Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | November 2, 2011

FoEME November Environmental Peacemaking Newsletter

Only 11 days left to vote for the Dead Sea to become one of the world’s New 7 Wonders!! Please take a moment to visit http://www.new7wonders.com and vote for the Dead Sea! 

In the past month FoEME has supported efforts to get out the vote by sending thousands of text messages to people across the West Bank and through the media efforts while at the same time reminding Israeli and Jordanian governments to prevent the further demise of the Dead Sea.

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The 2011 school started this month in Jordan, Israel and Palestine with new groups of FoEME’s Youth Water Trustees off and running. The students, aged 13-16, will be learning about their cross border water challenges, practicing eco-building, locating and mapping environmental hazards and meeting students from across the border to learn together, break down stereotypes and have fun! To learn more about the important work our Youth Water Trustees are doing view our unique film.

Also this month, volunteers from FoEME‘s Good Water Neighbors Israeli community of Gilboa completed the development work on the Mazar Lookout station on its Neighbor’s Path. The work included the rehabilitation of an ancient winepress, natural landscaping and the installation of a shaded area with seating and views towards the neighboring Palestinian community of Jenin. FoEME‘s Neighbors Paths offer visitors, to all of our 29 Good Water Neighbors communities, opportunities to learn about the region’s shared natural and cultural history. Visit our website to learn more and to tour our Neighbors Paths or click on the Google Earth icon on our home page to tour the paths virtually.

Visit our Good Water Neighbors press coverage page for recent articles.

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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At the beginning of the month, the construction of a new playground at the Auja Environmental Center (AEC) was completed and not more than 5 minutes later a mass of local children set off to give it a rigorous testing! Since its construction the AEC has welcomed countless happy and joyful children everyday after school and until dark! Read more about our new playground on FoEME‘s blog.

Also this month FoEME initiated a process to construct staff housing at the Auja Environmental Center (AEC) out of adobe bricks and plaster. AEC is located 20 minutes north of Jericho where one of the oldest mud structures to date has been excavated. Reintroducing adobe construction will be an exciting journey and we are well on our way, FoEME staff conducted a crucial “mud building test” to determine which mixture of sand, clay, and straw will make the most appropriate mixture for our future constructions.

The Auja Environment Education Center is supported by the Drosos Foundation.

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In association with this year’s World Economic Forum’s Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World held at on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, FoEME hosted a visiting delegation of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders at our Sharhabil bin Hassaneh EcoPark. The delegation aimed to explore the regional environmental peacebuilding efforts led by FoEME with specific interest in our EcoParks and the Jordan River Peace Park initiative. To learn more about this unique event please visit FoEME’s blog.

FoEME has partnered with two companies in an effort to develop renewable energy and water treatment solutions to make our Sharhabil bin Hassneh Eco Park (SHE) even greener! The Azure Space Company will provide SHE with a solar tracker that will produce 28 kilowatts of green renewable energy. The energy produced will supply SHE with 30% of its daily energy needs and power a new water treatment system provided by the Kinetics company. The new treatment system will treat surface dam water and grey water to drinking water quality. The water produced will be sufficient enough to meet SHE’s needs as well as providing water to the park’s Bedouin neighbors. SHE aims to reach its goal of being 100% sustainable in the near future by generating all its energy needs from renewable sources, meeting its water needs through sustainable sources and treating all of its wastes.

These actions to support our Sharhabil bin Hassneh Eco Park are supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

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FoEME‘s Bethlehem office held meetings of two key stakeholder bodies to advance the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project this month. FoEME’s Palestinian Jordan River Council brought together representatives from tourist agencies, local municipal representatives and human rights workers. The enthusiastic discussion focused on advancing the study of the economics benefits of a rehabilitated Jordan River that FoEME is gearing up to launch shortly. The project’s Palestinian Jordan River Advisory Committee also met this month bringing together the largest group yet of academics and government representatives, including representatives from the Palestinian Water Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government Affairs and land Use Authority.

On November 16, 2011 FoEME‘s Tel Aviv office, in partnership with Kinneret Academic College, will host a high-level conference at the Kinneret Academic College campus to discuss revitalizing the Jordan River. The results of a FoEME-commissioned study which modeled potential opportunities for rehabilitating the river will be presented to the public at the conference. A special round-table discussion entitled “Redistributing water between Agriculture and Nature: The Lower Jordan River Basin case study” will take place in the afternoon. For more information and to register to join us, please visit our website.

Visit our Jordan River press coverage page for recent articles.

The Transboundary Advocacy of Parliamentarians (TAP) Project is supported by the European Union. FoEME‘s work to advance dialogue surrounding best practices in agricultural water management is supported by the Green Environment Fund. 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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This month the documentary film “Last Call at the Oasis” – which features FoEME‘s work on the region’s shared water resources – had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. You can now view the film’s amazing trailer and share it with your friends!

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This month FoEME received the Swiss Mount Zion Award for our efforts to promote peace and intercultural dialogue in Palestine, Jordan and Israel through our unique environmental peacemaking programs. The award was presented at a special ceremony at the Benedict Abbey in Jerusalem. To learn more about this special event, please read the article on FoEME’s blog.

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Think you know the Middle East?!

Test your knowledge by identifying sites of shared natural and cultural heritage in our weekly Mystery Photo Competition on our Facebook site! From next Sunday (06/11/2011) on, FoEME will be posting on Facebook one picture each week from our enormous archives – we challenge you to identify the picture with the most detail as possible!! 

Pictures go up on Sundays with the answer revealed each week on Thursday.  Happy guessing!

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