Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | April 3, 2018

April 1st 2018 – EcoPeace Middle East Environmental Peacebuilding Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Despite the troubled times that we face here in the region, we can make a difference. Please read and share widely our latest Op Ed on Gaza that appeared in The Hill

At EcoPeace our efforts this spring remain as determined as ever to keep our issues on the public agenda for the benefit of all of our peoples and shared environment.

For those in London on April 11 please do register for our event on the Water Energy Exchange held in association with the Financial Times.

Your support is essential for our work to succeed.

Scaling up our Global Water Security program at the World Bank Fragility Forum 

Gidon at WBUnder the theme ‘Managing Risks for Peace and Stability’, the 2018 World Bank Fragility Forum brought together policy makers and practitioners from humanitarian, development, peace and security organizations to share practical solutions and explore innovative ways to improve development approaches to foster peace and stability.

EcoPeace organized the panel ‘Advancing Peace & Stability: Managing Water Security’, where Israeli Co-Director Gidon Bromberg spoke alongside with Danilo Türk, Former President of Slovenia, Guang Zhe Chen, Senior Director of Water at the World Bank and Sherri Goodman, Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The discussion focused on how civil society, UN agencies and international institutions could better work together to advance water security and stability.

EcoPeace's Program on Water Security is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung

New Publication: Water & Energy Nexus Full Pre-Feasibility StudyWEN_FullStudy_Cover

EcoPeace’s Water-Energy Nexus Project aims at researching and advocating for a Water and Sustainable Energy Nexus approach to counter the effects of climate change and its potential negative security implications, while providing solutions to water scarcity in the region. The purpose of this pre-feasibility study is to present the project vision and an approach for how such a project might be developed as an exchange of water and energy between Jordan, Israel and Palestine. This initial analysis indicates that the project is indeed technically feasible and environmentally desirable, and could potentially provide wide-scale economic and political benefits to the three parties, creating the case for conducting a more in-depth feasibility study supported by the governments themselves and the international community.

Click here for the Full Pre-Feasibility Study and here for the Executive Summary.

New E3G publication features EcoPeace ‘WEN’ initiative

E3G, a renowned independent climate change think tank, has recently published a newSolar panels[for E3G item] briefing paper MENA Stability in a Changing Climate – A Transatlantic Agenda on Preventative Investment, on the connections between political stability and food, energy and water security in the MENA region. This informative and enlightening report mentions EcoPeace’s Water Energy Nexus initiative as an example of resilient interventions that could foster regional cooperation and the creation of healthy geopolitical interdependencies. 

The Water & Energy Nexus project is in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Palestinian Territories.

Israel Water Association Conference

IWA conference

The Israel Water Association’s annual conference was held this year on March 12th, with EcoPeace staff presenting our “Israeli Water Diplomacy and National Security Concerns” paper.  This conference brought together all important stakeholders from the Israeli water sector, representing private, public and academic institutions. A wide array of water issues was discussed throughout the day.  We were pleased with the good feedback we received for our presentation and the importance with which it was perceived by participants. 

Research for this discussion paper was supported by the German Embassy in Tel Aviv

Sderot Conference – ‘Town Hall’ meeting

As part of the annual Sderot Conference, the leading periphery conference in Israel,Sderot conf2 EcoPeace held a special panel which dealt with the repercussions of the water and sewage crisis in the Gaza Strip on Israel. Knesset members, mayors, health professionals, security experts called on decision makers to do more to resolve the water crisis in the Gaza Strip. This is in line with recent statements made by the heads of the Israeli security establishment who conclude that resolving the water and electricity shortage in Gaza is also a top priority for Israel’s security.

Speakers on the panel included MK Eyal Ben Reuven, Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, Chairman of the Public Health Doctors’ Organization in Israel and Head of the Public Health School at Ben-Gurion University, Ahmad Yaacobi, a water expert from Gaza and others.  Read more on our events webpage.

Gender Workshop in Amman

Gender workshop AmmanThe Swedish Embassy in Amman and SIDA (the Swedish International Development Agency) organized a workshop on “Mainstreaming Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in SIDA Partners´ Projects” in Amman from March 6th – 8th, 2018. The workshop included participants representing all SIDA’s partner organizations in Jordan and the MENA Region, with several EcoPeace staff in attendance.

The workshop focused on how to mainstream gender equality in the different partners’ activities.  Gender mainstreaming aims at strengthening democracy and gender equality, as well as greater respect for human rights, environmental improvement, reduced climate impact and increased resilience to environmental impacts, climate change and natural disasters.  Also discussed were opportunities for regional economic development as a prerequisite for enabling poor people to improve their living conditions.

Cross border youth camp at SHE, Jordan

Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian Youth Water Trustees from our Good Water NeighborsRegional Youth Camp project met for a 3-day environmental peacebuilding camp at our Sharhabil bin Hassneh (SHE) EcoPark in Jordan.

Activities focused on strengthening solidarity, improving their knowledge on the water reality of their neighbors, and engaging youth in how they can make a difference in their own communities on water issues.  We were pleased to receive feedback that some of them responded that they had a “life-changing experience“.

Cross border youth meeting at “Streaming the Jordan” event

World Water day - זורמים לירדןThis year, EcoPeace helped organize the “Streaming the Jordan” event in cooperation with the Kinneret Drainage Authority, the Jordan Valley Regional Council, the Nature and Parks Authority, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

To celebrate World Water Day, EcoPeace held a cross-border meeting between Israeli and Palestinian Youth Water Trustees who underwent two days of training on environmental cooperation as part of the event. The youth learned about the special history of the Jordan River basin, visited the Island of Peace in Naharayim, and the Sea of ​​Galilee. For many of the Palestinian youth this was the first time they visited the Sea of Galilee. The youth also  organized activities at the community fair such as collecting and cooking ‘hubeiza’ and preparing flower crowns, and signs depicting slogans such as “Water Connects Us“.

“Good Water Neighbors” Teachers Seminar, Israel

In the context of our Good Water Neighbors project, a   National Teachers’ Seminar was Teachers Seminar TAheld this month for geography, history and science teachers from all over Israel. The participants toured the Waste Water Treatment Plant near Shoket in the Hebron River Basin, and learned about the need for cross border cooperation in order to preserve our shared water resources.  This was the second such seminar held this year.

“Good Water Neighbors” Teachers Seminar, Palestine

Our Palestinian staff gathered teachers from all over the West Bank (Yatta, EastTeachers Seminar PA Bethlehem, Jericho, Auja and Jenin) in Ramallah for a one-day seminar. We introduced EcoPeace’s environmental education project and provided them with tools and skills to enhance their work both in and out of the classroom. The “hands-on” activities that were presented were well received, and teachers expressed their appreciation for this kind of educational interaction.  They are looking forward to the next seminar – and so are we.

EcoPeace at ALLMEP workshop

ALLMEPWorld Water Day was also marked at the ALLMEP conference, with other peace organizations, where EcoPeace had an opportunity to emphasize the importance of regional cooperation on water issues to promote peace in the region. The UN envoy to the Middle East, Nikolai Mladanov, came to the conference to highlight the importance of civil society organizations in promoting change in the region.

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

The Hebron Gaza Basin activities are co-supported by the Government of Canada and KAS Israel

 World Bank MENA Water Unit Visiting the River of Jordan Estuary

As part of the World Bank MENA Water Unit’s regional retreat and training that was held JR Estuaryin Jordan between February 26th – March 2nd, EcoPeace accompanied the World Bank team on a unique field trip to the Jordan River estuary – where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea – to present the uniqueness of these transboundary water resources and EcoPeace’s work in the region between Israel, Palestine and Jordan. The field trip updated the World Bank MENA team on the progress of EcoPeace’s Jordan River rehabilitation project and the advancement on the opportunities to implement the Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan River Valley

Town Hall Meeting at SHE EcoPark, Jordan

JR_Town_Hall_Jordan_cOn Wednesday March 14th, EcoPeace hosted a ‘Town Hall’ style meeting at the SHE EcoPark for local community stakeholders, including mayors and representatives of municipal local councils. The meeting aimed to inform them about the progress of the Jordanian National Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Jordan Valley and to invite local residents to share their questions, concerns and problems faced by their communities.

Presenting the Jordan River Faith Based Campaign to “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” Visitors

Baptism Site 2EcoPeace Amman’s Jordan River project team presented our “Faith based campaign” in partnership with the chaplain of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) Mr. Jonas Bodin, to a group of Swedish believers who came to the Bethany Beyond the Jordan baptism site.  Biblical visits to the River Jordan offer faith-based groups true value in learning about EcoPeace’s Jordan River rehabilitation efforts that aim to bring the river back as the pulmonary artery in the Jordan valley.

Jordan River Presentation – California USA Interfaith group

JR Interfaith presentationAn interfaith group of Christians and Jews from Southern California visited the Holy Land this month, requesting a presentation from EcoPeace about what has happened to the River Jordan.  EcoPeace staff gave a talk about the challenges facing the River, what has caused its demise, why it’s important to turn things around, and what EcoPeace is doing about it.  Great interest was shown, with many of the participants asking to show the presentation at home in their communities, and expressing their willingness to host EcoPeace staff when we are next in their area.

Jordan River Tour – Schmidt’s Girls School, Jerusalem

JR Tour Girls CollegeNo one is too young or too old to care about the River Jordan!  A class of 8th grade students from the Schmidt’s Girls School in Jerusalem used their class trip day to come down to the Jordan River and Dead Sea to learn about the outcomes of uncoordinated water management – the status quo in the region for decades. The day ended with the girls dividing into groups and drawing what they learned on poster boards.  They plan to show and explain these drawings to their peers. They were most impacted at seeing the shores of the Dead Sea more than a kilometer away at the old Lido restaurant site, indeed a sad site.

The Jordan River Rehabilitation project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency.

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