Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | July 10, 2013

June Environmental Peacemaking Newsletter

 Good News for the Lower Jordan River!

It has taken a decade of very hard work at FoEME, but concrete change is finally taking place in the River Jordan. The Israeli Water Authority has agreed to a comprehensive government plan to ecologically rehabilitate the river, and has begun, for the first time in 49 years, to allow water to naturally flow from Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) into the Lower Jordan River. (The sign in the photo says “Connection from Lake Kinneret water to Lower Jordan River”June 13-1

Although the first year’s promised allocation of 9 million cubic meters (mcm) and next year’s 30 mcm are only a ‘drop in the bucket’ of the necessary 220 mcm needed from the Israeli side, according to our studies, FoEME indeed congratulates this turn of events – and will continue to work for more water flow into the River from both sides.

Read articles from the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and Green Prophet written on this historic decision in our website’s Jordan River / Press Coverage page

Today, the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Osprey Foundation, but funders over the years have included the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, USAID, SIDA, the European Union, the Global Nature Fund and the Merz Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, the Belgium, British and Finnish Embassies and other private donors.

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Good News for Battir!

We are pleased to share even more good news this month, with the Israeli High Court Decision on the issue of the Separation Barrier in Battir: the Court was finally convinced that severe damage to environmental and cultural heritage values would result if the Separation Barrier was to proceed as planned by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and reversed the onus of proof and demanded that the Israeli Military now demonstrate how any barrier it proposes preserves the valley.

June 13-2

This is a precedent-setting achievement, and we thank all of those who took part in the many events FoEME held to support these efforts – to save the livelihood of the villagers, the agricultural terraces, the cultural and historical values and the integrity of this site.

Read articles from Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post, Christian Science Monitor and Yahoo News, all written on the issue, in our website’s Good Water Neighbors / Press coverage page

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Go Geography!

June 13-3

 

On May 21st the “Good Water Neighbors” project in Israel had the honor to guide the Chief Inspector and senior Geography teachers from the Israeli Ministry of Education. The tour focused on the Upstream Hadera Water Basin, visiting the community of Baqa el Gharbiya and learning about the local water heritage, present pollution and solutions of cross border basin management.

 

We also presented the new Resource Guide for teaching “Good Water Neighbors” content. The inspector and teachers showed great interest and we look forward to continue the cooperation and to spread the regional geographical thinking about shared waters. The Resource Guide will be published in August.  Stay tuned!

The “Good Water Neighbors” project is funded by USAID’s Conflict Management and Mitigation Program, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the European Union’s Partnership for Peace Program and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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June 13-4

Auja EcoCenter news

This month, CCFD, a French development organization, brought a group of tourists to learn about the Center and to experience our activities.  The aim of the visit was to see if the Auja EcoCenter is a place that CCFD would like to promote in its own Tourism Department. Not only were they pleased with what they saw, but they also identified a water collection pool in Auja that the CCFD had donated money towards, but did not know specifically who received their funds, or even which village.  Both the recipient farmer and the CCFD donor were grateful that we were able to make this connection. And the outcome of the day?  CCFD decided to change their regular meeting place from Jeftlik to Auja!

June 13-5

On another calm night this month, and under clear skies, FoEME staff took a group of tourists visiting the Auja EcoCenter  on a night hike in the area, walking through fields and identifying interesting wildlife that appear only when the sun goes down and the moon comes up.  The group rested at a Bedouin goat and horse farm, and settled down to prepare “Zareb” (a method of cooking food under the ground), grilled corn on the cob, and enjoyed storytelling, music, and  traditional Bedouin tea.  A good time was had by all!  Sounds like something you’d like to do??  Contact us!  We’d love to take you too!

 

Auja goes solar!  We now have large solar panels on the roof of the EcoCenter that will supply the building with 5 kw/h of electricity and cover most of the Center’s electricity needs!

June 13-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Protecting Ground Water – Public Event in Safi

This month, the Protecting Ground Water (PGW) project held a public event in the Jordanian town of Ghor Safi, attended by the District Manager, Heads of District Departments, Municipality representatives, local security representative, local community representatives, women’s associations’ representatives and FoEME’s community coordinators.  Updates were given about achievements of the project to date, the role of the Municipality, progress in training courses, and the project’s databank and hazards maps.  Next steps were discussed, including preparation of the municipalities’ implementation plan of the “Hazards Reduction and Prevention Guidelines“, and the upcoming trip to the regional conference in Malaga.

June 13-7

An important comment came from the District Manager who thanked FoEME for managing this project, as well as others, citing that they bring prosperity to the communities, and directly benefit the residents.  This is precisely what our projects aim to do….!

The “Protecting Ground Water” project is supported by the European Union’s ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Program.

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