Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | July 4, 2017

July 1st 2017 – EcoPeace Middle East Environmental Peacebuilding Newsletter

Dear Friends,

This summer newsletter is released with the water and sanitation crises in Gaza at the forefront of our concerns. Please do follow our efforts to avert a disaster from taking place by sharing our alerts through social media.

EcoPeace Middle East

 

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IDC event with EcoPeaceIDC_roundtable

On June 20, EcoPeace Middle East, INSS and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung held a roundtable event on “Water Security – Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation in the Middle East” as part of the prestigious Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya Conference. The event welcomed a great number of distinguished experts, academia, representatives of the international community and government officials, to discuss challenges and opportunities regarding water security in the region. Our presentations and much of the discussions focused on the need to promote a broader water security understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, and the need to develop a water security dialogue between Israel, her neighbors, and the international community.

 

This event was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Israel

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Following up on Israeli Comptroller’s Report

Gidon_Comptrollers_review_mtngFurther to the item in our last newsletter regarding the Israeli Comptroller’s Report, that revealed the dire reality of present cross-border Israeli  Palestinian water issues, Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace Israeli Director spoke at two events this month that reviewed the recommendations of the report.  At a session during the annual Environment Day in the Israeli Knesset, as well as in the Rivers’ Workshop – that this month was dedicated specifically to reviewing the Comptrollers report – Mr. Bromberg reiterated its findings as regards to cross border water management: the need for orderly clear government policy that assigns responsibility, leadership and coordination to one government body.  He presented the urgency of the situation in Gaza as an example of the failure of past policies.

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Madrid Conference Madrid_Conf

EcoPeace Middle East was invited by the Spanish NGO “Fundacion Promocion Social de la Cultura” to hold a round table discussion titled “From Crisis to Opportunity – Water and Sustainable Development in the Middle East” on June 13th in Madrid, hosted by the Casa Arabe and with the support of the Spanish Cooperation. Gidon Bromberg, Nada Majdalani and Giulia Giordano spoke on regional water security issues, including the case of the Jordan River and the water crisis in Gaza. The roundtable saw the very positive participation of high level speakers, including H.E. Mazen Ghuneim, Palestinian Minister of Water.

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EcoPeace staff participates in a Water Workshop in MIT

Giulia_MIT_water_workshopEcoPeace staff Giulia Giordano was selected to participate in the ‘Water Diplomacy Workshop’, which was held at M.I.T., in Boston Massachusetts in June 2017. The Water Diplomacy Workshop is a joint-learning experience, combining the science of water with the negotiation instruction methodologies developed by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard’s Law School. Interactive lectures, problem-solving method instruction, and role-play simulations helped participants learn the techniques and strategies presented in the Water Diplomacy Framework.

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“WEN” Roundtable – Israel

Further to the previous two roundtables that took place in Amman and Ramallah last month (reported in our previous newsletter), WEN_Isr_roundtablean Israeli roundtable was held in Jerusalem in the end of June. Initial data from the pre-feasibility study of our Water and Energy Nexus project was presented by researcher Dr. David Katz, to a wide group of stakeholders; including representatives from government ministries (Energy & Water, Environment, Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation), as well as the private sector and academia. It was encouraging to hear that all attendees expressed their initial support for the project, followed with thoughtful, important feedback that the next stage of research will seek to incorporate.

The Water & Energy Nexus project is supported by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Ramallah 

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Jordan River tour to UK Interfaith Delegation

UK_Interfaith_group_JRThis month, EcoPeace staff from Jordan, Israel and Palestine, took turns hosting an Interfaith Delegation from the UK led by Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith.  The group started their study tour in Jordan by visiting our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark and learning about the environmental challenges facing the region in general, and the Jordan River in specific. They then spent several days in Israel and Palestine, visiting sites on the Jordan River where possible, at Naharayim and at the Kaser el Yehud baptism site, and learned about our faith based program that calls on religious leaders to contribute their voices to the need for the rehabilitation of the River.

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

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Presentation to Israel Geography Teachers

EcoPeace Middle East Israeli Hydrologist, Nadav Tal, was honored to be the opening Nadav_Isr_Geog_Teachersspeaker at the Annual Israeli Geography Teachers Conference.  Nadav’s one hour lecture on “Water in the Middle East – Geopolitical issues in light of climate change and developing needs”, presented to the teachers current water issues such as the decrease in rainfall in the north of Israel in the last few years, the state of the Sea of Galilee, changes in the water sector following desalination and water reuse and opportunities for regional cooperation. He also presented innovative ideas for the future such as the Water-Energy Nexus and the results of a new study on Food Security.  Certainly a lot of water for thought!

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Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Stockholm Junior Water PrizeTwo “Water Trustees” from the ‘Ort Mekif Aravi’ Ramle School, from the Good Water Neighbors project’s Yarkon Basin, Ranadi Abu Rizak and Shirin Abu Riash, won the Stockholm Water Prize for small research projects. They were presented with the Certificate by the Biology Officer of the Ministry of Education. The two students used the hydroponic system that was built as part of the Good Water Neighbors project (featured in the last 2 newsletters) to research hydroponic lettuce growth.  Needless to say, EcoPeace applauds their efforts for this innovative research on water conservation and are very proud of their achievement.

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Tours and Lectures to U.S. students

Last week, EcoPeace’s Community Coordinator from Emek Hefer, Israel, took a group of Nadav_US_group_tourstudents from the Sabra Institute from New York City to see the water reality in the Alexander Watershed. The students were exposed for the first time to cross border pollution issues and began to understand the complex reality and the need for cooperation with the other side.  We are pleased at what Mr. Irving Safdieh, the President of the Institute said following the tour: “the experience really opened the eyes of our students to a side of multi ethnic cooperation they did not know before”.  EcoPeace looks forward to leading additional groups such as this one – to be able to open more eyes that can understand the complex reality in the region, and the need for environmental peace.

Rotem_Malek_Tulane_UnivOn June 20th, Palestinian and Israeli Good Water Neighbors staff, Malek Abualfailat and Rotem Weizman, gave a joint lecture to students from the Tulane University at Hebrew University’s Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace about the Good Water Neighbors Project. They discussed the achievements as well as the struggles of working on community initiatives under conflict, stressing the importance of environmental peacebuilding and the opportunities it can bring to the region.

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Emek Hefer / Baka Gharbia Youth day

As a special final event in the Good Water Neighbor’s program this school year, EcoPeace EH_Baka_youth_daystaff took youth Water Trustees from the ‘Ramot Yam’ School in Emek Hefer, to meet the youth Water Trustees from the neighboring community of Baka el Gharbia. For some of the Jewish students, it was the first time they met Arab youth, learning about the month of Ramadan, as well as the difficult environmental problems facing Baka el Gharbia, their neighbor.

 

EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and USAID West Bank/Gaza CMM.

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