Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | October 3, 2011

FoEME October Environmental Peacemaking Newsletter

On Wednesday, September 21, FoEME’s Bethlehem office gathered with about 2,000 people in Bethlehem’s Manager Square for a rally to support the Palestinian bid for statehood.

The FoEME banner translates as follows: “Together we stand in determination for our freedom and to end the occupation. Freedom is our destiny, the country is our right. Vote for peace, vote for Palestine!”

On September 8th, FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project gathered together a group of civil engineers working for the West Bethlehem Joint Service Council (JSC) for a Study Tour. The aim of the tour was to introduce various technologies being used for sewage treatment. The group, accompanied by Israeli experts and representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Health, visited 3 different kinds of sites, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

The World Bank’s intention to sponsor a feasibility study to review and compare sewage treatment designs for the villages of Wadi Fukin, Wallajeh, Battir, Nahalin and Hussan, was the drive behind the study tour.

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Also in the context of the GWN project, teachers from the Palestinian community of Tulkarem met with teachers and municipal representatives from the partnering Israeli community of Emek Hefer for preliminary discussions on challenges they face regarding environmental education issues. They exchanged ideas on how to better impact their respective education systems on environmental awareness and involve more youth in environmental activities.

Following the presentations and discussions the group then visited select stations of the Emek Hefer Neighbors Path, as a good example of environmental learning for youth, and ended the day at the Mihmoret Beach on the Mediterranean Sea.
Visit our Good Water Neighbors press coverage page for recent articles by the Jordanian JO Magazine featuring our EcoPark in Jordan, coverage of the Sister Cities conference in Egypt (see below) and more…
The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by USAID, SIDA, the Belgium Foreign Ministry’s Peace Building Desk and the Rosenzweig Coopersmith Foundation.

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FoEME held a 2 day workshop in Beit Jala in the end of September to review the application of the FoEME proposed Israel / Palestine “Model Water Accord” that presents an alternative structure to the present management mechanism that is outdated, inadequate, unfair and failing both peoples.

Two studies commissioned by FoEME; on the hydrology of the Al Auja Spring, and on the socio economic implications of water management issues related to Al Auja Village, were presented for discussion during the workshop. Israeli and Palestinian Water experts commented on the findings and gave insights that could help further refine the Model Water Accord. Participants included Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli community members from the “Transboundary Advocacy for Parliamentarians” project.
This project is supported by the by the European Union’s Partnerships for Peace program, the Representative Office of the Czech Republic, and the Centre de Recherche Fancais a Jerusalem.

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The first Jordanian meeting for the Jordan River Council took place in Amman on the 18th of September. A variety of participants including business, faith-based, environmental, social stakeholders with a common interest in a rehabilitated Jordan River attended the meeting. The Jordan River rehabilitation project was presented and discussions took place to gain participants’ support to join the council and support the rehabilitation of the Jordan River.
The next meeting will focus on presenting an outline of the Economic benefits study of a rehabilitated Jordan River.

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FoEME’s Jordan River Exhibition continues to make its way around Europe! This month the exhibition is being hosted by the historic St. Michael’s Church in Cologne, Germany. The exhibition was opened with a unique mass dedicated to the Jordan River. The exhibition, organized in partnership with German NGO Global Nature Fund and photographer Eddie Gerald, features stark images of the Jordan Valley, highlighting its beauty, its heritage and its role in today’s conflict, contrasting the River’s current deteriorating situation with the magnificence of the landscape. Make sure to visit the exhibition page frequently to see when the exhibition will be visiting a city near you!
The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Global Nature Fund / Ursula Merz Foundation and the Osprey Foundation.

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FoEME was invited to participate in a forum on sub-national dialogue and city-to-city partnerships, hosted by Sister Cities International in Cairo, Egypt. One of the goals of the summit was to discuss the current and future role of sub-national dialogues in building sustainable nations and highlighting successful city-to-city models across the world.
FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors project was presented as a model for cooperation. Though our cities are not twinned in the sister cities sense, due to the conflict, the cooperation on concrete issues we created was seen as one of the most powerful examples of city partnerships and people to people diplomacy.

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On September 5-7, FoEME was invited to the final GLOWA conference held in Cyprus where our staff presented the draft Water Balance for the Lower Jordan River, using the innovative WEAP model to plan water re-introduction to the River. Importantly, the GLOWA Jordan River project dealt with sustainable development under the growing climate uncertainties and the human pressures on nature in our region.

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Our Washington D.C. based readers are invited to a public event on Monday, October 3rd at the World Affairs Council in Washington D.C., a leading forum for Global Education and International Affairs. Together with the Institute for International Economic Policy of the George Washington University, they will host FoEME’s Israeli Director, Gidon Bromberg in a presentation “Share the Water – Build the Peace” followed by a panel discussion.

To register, visit www.worldaffairs.org or call (202) 293-1051

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If you haven’t yet noticed, FoEME’s website has been upgraded. Please visit us at www.foeme.organd see our new Homepage with changing photos, a new “FoEME in the News” bar, FoEME’s Google Earth layer, and more. Also, our projects and publications menus now have introductory pages with a short explanation of each project and publication category.

Comments? Write to us! info@foeme.org
FoEME staff and interns have been blogging this month about the promise of water return to the Jordan River, the Jordan River photo exhibit in Germany, greywater in Palestine, FoEME’s publication on Green Jobs, and more…. Click here for all September postings!
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