Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | October 3, 2017

EcoPeace Middle East – Environmental Peacebuilding Newsletter – October 1st, 2017

5th Regional Teachers SeminarDSCN4555

For the 5th consecutive year, EcoPeace held a Regional Teacher’s Conference, gathering together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli educators, teachers and environmental activists to create a platform for teachers to connect across borders, to celebrate the work they are doing, and to learn best practices for incorporating environmental education into the curriculum. By bringing together education professionals interested in learning more from their peers and colleagues, the conference supports leaders for the next generation. The seminars throughout the weekend, held at our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan, helped construct a framework for regional water education and classroom strategies for approaching the topic of food and water security. Underlying all of the seminars was the assertion that there is a need for more water diplomacy.  Read more in our blog post.


Jenin Waste Water Treatment Plant updates

Jenin visitNada Majdalani, the new Palestinian Director of EcoPeace, together with Palestinian staff from the “Good Water Neighbors” project visited the Jenin area this month. They toured the Jenin Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and learned about the status of the facility at a meeting with representatives from the municipality of Jenin. They discussed possible future cooperation, especially on fundraising opportunities that could design, build, and operate solar fields to provide the Jenin WWTP with electricity.  See an article in Maan news about this visit with the Mayor of Jenin.


Tel Aviv Cities Summit; Baka Gharbiya in the spotlightTel Aviv

On September 5th, EcoPeace’s Israeli Director, Gidon Bromberg, presented the organization’s work in the 8th Tel Aviv City Summit. The summit brought together speakers from around the world to address questions such as ‘How can cities become beacons of democracy?’; ‘How can we create the cities of tomorrow?’; ‘What role does innovation play in helping cities plan their future?’.

Gidon gave an example from our “Good Water Neighbors” project whereby the project brought together Israeli residents of Baqa Al-Gharbiya and Palestinian residents of Baqa Al-Sharkiya to advocate for the rehabilitation of Wadi Abu Nar, a stream that flows through both communities, and is highly polluted.  Subsequently, the Mayors of both communities identified the opportunity to remove the stream’s pollutants: Baka Al Sharkiya’s sewage could be sent and treated in the newly built Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Baka Al Gharbiya, and signed on a Memorandum of Understanding stating their cooperation to promote this idea.  Importantly, EcoPeace continued to help with getting the necessary approval by the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Water Committee (JWC) and in securing the financial support to build a sewage collection system for Baka Al Sharkiya and the neighboring communities.


New Hydroponics system in Youth Villagehyudroponics

For the new upcoming school year, EcoPeace’s Community Coordinator in the Emek Hefer area, Nadav Tal, together with 9th graders from the Hadassah Ne’urim Youth Village School built a hydroponic system.  As a ‘deep water culture’ facility this hydroponic system is different from previously build hydroponic systems.

The students took part in a study program where they learned how to monitor the concentration of the hydroponic fertilizer in the storage tank while measuring the growth of the plants. This teaches the students how to reduce resources and maintain water-efficient agriculture that can be maintained on the walls and roofs of buildings. They will continue to monitor results throughout the year, and share their findings with their peers.

The Good Water Neighbors project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and USAID CMM West Bank / Gaza.


Hebron – Gaza watershed activities

In partnership with several organizations and activists, EcoPeace helped organize a Sderot_meetingHope instead of War” event in the southern Israeli city of Sderot.  This ‘Town Hall’ style event brought together Israelis from the Regional Councils around the Gaza strip, who called on the Israeli government to take immediate action regarding the situation in Gaza – for the benefit of the entire region.

Among the speakers were MK Amir Peretz, Sigal Moran, Head of the B’nei Shimon Regional Council and Ahmad, a resident of Gaza who, via phone, explained to the group the dire situation in Gaza.  MK Peretz’s closing words were clear: “Those who claim that this is their problem, and not ours, are wrong. We cannot ignore the situation“. We couldn’t agree more.

 This project is supported by the Government of Canada.


EcoPeace Director gives a TedX talk during WATEC exhibition

TedX

On September 13th, Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg participated in the first ever TedX Tel Aviv Salon talk on WATER, which was organized within the framework of the WATEC Exhibition and Conference. Mr. Bromberg, together with other prominent water experts, was asked to share his thoughts on the role people can play in preserving the most valuable resource for humanity.

Building on his 23 year experience as co-founder and co-director of EcoPeace Middle East, Mr. Bromberg addressed issues of water security in the region, highlighting how water diplomacy is fundamental in ensuring equitable access and sustainable use of water resources. The video of the talk will be available next month – stay tuned!


EcoPeace staff at the Euro-Israel Forum for Strategic Dialogue – and at Yale University

FSD_logo

On September 25th, the Euro-Israel Forum for Strategic Dialogue, the European Leadership Network, (ELNET), and the European Policy Center (EPC) held a conference in Brussels that focused on regional cooperation and stabilization, and Israel – EU relations.  EcoPeace’s Government Relations Officer, Uri Ginott, moderated a panel named “Tackling Water Diplomacy and Security in the Middle East” that included high level panelists from both the EU and Israel.

Mr. Ginott then continued on to the U.S., to present our work at the Macmillan Center for International Studies at Yale University, and to participate in workshops aiming to develop ideas on how to create regional academic hubs in the Middle East.


EcoPeace at the ‘AWRA’ conference

AWRAThe American Water Resources Association (AWRA), together with the Water Research Center of the Tel Aviv University, held a conference on September 10th-11th called Cutting Edge Solutions to Wicked Water Problems at the Porter School of Environmental Studies.  A wide range of presentations were given tackling the issue of water problems around the world (full program here), including 2 from EcoPeace:


EcoPeace at the Climate Chance Summit, Morocco

EcoPeace Palestinian staff member, Malek Abualfailat attended the Climate Chance Malek in MoroccoSummit in Agadir, Morocco which took place from the 11th-13th of September.  Mr. Abualfailat participated in the panel “Addressing the Role of Youth in Climate Change Policies” through the Mediterranean Youth Climate Network, of which EcoPeace Middle East is a founding organization. The session was funded by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Morocco, and the Union for the Mediterranean.


EcoPeace joins Women Wage Peace’s “Journey to Peace”

This year, Women Wage Peace – a grassroots organization of (not only) women, who WWP“will not stop until a viable peace agreement is reached” – is conducting a 2-week long “Journey to Peace”.  The kick-off day, October 24th, was held in the Western Negev in Israel, with EcoPeace staff and interns joining in the march, participating in the learning circles, and listening to many speeches and presentations throughout the day.  Additional staff participated in the following days, in Dimona and Um Batin, and taking to the microphones to explain the cross border work being carried out by EcoPeace in the water sector.


Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark wins ‘Top 100 Green Destinations in 2017’ – again!

EcoPeace is proud to announce that for the 2nd year in a row; our Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan was named as one of the Top 100 Green Sustainable Destinations for 2017.  We’re on the map!  TOP 100 WIDE

The award celebrates the efforts of tourism destinations that maintain responsible and sustainable tourism initiatives and is a follow-up to National Geographic Traveler’s Destinations Stewardship surveys. The Top 100 initiative recognizes tourism destinations that make a difference and take sustainability seriously.  Contact us to come for a visit!


International Community School at the SHE EcoPark

btyOn September 14th – 16th, a group of 40 students and teachers from the International Community School visited the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark, taking part in a wide range of activities. The group learned about the advantages of dome architecture (visiting the large Dome structure on site), they were taught how to gauge biodiversity indexes (by identifying the different flora and fauna in the EcoPark), and participated in adventure activities (i.e. cycling, zip-lining and hiking) and learned about the benefits of local community service.  In the evening, they watched the movie “Solar Woman” that sparked lively discussions about climate change and solar energy.The school principal announced that he sees the SHE EcoPark as a “hub” for environmental education and recreation, and will continue to bring students there for a positive learning experience.


“Lens” Trainings

Three sets of trainings were held at the SHE EcoPark this month covering the topics ofbty food hazards, hospitality, and ecotourism and adventure tourism.  Together with EcoPark staff, these trainings included staff from 20 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) from the local communities who are working with the EcoPark as service providers, including women’s organizations and local tour guides.  Participants expressed their appreciation for the knowledge gained on each issue, enabling them to better develop their skills, each in their own field of work.

Rotary Schools Training on Water Harvesting and Hygiene Rotary

On September 22nd and 23rd, 2 full day trainings were held at the SHE EcoPark in partnership with Rotary International and Amman West Clubs.  Each day, a group of 50 students came to learn about good water practices, especially rainwater harvesting, as well as general health and personal hygiene issues.  EcoPeace continues to develop the EcoPark to be a learning center for many schools, organizations and clubs in the area – for environmental education and other important issues.

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