeace, together with Palestinian staff from the “Good Water Neighbors” project visited the Jenin area this month. They toured the Jenin Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and learned about the status of the facility at a meeting with representatives from the municipality of Jenin. They discussed possible future cooperation, especially on fundraising opportunities that could design, build, and operate solar fields to provide the Jenin WWTP with electricity.  See an article in Maan news about this visit with the Mayor of Jenin.


Tel Aviv Cities Summit; Baka Gharbiya in the spotlightTel Aviv

On September 5th, EcoPeace’s Israeli Director, Gidon Bromberg, presented the organization’s work in the 8th Tel Aviv City Summit. The summit brought together speakers from around the world to address questions such as ‘How can cities become beacons of democracy?’; ‘How can we create the cities of tomorrow?’; ‘What role does innovation play in helping cities plan their future?’.

Gidon gave an example from our “Good Water Neighbors” project whereby the project brought together Israeli residents of Baqa Al-Gharbiya and Palestinian residents of Baqa Al-Sharkiya to advocate for the rehabilitation of Wadi Abu Nar, a stream that flows through both communities, and is highly polluted.  Subsequently, the Mayors of both communities identified the opportunity to remove the stream’s pollutants: Baka Al Sharkiya’s sewage could be sent and treated in the newly built Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Baka Al Gharbiya, and signed on a Memorandum of Understanding stating their cooperation to promote this idea.  Importantly, EcoPeace continued to help with getting the necessary approval by the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Water Committee (JWC) and in securing the financial support to build a sewage collection system for Baka Al Sharkiya and the neighboring communities.


New Hydroponics system in Youth Villagehyudroponics

For the new upcoming school year, EcoPeace’s Community Coordinator in the Emek Hefer area, Nadav Tal, together with 9th graders from the Hadassah Ne’urim Youth Village School built a hydroponic system.  As a ‘deep water culture’ facility this hydroponic system is different from previously build hydroponic systems.

The students took part in a study program where they learned how to monitor the concentration of the hydroponic fertilizer in the storage tank while measuring the growth of the plants. This teaches the students how to reduce resources and maintain water-efficient agriculture that can be maintained on the walls and roofs of buildings. They will continue to monitor results throughout the year, and share their findings with their peers.

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


Hebron – Gaza watershed activities

In partnership with several organizations and activists, EcoPeace helped organize a Sderot_meetingHope instead of War” event in the southern Israeli city of Sderot.  This ‘Town Hall’ style event brought together Israelis from the Regional Councils around the Gaza strip, who called on the Israeli government to take immediate action regarding the situation in Gaza – for the benefit of the entire region.

Among the speakers were MK Amir Peretz, Sigal Moran, Head of the B’nei Shimon Regional Council and Ahmad, a resident of Gaza who, via phone, explained to the group the dire situation in Gaza.  MK Peretz’s closing words were clear: “Those who claim that this is their problem, and not ours, are wrong. We cannot ignore the situation“. We couldn’t agree more.

 This project is supported by the Government of Canada.


EcoPeace Director gives a TedX talk during WATEC exhibition

TedX

On September 13th, Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg participated in the first ever TedX Tel Aviv Salon talk on WATER, which was organized within the framework of the WATEC Exhibition and Conference. Mr. Bromberg, together with other prominent water experts, was asked to share his thoughts on the role people can play in preserving the most valuable resource for humanity.

Building on his 23 year experience as co-founder and co-director of EcoPeace Middle East, Mr. Bromberg addressed issues of water security in the region, highlighting how water diplomacy is fundamental in ensuring equitable access and sustainable use of water resources. The video of the talk will be available next month – stay tuned!


EcoPeace staff at the Euro-Israel Forum for Strategic Dialogue – and at Yale University

FSD_logo

On September 25th, the Euro-Israel Forum for Strategic Dialogue, the European Leadership Network, (ELNET), and the European Policy Center (EPC) held a conference in Brussels that focused on regional cooperation and stabilization, and Israel – EU relations.  EcoPeace’s Government Relations Officer, Uri Ginott, moderated a panel named “Tackling Water Diplomacy and Security in the Middle East” that included high level panelists from both the EU and Israel.

Mr. Ginott then continued on to the U.S., to present our work at the Macmillan Center for International Studies at Yale University, and to participate in workshops aiming to develop ideas on how to create regional academic hubs in the Middle East.


EcoPeace at the ‘AWRA’ conference

AWRAThe American Water Resources Association (AWRA), together with the Water Research Center of the Tel Aviv University, held a conference on September 10th-11th called Cutting Edge Solutions to Wicked Water Problems at the Porter School of Environmental Studies.  A wide range of presentations were given tackling the issue of water problems around the world (full program here), including 2 from EcoPeace:


EcoPeace at the Climate Chance Summit, Morocco

EcoPeace Palestinian staff member, Malek Abualfailat attended the Climate Chance Malek in MoroccoSummit in Agadir, Morocco which took place from the 11th-13th of September.  Mr. Abualfailat participated in the panel “Addressing the Role of Youth in Climate Change Policies” through the Mediterranean Youth Climate Network, of which EcoPeace Middle East is a founding organization. The session was funded by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Morocco, and the Union for the Mediterranean.


EcoPeace joins Women Wage Peace’s “Journey to Peace”

This year, Women Wage Peace – a grassroots organization of (not only) women, who WWP“will not stop until a viable peace agreement is reached” – is conducting a 2-week long “Journey to Peace”.  The kick-off day, October 24th, was held in the Western Negev in Israel, with EcoPeace staff and interns joining in the march, participating in the learning circles, and listening to many speeches and presentations throughout the day.  Additional staff participated in the following days, in Dimona and Um Batin, and taking to the microphones to explain the cross border work being carried out by EcoPeace in the water sector.


Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark wins ‘Top 100 Green Destinations in 2017’ – again!

EcoPeace is proud to announce that for the 2nd year in a row; our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan was named as one of the Top 100 Green Sustainable Destinations for 2017.  We’re on the map!  TOP 100 WIDE

The award celebrates the efforts of tourism destinations that maintain responsible and sustainable tourism initiatives and is a follow-up to National Geographic Traveler’s Destinations Stewardship surveys. The Top 100 initiative recognizes tourism destinations that make a difference and take sustainability seriously.  Contact us to come for a visit!


International Community School at the SHE EcoPark

btyOn September 14th – 16th, a group of 40 students and teachers from the International Community School visited the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark, taking part in a wide range of activities. The group learned about the advantages of dome architecture (visiting the large Dome structure on site), they were taught how to gauge biodiversity indexes (by identifying the different flora and fauna in the EcoPark), and participated in adventure activities (i.e. cycling, zip-lining and hiking) and learned about the benefits of local community service.  In the evening, they watched the movie “Solar Woman” that sparked lively discussions about climate change and solar energy.The school principal announced that he sees the SHE EcoPark as a “hub” for environmental education and recreation, and will continue to bring students there for a positive learning experience.


“Lens” Trainings

Three sets of trainings were held at the SHE EcoPark this month covering the topics ofbty food hazards, hospitality, and ecotourism and adventure tourism.  Together with EcoPark staff, these trainings included staff from 20 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) from the local communities who are working with the EcoPark as service providers, including women’s organizations and local tour guides.  Participants expressed their appreciation for the knowledge gained on each issue, enabling them to better develop their skills, each in their own field of work.

Rotary Schools Training on Water Harvesting and Hygiene Rotary

On September 22nd and 23rd, 2 full day trainings were held at the SHE EcoPark in partnership with Rotary International and Amman West Clubs.  Each day, a group of 50 students came to learn about good water practices, especially rainwater harvesting, as well as general health and personal hygiene issues.  EcoPeace continues to develop the EcoPark to be a learning center for many schools, organizations and clubs in the area – for environmental education and other important issues.

Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | October 2, 2017

EcoPeace marches with Women Wage Peace

Within the first month of interning at EcoPeace, we traveled in person to places of WWPimportance as it concerns boundary areas and transboundary water basins, starting near Gaza in the lower part of the Hebron-Besor-Gaza Basin, making our way to the upper part towards Hebron. Through our travels, it became clear that water issues are not restricted to one area or people, rather, it is an issue that concerns many communities throughout the region. Furthermore, it became apparent that cooperation and understanding are essential to effectively address transboundary issues.

As EcoPeace representatives, we joined the first of eleven days of The Journey to Peace 2017, organized by Women Wage Peace. The journey started in Sderot on Sunday, 24 September. The goal of the events is to bring Israelis of all political and religious spectrums together with Palestinians to spread the notion that peace in the region between all parties is possible, starting with peaceful interaction.

The theme of the first day’s journey took us through historically significant areas and sparked lively group discussions with reference to the past rift between Abraham’s wives, Sarah and Hagar, the mother’s of Ismail and Isaac (forefathers of Muslims and Jews, respectively), and the possibility to reconcile those feelings of dislike by bringing peace between the different sides in current times.

The day commenced with a demonstration along a busy road in Sderot, in the south of Israel near Gaza. Women as well as men walked and sang along the road, some holding flowers and a few proudly displaying the banner of the Women Wage Peace organization. Cars passed, honking or waving in support.

The procession made its way to a junction where three arches stood, embodying the name of the area, Sha’ar HaNegev, gateway to the Negev. Here is where the opening ceremony took place. Regional authorities gave speeches and the organization’s declaration of peace was read aloud.

WWP2Next, the group spent lunch listening to personal stories of people who lived within communities of the Negev: often times stories involving experiences of violence, but hoping for and working towards a better, peaceful future.

We then arrived at a kibbutz, the proximity such that one could see an open waste dump in the bordering Gaza strip. The waste management in Gaza is a concern for Palestinians and Israelis alike, as water contamination from poorly treated sewage has contaminated beaches on both sides of the border. Ultimately, transboundary water issues show the necessity for Israelis and Palestinians to work together. Meanwhile, in the kibbutz, study groups were formed, and biblical and modern texts were discussed in connection to what lessons one may take from the readings regarding relationships between people.

WWP3The last activity was that of crossing the rope bridge that hangs over a wadi, the river Besor, in the lower part of the water basin that runs from Hebron in the West Bank down through the south of Israel (Negev) through Gaza to the Mediterranean. This activity was symbolic of engaging and making peace between the various parties.

On Wednesday morning of the same week, we traveled to the upper part of the basin to meet at a Bedouin secondary school in Um Batin, where we learned of some troubles that they had with attaining a marked bus stop and crossing sign to safely access public transportation to school, and the continued question of whether or not the local water was safe for domestic use, despite having been through two rounds of treatment so far. The murky green appearance and evident pollution, such as plastic bottles, made the reason for questioning very clear.

The visit to the Bedouin village was a milestone in the Women Wage Peace organization’s history, and it is with great hope and expectation that each party works together in the future to make everyone in the region more equal.

While the events effectively fostered dialogue between all communities, it was surprising to notice the disparity between age groups and the low turnout of youth during the peace demonstrations. The demonstration taking place on Sunday, one could argue that most of them were kept busy in school or in the army. Yet, it seems the issue of peaceful entente is losing momentum among Israeli youth. The elderly who are genuinely contributing to this endeavor will need to be relayed soon enough, displaying the necessity for the youth to get more involved in such issues.

Overall, each day was full of talks and discussion, often accompanied with song and dance, an example of peace and harmony that is hoped for between all Israelis and Palestinians, and all nations for that matter, in the future. Through dialogue, openness to other perspectives and empathy with fellow human beings, the shared goal of peace becomes more easily attainable.


Written by Samy Graia and Racquelle Ramirez, interns of EcoPeace at the Tel Aviv office

 

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