Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | July 14, 2013

July Environmental Peacemaking Newsletter

Protecting Ground Water (PGW) – Training Course completed

ImageOn Wednesday, June 19th, in the context of the “Protecting Ground Water” project, FoEME Amman concluded the last training course on “Safe Use of Reclaimed Water for Agriculture”. The course was held in FoEME’s Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark and was conducted by Green Sahara Co. Participants included farmers, officials working in the farming sector, and municipal staff and project community coordinators.

The training sessions were of great interest to the farmers who attended from the seven participating communities. It was agreed that to implement the knowledge which the participants received in the course and to explore farming practices in partnering countries, a field tour to Palestine and Israel will soon be arranged.


PGW – Wastewater Reuse Study Tour in Israel

ImageWastewater reuse for agriculture has become a very important issue in our region which suffers from severe water scarcity. Moreover, the welcomed building of more and more wastewater treatment plants in Palestine requires more know-how regarding the safe reuse of these effluents for agriculture. This issue presents a very good platform for cross border cooperation since, in Israel, wastewater reuse is an established practice. Sharing this knowledge – saving water and preventing pollution – is everyone’s objective.

On June 20th, FoEME organized a unique Study Tour in Israel for a group of Palestinian farmers and municipality officials, led by Dr. Joon Zilberman from SHAHAM, the professional Guiding Service of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, in which such cooperation with Israeli officials began.  As mentioned above, a similar Study Tour will be organized for Jordanian farmers and municipal officials.


PGW – Municipal Events in Jordan

The Protecting Ground Water Project held several Public Events in Jordan with participating municipalities of the project.  Heads of the different Departments as well as representatives of the local community and government, gathered to hear about the objectives and goals of the project, and received updates of the most important achievements.

ImageAchievements include the holding of training courses to prevent and reduce the risk of contamination of groundwater, given to Engineers from the Departments of Health and Environment within the municipalities. Other courses included “Wastewater Treatment” and “Safe Uses of Treated Water in Agriculture” (as described above).  Also discussed were the next steps and the role of municipalities, an essential component for the sustainability of the project.

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


Good Water Neighbors – Sur Baher / Abu Dis youth meeting

ImageOn Thursday, June 27th, a group of youth “Water Trustees” from the Palestinian community of Abu Dis visited “Water Trustees” from Sur Baher in East Jerusalem. Their first stop was the ecogarden built in the SurBaher Girl’s School, where the group received a full explanation of the building and planting process of the garden, the water recycling system used for irrigating the garden, and how herbs are used from the garden to make natural products such soaps and shampoos in the school’s laboratory.

The girls also explained to the visiting group how they separate solid waste in the school, taking pride in helping to raise awareness of the importance of recycling in their community.  Following the tour in the school, they together went on a site-tour to the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem, learning about the shared catchment area of the Kidron Basin.

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)


Auja EcoCenter news

ImageWith the beginning of the hot summer season in the Jordan Valley, hundreds of people visit the Auja Spring to enjoy the fresh cool water coming from the nearby canyon.  Sadly, the beauty of the area is greatly compromised by the amount of garage and litter left near the stream; this due to the lack of environmental education and overall care for local nature.

The Auja Environmental Education Center felt a great responsibility in this respect and organized 8 cleaning campaigns this month, recruiting more than 250 people of all ages and from different communities in the area. The goal, of course, was to teach the public the importance of responsible environmental behavior, specifically, the need to clean up after you leave a site, so that everyone can fully enjoy the beauty of nature.


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


FoEME Talk at Bradford Lions Event, UK

ImageOn Saturday evening, June 1st, the double-act of FoEME International Advisory Committee members Shahab Hussein, Secretary-General of the Wembley Central Masjid, and Frank Dabba Smith, Rabbi of Harrow and Wembley Progressive Synagogue, made its first appearance in the ethnically diverse northern England city of Bradford.  The occasion was the annual black tie dinner held by the Yorkshire regional members of the Lions Club International.

Shahab and Frank were invited by prominent Lions Club member Amin Dada to speak to those assembled about the efforts of Friends of the Earth Middle East to restore the Jordan River and the Dead Sea and, in doing so, bringing together Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis to cooperate out of shared interest at a grass-roots level.  The presentation was well received and many were moved by this example of a partnership that benefits community cohesion.  The Bradford Central Lions Club, whose members are very concerned about water scarcity as well as supporting peacemaking,  will be discussing in the next few months how to best contribute to FoEME, and Frank and Shahab will return to meet with them in early September.


Twenty Years of Oslo Accords

ImageThe FoEME Israeli Director was invited to speak at a conference entitled “20 Years since the Oslo Accords – Success and/or Failure” held at Tel Aviv University.  Speaking on the panel “The Impact of the Oslo Accords on Israeli and Palestinian Societies”, Bromberg highlighted that the interim arrangements made on water under the Oslo Accords are failing the interests of both peoples. Palestinians are denied sufficient access to basic water needs and both Israelis and Palestinian suffer from pollution of scarce water resources. FoEME is leading an effort to launch Israeli – Palestinian negotiations based on solving now the water issues.

FoEME’s Water Can Not Wait Campaign is supported by the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund and The Rockefeller Brothers Fund.


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