Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | February 3, 2016

February 1st, 2016 – EcoPeace Middle East Environmental Peacemaking Newsletter

Jordan River Peace Park goes 3-D:

One of EcoJR Peace ParkPeace’s greatest visions is the creation of a transbounday Peace Park on the Jordan River, to expand what is today the “Peace Island”, and to include the surrounding areas in Israel and Jordan. On the site was once a hydroelectric power plant that back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, supplied electricity to Northern Jordan and Mandate Palestine. EcoPeace has identified outstanding potential here for the development of ecotourism that would provide much-needed jobs in the area, as well as opportunitiJR Peace Park Swisses for biodiversity protection, cooperative management, joint research programs, education and collaboration on nature-based tourism.

This month, a group of Swiss professors came to the region to do hi-tech 3-D scans of the site ahead of a student Design Studio scheduled for next year. Another step forward for the proposed Peace Park!

Women of Faith visit the Lower Jordan River

This mLJR Tour photo 1onth, EcoPeace staff gave a presentation and then a tour of the Lower Jordan River for a group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian women involved in the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development Women’s Faith & Ecology program. The importance of the rehabilitation of the River Jordan was presented in a multi-faith perspective as part of EcoPeace’s efforts to advance the creation of larger stakeLJR Tour photo 2holder circles supporting the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River.

Sites visited on the tour included the Kaser el Yehud Baptism site, the Dir Hijla Monastery, and the (Northern tip) of the Dead Sea, also greatly affected by the demise of the River. Participants eagerly endorsed the Jordan River Covenant, a visionary document which both highlights the degradation of the valley and expresses our vision of a healthy, living river. Read more about our faith-based advocacy campaign here.

Kinneret Conference

EcoPeace’sKinneret Israeli Director and Jordanian Yana and Youval RabinAssistant Director presented at the 8th International Conference on Tourism organized by Kinneret Academic College. After an overall introduction with examples from around the world about tourism and peace, they discussed how the implementation of EcoPeace’s Regional NGO Master Plan will open up the region, attract tourism, bring more prosperity and abundance to the Jordan River Valley and advance peace.

World Bank Visits Jordan Valley

EcoPeace, Jordan Valley Regional Council members, and representatives of the Kinneret and Lower Jordan River Drainage Authorities gave World Bank representatives a tour of World Bank Tourthe Israeli side of the Jordan Valley on January 15th to better understand and visualize projects proposed in our Jordan Valley Regional NGO Master Plan. These types of tours help give international stakeholders a better understanding of the plight of the Jordan River but also the concrete positive change that has taken place in the past decade!

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

 

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EcoPark Updates

SHE EcoPark wetland full of water

When it rains, it pours! And our Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan benefits from the rain in a big way! The wetland at the site is now full with water, and will supply much

SHE Wetland

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needed water to the flora and fauna returning to the area!

Womens cooking workshop in Auja EcoCenter

On January 13th, a group from the Chicago Theological Seminary visited the Auja EcoCenter. A presentation was given to participants about the political and ecological situatAuja workshopion in the Jordan Valley as well as the benefits of implementing our vision of the Regional NGO Master Plan. Additionally, the group took part in a cooking workshop that taught them how to make two tasty Palestinian dishes: maqloube, and khubeza, as well as mixed grill vegetables.

 

Mud Workshop in our Ein Gedi EcoCenter!

Ein Gedi workshopThe Festival of mud took place at the beginning of January at the Ein Gedi EcoCenter and was very successful! Participants from all over the country had a fun mud ecological experience. Together adults and children built and decorated the walls with mud, prepared pizzas in a tabun (outdoor oven), visited the small zoo on the site, and enjoyed the unique aspects of the EcoCenter. We are already looking forward to the next event!

 

EcoPeace Contribution to UNECE PublicationUNECE

EcoPeace is proud to announce it was a recent contributor to the UNECE Water Convention’s Policy Guidance Note on the Benefits of Transboundary Water Cooperation: Identification, Assessment and Communication, which was recently adopted during the seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention. The document represents a unique tool for supporting transboundary water cooperation’s worldwide and includes approximately 30 case studies. It aims to support Governments and other actors in fully realizing the potential benefits of transboundary water cooperation, emphasizing opportunities and benefits of a close collaboration.

“Good Water Neighbors(GWN) Cross Border Youth Camp

A GWN cross borYouth Camp (2)der youth camp was held at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan from January 14th to 16th with 32 Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli participants. The camp began with introductory “ice breaking” games to get the youth acquainted with each other. On the second day, the group had fun hiking the hills above the Ziglab Dam and held an outdoor barbeque lunch.Youth Camp (1)

The camp was a great experience for all, demonstrating that even in these difficult times we are able to bring youth together to better understand the water reality of each side and become strong advocates for a more just and sustainable water future.

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

 

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EcoPeace “Water and Energy Nexus” (WEN) Project Featured in the Economist

EcoPeaceEconomist’s Water/Energy Nexus project (WEN) was featured in the Economist this past month, welcoming the initiative that introduces more efficient means to provide energy for desalination of water and promote cooperation in the region. The project is still in its early stages of research and development and is looking at how Israel, Jordan and Palestine can use water and energy to build a win-win relationship. We welcome this article and the gaining popularity of our study.

The Water & Energy Nexus project is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

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