Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | December 7, 2014

December 1st, 2014 – EcoPeace Middle East Environmental Peacemaking Newsletter

The Skoll Entrepreneurs Challenge for our Water Cannot Wait Campaign ends this Friday, December 5th, at 14:00 EST. It’s de1your last chance to donate to our cause.

The best part…Skoll is matching funds dollar for dollar up to $3,000 this week! Plus, each day we raise $100, we are entered to win an additional $1000. Help us by DONATING TODAY!


We are delighted to share with our readers the front cover item in this past weekend’s Ha’aretz newspaper magazine dec2section that describes how WATER can be a catalyst for peace.  Our efforts have created clear political will; our message is being adopted by ministers, government officials, think tanks and academia. Unfortunately for our English language readers, the Ha’aretz English version of the article is only a summary of the full Hebrew language report. See “The half-full glass: Could ‘water diplomacy’ bring peace to the Mideast?”  (Click here for the on-line Hebrew version, or here for the print version of the Hebrew magazine).

EcoPeace’s Water Cannot Wait Campaign is supported by the Skoll Global Threats Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.


Jordan River Regional Conferencedec3

The SIWI / EcoPeace / GNF November 10-12, 2014 “International Conference on Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley” brought together over one hundred government officials from Jordan, Palestine and Israel, international diplomatic representatives, international development agency representatives, and basin experts.

Click on our website events page that includes links to the agenda, speeches made by prominent political figures, presentations given, and a photo album of pictures from the conference.

dec4This regional conference was convened in the weeks surrounding the 20th anniversary of the Israeli-Jordan Peace Treaty. While other 20th anniversary events in the region were cancelled due to major political and social rifts between Israel, Palestine and Jordan, the fact that we were able to convene a major regional conference including senior officials from the three parties, including the attendance of two Ministers from Israel, demonstrates a marked success in itself and wide commitment to the regional effort to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River.

H.E. Saed Abu Hammour, Secretary-General of the Jordan Valley Authority (JVA), initiated a well-received call for action during the conference when, on behalf of Jordan, he invited the Israeli and Palestinian governments to convene a meeting in Jordan to discuss river rehabilitation efforts and a suggested signing of a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding between the parties.

The NGO Regional Master Planning draft materials presented an advanced planning vision for the Lower Jordan River.  This vision is rooted in the use of the Lower Jordan River as a multi-functional water conveyor and requires a major shift from conventional thinking. The plan aims to utilize and reuse river water multiple times at various stages of its flow.  Moreover, the vision is based on shared benefits, sustainable development, and fair rights and access to the shared waters of the transboundary Lower Jordan River for all riparians. Read more in this blog.


Living Lakes Network – NGO Declaration

During the 14th International Living Lakes conference entitled “Lakes in densely populated regions – balance between dec5people and nature“, EcoPeace Middle East received a “Declaration of Non-Governmental Organizations Supporting the Rehabilitation and the Sustainable Development of the Jordan River“.  The event was organized by Global Nature Fund, and attended by 350 delegates from 33 countries around the world.

EcoPeace staff presented the challenges facing the Dead Sea and the factors leading to its continuous shrinkage that are directly linked to the deterioration of the Lower Jordan River; the main water source for the Dead Sea, and emphasized the need to support the implementation of the action plans developed in the NGO Trans-boundary Master Plan for the Rehabilitation of the Jordan River.  Read more in this blog.

EcoPeace’s Regional NGO Master Plan (SWIM-JR) Project is supported by the European Union’s Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM) Programme.


Jordan River Faith Based Campaign Activities

This month EcoPeace Middle East continued to build partnerships and alliances with faith based communities and networks dec6throughout the region and around the world.  At the 12th Annual Assembly of the United Religions Initiative’s Middle East & North Africa Region event, EcoPeace encouraged individuals concerned about the status of the Jordan River to launch their own campaigns using the toolkits created by EcoPeace for Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities and demonstrating support by signing the Jordan River Covenant.   Read more in this blog. Our efforts to build partnerships with faith based communities were also highlighted by the Green Pilgrimage Network’s guidelines for faith leaders, cities, towns and pilgrims which cited EcoPeace’s approach as examples for other communities.

EcoPeace also continues to build local awareness and support through conducting study tours with faith based communities.  This month EcoPeace gave representatives of the Hebrew Union College administration and 50 rabbinical students a full day tour of the Jordan Valley, describing the hydro-politics of the region and how faith based communities can contribute to the transboundary River’s rehabilitation.

EcoPeace’s Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, including the faith-based activities, are supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Osprey Foundation.


Protecting Ground Water (PGW) – Implementation Plans

The “Protecting Ground Water” project is pleased to present the Implementation plans from each municipality that participated in the project. Together with the project environmental consultants, they prepared Implementation Plans for Hazards Reduction and Prevention. The objective of these plans is to enhance the capacities of the municipal staff to prevent groundwater pollution. It is based on previous project stages, including: the HRP guidelines and the audit reports of the current state of environmental hazards to groundwater.


EcoPeace Middle East would like to thank all officials, consultants and trainers, who contributed from their knowledge and experience to the project; especially those who have proved great professionalism and tolerance to the complex and intense political environment that we have all experienced. We also want to thank all the Mayors and the Municipalities’ staff who took an active participatory role in PGW. Your cooperation along the way in the tense and complex political atmosphere we live in is indeed remarkable and appreciated. The “ball is now in your court” – to implement and strengthen the capabilities, the knowledge and the connections you have gained.

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


EcoPark news:

EcoPeace is pleased to announce that the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark recently installed a 5KW solar PV system – an dec8on-grid system – and is now operational. The electrical company installed a dual meter that allows the park to sell electricity to the national network when there is a surplus, often at night and during higher demand periods.  The system will help reduce the electrical bill of the park and increase sustainability. We would like to expand the present day 5KW to 60KW so that we can cover the entire park’s electrical demand.

dec9EcoPeace is moving forward with solar power also in our Auja EcoCenter.  Check out our new solar cooker!  It was exhibited in Nablus last week and we are now working on cooking lunch for you!


“Good Water Neighbors”

On November 15th, a training for the Good Water Neighbors’ staff and school teachers was held at the Sharhabil Bin dec10Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan under the title: “Technologies for Sustainability”. The workshop began with the installation of the EcoPark’s solar cooker, after which a cake batter was prepared – to be baked using only solar energy!  The group also received a presentation about technologies for sustainability, starting with our water and environmental reality, and giving suggestions for sustaining ourselves and saving our water and environment. Discussions encouraged innovative thinking and creative ideas for sustainability such as grey water wetlands, domestic water saving ideas, solar desalination, non-electrical refrigeration, water filters, bottle farms, clay pots irrigation, using chemical-free ingredients for domestic hygiene, re-use of cooking oil, and more.

dec12In another event, students from Seeds of Peace joined our Good Water Neighbors Youth Water Trustees in a workshop at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark. The workshop aimed at introducing the concept of Environmental Peacemaking and included an awareness session about the current deterioration of the Jordan River.  The youth learned to design a campaign to ‘Save the Jordan River’ by setting up ‘SMARTER’ goals; “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely/Tangible, Extended, Rewarding” for their campaigns to achieve maximum outcomes and outreach. Read more in this blog, and click here for a set of photos in our Facebook album.

The “Good Water Neighbors” project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


“Green Economy Initiatives” Staff Trainingsdec13

This month, the Green Economy Initiatives project offered trainings for our 3 EcoParks’ staff, including site tours and training sessions on educational activities and management issues.  On November 19th, staff from the Ein Gedi and Auja EcoCenters visited Hava & Adam, a well-based Eco-Farm outside of Jerusalem, to learn about the educational activities offered there. Staff members were especially enthusiastic to learn about their methods of clay oven cooking, mud building, permaculture systems, solid waste recycling, grey water recycling, and more.

dec14In another visit to the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, the group was exposed to management and networking practices directed at international travelers and visitors. This included accommodation, maintenance standards and practices, reservations, reviewing web engines, providing activities and a unique atmosphere (‘hub’), involvement in the communities, and cooperating on a regional level.

Also on November 19th, the staff of the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan learned how to design and implement a dec15full-day environmental program for youth, including activities relating to the area’s flora and fauna, composting, solid waste, solar power, grey water, herb spirals, geodesic dome building and mud building.


FoEME’s “Green Economy Initiatives” project is supported by USAID’s Conflict Management & Mitigation Program

On November 5th, EcoPeace’s Directors participated in a conference organized by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Brussels office. The conference, entitled “Securing Energy Supplies in the Middle East“, brought together Israeli, Palestinians, and International energy experts, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the region’s energy sectors.dec17

The directors presented EcoPeace Middle East’s Water/Energy Nexus vision for the region. The vision seeks to create healthy interdependencies between Israel, Palestine and Jordan on renewable energy and water production.



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