Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | September 25, 2013

International Gathering on Saving Drying Lakes

Burdur, Turkey

16-19 0f September

800px-Lake_Burdur_NASAThe increasing number of drying lakes world wide raises many concerns and calls for immediate action to end this alarming phenomenon. This phenomenon is exacerbated by human activities that pose a possible irreversible threat to the environment in general and the flora and fauna of the region in particular.

For the purpose of finding solutions to this problem, an international gathering was held in Turkey , Burdur, titled “International Gathering on Saving Drying Lakes”  on the 17th and 18th of September, 2013, to discuss the case of the Burdur Lake as it is drying due to damming of main rivers flowing to the lake and excessive agricultural irrigation. Similar situation is present in countries like Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, France, Israel, and Armainia.

Representatives from each of the aforementioned countries discussed the particulars of the problem in their intended regions, exchanged experiences, and advocated their cases, in addition to engaging in prolonged discussion to produce a common position to save these lakes.

The conference consisted of two phases; a field trip to the lake to view its conditions and a second phase of meetings and workshops. Mr., Adnan Budeire, FoEME’s Jordanian Manager for (SWIM) Lower Joran River NGO Masterplan project presented the case of damming and canalization of the Jordan and the Yarmuk Rivers and its negative effects on the Dead Sea causing its diminish. He also explained Foeme’s perspective and vision with regards to saving the Dead Sea through an integrated master plan for the Jordan, the Yarmuk river and the Jordan Valley.foto 1

Mr., Budeire elaborated on the Red Dead Canal and  its anticipated negative impact on the ecology of three ecosystems; the Dead Sea System, the Wadi Aravah System, and the Red Sea.  His comments on transboundary issues proved valuable as in the case of Ahwaz marsh lands in Iraq and Iran in the Aral Sea in Central Asian Countries.

The participants reached to a realization that there are common causes for the destruction of the lakes, seas and wetlands in their particular regions and the Rift Valley. Therefore, there is a need for a collaborative and joint effort to advocate nationally, regionally, and globally for  better water policies and management in these regions. The mechanism for this collaboration will be through the creation of a network of countries wherein the participants exchange data, skills, and technologies. This network will act as a watchdog in the Rift Valley for any negative action towards water sources especially big waste bodies such as lakes, wetlands, and seas.  A future meeting will be organized in Doga to follow up on the issue  of creating a network in the coming months.

This post is contributed by FoEME’s Media Officer & Project Coordinator Samar M. Salma in Collaboration with Mr., Adnan Budieri, FoEME’s Jordanian Manager for the SWIM project.

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